The 21st century has been tagged “the computer age.” The century is characterized by several technological advancements which have helped propel several businesses, artistes and institutions to a higher pedestal.
These technological advancements have birthed the age of social media. This age has really got to do with marketing and communication, using the various platforms it provides to tell compelling stories about one’s product and services.
This age has eased the hassle individual’s hitherto had to endure before they had access to individuals, products and other services.
For example, the President John Dramani Mahama through Facebook can now be met by the ordinary citizen to discuss pressing issues, an opportunity which was rare in the days of old.
Such can also be said about “Mallams” and other spiritualists.
Hitherto this period, individuals who went for spiritual help from these spiritualists could only have access to them when they visit their villages or places of operation which are mostly obscure places and are very scary.
However, the trend seem to have changed in the current century. Like musicians, companies and organization’s, these spiritualists also advertise their services through the use of several social media platforms, mostly on facebook.
These spiritualists have pages which are advertised for followers. Those who cannot afford to pay for a page advertisement, create accounts and send friend request to people and when they are accepted, they try their best in luring them to see them for spiritual assistance, especially for money(a true instance of marketing).
One time at work, it was fascinating the kind of conversation I had with a colleague on the influx of spiritualists on various social media platforms.
Although I have heard stories of Mallams asking people whether they needed financial help, I have never encountered any of such people because I have never agreed any of the friend requests sent me.
Chris, as he is affectionately called, mentioned in our conversation that, he accepted to be virtual friends with a Mallam who had sent him a request via Facebook. Upon his acceptance, the spiritualist, after exchanging pleasantries asked whether he needed help in any sphere of life. Chris’ inquisitive nature made him ask the services he provides which he listed. After several minutes of chatting with the spiritualist, he told him he was going to have a thought on it.
To his amazement, the spiritualist kept reminding him of his existence, (a true instance of an insurance company marketing it’s product to a customer) until he finally resolved to block him.
Like Chris, other individuals have similar stories and online encounters with these spiritualists who have capitalized on the social media age to market their services to the world. Chris, however, could not fathom how a spiritualist could be persistent like a true marketer is and was of the view that Ghana had gotten “there”.
These individuals (spiritualists) have travelled from the old fashioned ways of doing things, moved away from the traditional media and are expanding their clientele base through developing a social media strategy.
They have adopted modern tends of selling themselves to the world like musicians and companies have adopted in making public their activities and services they render.
However, does this influx of spiritualists on various social media outlets indicate that Ghana as a country and especially the marketing and communication industry got “there” considering how spiritualists are using these platforms to sell themselves to the world?