Malitel Mali active on social media
In May 2012, Mali’s Malitel, the popular mobile, fixed-line, and Internet provider (a subsidiary of Sotelma, Mali’s national telecommunications company) created a Twitter account to announce news and interact with customers. The account has been silent for the past 3 weeks, but we hope to see it resume action any day once the political situation/electricity availability improves.
A Facebook account was created in December 2011 (there are now 140 fans). To top it all off, Malitel re-branded its dormant YouTube channel and has already uploaded more than a dozen videos. The emphasis on social media comes at a time where Mali faces political instability, yet unprecedented mobile growth – especially in Bamako. Plenty of telecoms operators in other African countries have launched successful social campaigns. And why not, considering the low cost to maintain a social presence that strengthens branding and helps to retain new customers?
More on the YouTube situation:
In 2010, Malitel posted 64 videos to the SotelmaMalitel YouTube channel. Most were television spots advertising promotions for mobile services. We find the existence of a YouTube somewhat surprising since Mali currently has extremely limited bandwidth to stream video at the present time, let alone two years ago. Accordingly, each of the 64 videos has averaged a meager 23 views – basically one view per month.
Just last month, after an 18-month drought, Malitel once again uploaded a slew of videos – this time under a new channel name (Malitel Mali instead of SotelmaMalitel). In only 3 weeks, Malitel’s new videos are experiencing a watch-rate of 11 per month. Although these numbers are small, they represent a dramatic increase from 2010.
The advertisement that stands out most is one for ADSL service. Malitel is (or at least was) advertising a 2-for-1 bandwidth deal. Options are 256 kb/s for the price of 128 kb/s, 512 kb/s for the price of 256 kb/s, or 1 Mb/s for the price of 512 kb/s. The company also touts reliability and security – key aspects that customers value in addition to speed.
However, the costs remain prohibitive: 128 kb/s starting at 19.000 F CFA ($36 USD). Installation (“Frais d’installation pour tout nouvel abonne”) costs 25.960 F CFA ($49 USD).
For reference, Orange Mali has yet to create an official Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube account.