Samoa Encouraged To Make Better Use Of Social Media, Communications Technology

SPREP workshop highlights importance of social media for marketing to tourists

By Derek Davies*

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, March 1, 2017) – Social media is no longer just a way to talk to your mates, but can assist in marketing efforts to attract more tourists.

Said Dave Bathur who is the trainer of a three day workshop on digital and social media held at SPREP last week.

The training highlighted the growing importance of social media and communications technology in Samoa’s near future.

“Digital media is such an important part of marketing, and marketing is such an important part of tourism,” Bathur said.

“By improving skills in digital and social media, it can provide a cheap and easy way to increase the capability of the tourism industry, and hopefully, create a rising tide to raise all boats,” he added.

In addition to the tourism industry, Bathur believes that digital and social media could be a useful tool to expand the capability of journalists, help emergency services share information during natural disasters, and more importantly, help people communicate with loved ones both locally and overseas.

With the Samoan Submarine Cable Company (S.S.C.C.) expected to launch its own submarine cable before the end of this year, Bathur stressed the importance of having a digital and social media strategy to prepare for the expected increased internet speeds.

Its improvements like these, that Bathur says more training such as this workshop is needed.

“One thing we’ve found, not just in the Pacific but everywhere, is that after sudden increases in internet speeds there is a delay in internet activity,” Bathur said.

“But what you always find is that organizations that are quick off the mark, they win…they take notice first, they get copied, and they ride a wave of success,” he added.

The training focused on the growing role of social media in advertising, marketing, journalism and even politics.

The digital media workshop was a partnership between PACMAS the National University of Samoa Media and Journalism Studies and the Journalists Association of Samoa.

Social media is an easy, low-cost way to communicate in Samoa, but Bathur believes that businesses and organizations still have a chance to prepare for when the Samoan submarine cable gets connected.

*Derek Davies is one of three media students from James Cook University studying at the N.U.S Media School.

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