My name is Anne Mazimhaka and I am the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Illume Creative Studio. We are a communications company that specializes in strategy development, content creation, and content marketing and I am in charge of all social media marketing for the company and for our clients.
How and why did you get started in social media?
Before starting this agency, I got started in social media about eight years ago through blogging. I used to blog about music, culture, and the arts for my own small blog, and then started writing for other online platforms and networks. Some of the earliest connections I made through social media wound up becoming my first clients and collaborators.
What do you believe the benefits of using social media for business?
Social media is where a business’ existing and potential clients and customers are—it where they spend time, share preferences, and influence others. It is where conversation and dialogue is taking place. It is important for businesses—from small start-ups to large corporations—to be where their target market is and to listen to and interact with said market. It provides an opportunity to connect with one’s customers, to build a community around one’s brand, to foster brand loyalty, and to provide direct access to your products and services. It provides the space for businesses to tell their stories through the creation and dissemination of varied multimedia content thereby allowing them to reach customers not simply through one-way advertising, but through two-way engagement.
What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?
A significant mistake that I’ve noticed is that as business owners see other brands growing on social media, they tend to focus on the numbers and not on engagement. They therefore will put money into growing their following without putting the same effort into creating quality content that will engage their followers. The importance of this became evident most recently when Facebook deleted inactive accounts and many brands saw a significant decrease in the number of page likes they had. I spoke with each of our clients when this happened to emphasize the importance of content and engagement.
What qualities do you think social media managers should have?
The ability to listen to and hear your client is crucial. Social media marketing is always growing and changing at a fast rate and we have to ensure that in developing strategies for each client, we strike a balance between anticipating and staying ahead of trends and listening to what our clients really want and need. It is also crucial for social media managers to know their market, especially if you work globally. You have to be aware that some clients are innovators and early adapters, while others will have to be walked through the process. And you have to adjust your approach and strategies accordingly.
How do Business owners know if their social media campaign is working?
It is key for businesses to set both short-term and long-term objectives when developing their social media strategy. The more specific these objectives are, the easier it is to measure results from social media markets. While the easiest thing to measure is pure numbers (e.g number of page likes on your Facebook page), it requires a little more effort to track engagement (comments, shares, retweets, mentions, etc) and to measure that engagement against a campaign’s objectives. In order to get the most feedback out of one’s social media campaign, therefore, businesses should work with social media managers to set clear, measurable objectives.
How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?
I think social media marketing and digital marketing in general will—in five years—no longer be considered supplementary to traditional marketing and advertising. Social media will be the primary means through which brands communicate with and engage their target audience. I hope that as social media grows, emphasis and value is placed on the creation of quality content and on strategic content marketing.
What are your favourite platforms for social media marketing?
Facebook is key, particularly when working in Africa. It is still the most used social media marketing platform in the region. I am also intrigued by Pinterest and Instagram as branding and marketing tools.
If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?
Listen. Listen to the results of your social media marketing campaign. Set clear goals, measure, evaluate, and analyze results, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Also, it is crucial to take advantage of social media to listen to the conversations going on around you. It helps one gain insight into trends in one’s industry and into how and what one’s customer/client base is thinking.