Utilising social media to market oneself or one’s business

08-06-22 USAf 0 comment

It was the last session in a series of Student Women Economic Empowerment Programme (SWEEP) webinars that the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Programme has hosted since January 2022, to empower aspiring women studentpreneurs at public universities. 

The discussion on social media marketing, led by three panellists on 25 May, left SWEEP members wanting more and requesting an additional session.  The speakers were two communication consultants contracted to Universities South Africa (USAf), namely, Ms Khutso Moleko and Ms Nqobile Tembe, and a postgraduate student in Film and Television at the University of Cape Town, Ms Cwenga Koyana. 

SWEEP is an initiative of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Programme that seeks to equip student women for entrepreneurial activity by offering them transferable and practical skills and opportunities, backed by a foundation of academic stewardship. 

Creating personal or business social media presence

Ms Khutso Moleko (left),  USAf’s Digital Communication Consultant with over 10 years’ experience in marketing communication, started by advising the young women to assess their current social media platforms, to ascertain that the content thereon is current and accurate, and to remove elements of information that no longer reflect who they are. 

As general advice, she encouraged the young women to grow their online circles through personal contacts, saying they would be surprised, over time, at the people from various walks of life, with whom they would have interacted. She also stressed the importance of maintaining values saying they reflect one’s identity. She then underlined the importance of keeping one’s information updated on social media pages, mentioning that when people research on others (who they are, their services and product offerings), the typical starting point is social media.  

Regarding using social media to drive a business and professional agenda, Ms Moleko said users must first identify their mission and find one’s niche. “What are you doing on social media right now, and what is your purpose for being there? Do you want to educate people? Do you want to change perceptions? Do you want to change behaviour? You want to achieve something – find work, sell products, or market yourself. Do you want to promote content or promote yourself as a job seeker? There must be a mission behind your taking up space on the internet.”

She said that clarity of purpose and knowing one’s target audience should lead one to identifying the most appropriate social media approach.  “The target market should help determine the tone used in messaging. The approach to attract an adult audience would differ from that looking to interact with a younger audience.” 

Keep your goal in mind

Ms Moleko reminded the student women looking to grow their digital and social media, to always keep their end goal in mind.  On that note, she shared insights over thought processes to follow when posting activities online. 

“Do not just post for the sake of posting — post valuable content, be creative, be consistent and be current. Those are points that I try to remember when producing for a client or when producing for my own social media.”

For businesses, Ms Moleko encouraged the student women to utilise boosting tactics on social media to promote their enterprises. She said most social media platforms offer these services, and they are a lot cheaper than advertising on traditional media platforms such as television, radio, print and billboards. Moreover, she said these tools are one of available mechanisms to use in obtaining insights into who their customers are and where they are based.  

Keep up/reskilling to stay on top of the game

Acknowledging that for businesses, social media marketing requires specific skills, Ms Moleko pointed her audience to three resources — Facebook, HubSpot and LinkedIn – to learn content boosting techniques, audience hyper-targeting, etc. She said these are short courses that can take one day to complete.  Beyond posting, she highlighted that these platforms could help people build relationships and make business connections. 

“For some people, communicating online is simpler than communicating personally. Virtually chatting allows you to learn more about your consumers, suppliers, and industry players. This strengthens the trust between you and your audience; it also bridges the business distance.” 

As she concluded, Ms Moleko urged her audience to become conversation starters, especially in their field of expertise.  “Make your mark in the industry. Know your product and service, keep up to date by researching current industry news and events, then share that information with your followers,” she concluded. 

Nqobile Tembe is a Communication Consultant contracted to Universities South Africa.