May you please briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Janet Machuka and l am the founder at ATC Digital Academy born out of a Twitter community chat, #AfricaTweetChat. I help brands with social media marketing, content creation, development of strategies, influencer marketing and digital marketing training.
How has been the influencer market in Africa and what are the future trends?
Influencer marketing in Africa is growing day by day. I remember when l was starting in 2017, it wasn’t the same as it is at the moment. I’ve also been privileged to be part of the influencers across Africa and l have seen more and more people monetize their time and content on social media which directly contributes to the influencer marketing growth.
There are quite a number of trends that have encouraged the increase in the influencer marketing such as more training on digital marketing and usage, development of more social media spaces and the fact that more and more brands are opening up for influencer collaborations.
Some trends such as video marketing and content personalization are still at the top of influencer marketing. Just to add to some of the future trends that will affect influencer marketing are:
- Niche marketing
More and more brands will choose to work with influencers who fully understand their industry other than going for numbers and personalities. This means that influencers need to focus more on building brands that stand out in particular industries such as fintech, agritech as they grow a community that consumes their content on the same.
- Balanced sentiments and feedback
Forget about influencers being contracted to share positive experiences with products, services and brands. As the influencer marketing industry grows, influencers will become more open to how they feel about a brand. They will be open to criticize the products and services. This will make the conversation more genuine than “sharing positive experiences about products” when they have the worst ones. Such criticism will also give the brands an opportunity to give their customers quality products and services.
- Diversity and Inclusion
Take the case of instagram, for a long time now influencer marketing has been known to be for those with the looks. Gen Z is woke and they sleep and talk of diversity and inclusion. We’ve seen influencers from all walks of life rise and be accepted in the various social media channels.
- Long-term Collaboration
For brands who will need to build a community of influencers to grow with them, they’ll go with long-term collaboration with the influencers. This will benefit most influencers who would have niched down their personal brands to specific markets or industries. This collaboration will mean that influencers will be on monthly payroll, they’ll take time to understand the brand and its products and services.
- From Gig to a full time job
Until now, most influencers have their main jobs where they can earn. Influencer marketing has been a side job for most influencers. With the niching and long-term collaboration with brands, influencer marketing will be termed as a main job.
- Simplicity, Authenticity and Normal is the new fun
Gone are the days influencers could take days to think through on how to create captivating content – shoot with professional cameras, over-edit, apply makeup among others.. With the rise of TikTok, Live Audio spaces and Live Spaces means people are consuming more real time, unedited content on social media. The most trendy TikTok videos are the things we do all the time. Influencers will also be more open to any mental health issue they face to their social media audiences. What changed? The fact is that people’s lives are on social media, they live, eat, entertain themselves, share about themselves on the apps. This means that influencers who are simple, authentic and real will be the most preferred.
For more influencer marketing trends check out on Influencer Marketing Hub.
You’ve been named as one of the top 25 digital marketing women in Kenya. How has it been your journey?
One thing l have learnt through the journey as a digital marketer is that it is easy to grow as a team than an individual. It has always been the community l have surrounded myself with that got me here. I show up for people. They show up in return.
SInce l was named top 25 digital marketing women in Kenya, l’ve also appeared in lists such as:
- Top 200 most influential African women on Twitter in 2020
- Top 20 Content Marketing Influencers on Twitter in 2021 by Semrush
- Top 100 influencers in content marketing in 2022 by Semrush
- 101 Global Twitter Influencers by Engati
A career in digital and social media is something many have been trying but still failing. What tips can you share with them about success?
There are so many skills one can learn for digital and social media careers. To succeed in this you need to:
- Give yourself a chance to learn the different careers in the digital and social media
- Then choose the one you feel inclined with
- Grow your personal brand out of it and this means that;
- You have to engage your community with content that identifies you in the particular niche you’ve chosen
- Look for opportunities that will put your name, brand and skill out there. They don’t need to be monetary driven. The free ones are the best because they help you to be seen, engaged and remembered.
- Build meaningful networks. It’s not just about the following. Extend the conversations to direct messages, calls and emails that can lead to possible collaborations and partnerships.
What are the 5 digital marketing mistakes that most businesses are making and how can they avoid them?
- Unnecessary focus on poster-like content instead of creating content that doesn’t have to be in graphics format.
- Not stepping away from their timeline and involving themselves in their audiences’ conversations.
- Forgetting that collaboration with competitors doesn’t need to be on signature and paper. Collaborate in hosting Twitter Conversations, Tweet Chats, Webinars and reach the intended audience.
- The best way brands can avoid boring timelines is to reshare their influencers’ content.
The AfricaTweetChat and Academy. What is it all about?
AfricaTweetChat is a community on Twitter meant to bring together digital marketing enthusiasts, business fanatics and experts to one community that will allow them to engage, learn from each other, create networks and belong.
The ATC Academy was born out of the tweet chat community. We realized that more and more people wanted to learn digital marketing and we couldn’t do it at an individual level, hence, we created an e-learning platform to accommodate them.
Tell us more about your being a social media speaker. What’s the secret in keeping the audience engaged?
That’s a great question! Any time l see the word engagement and social media one things comes into my mind, CONVERSATION. Engagement on social media is like having a conversation; where someone speaks or says something and you respond and so on. Here are some of the tips l can share with the to be social media speakers.
- Approach the conversation like you’re having a conversation with a friend.
- Allow the audience to add something into the conversation.
- Support their responses or opinions.
- Don’t forget to use the engagement tips such as questions. You can also choose to segment the team of people present. This is if the speaking engagement is offline. Make the attendees work in groups so that they can know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This also helps with bonding.
- Finally, don’t ignore the fact that there are smart people around you. Sometimes you just have to listen rather than speak so that you can learn from others. This helps you collect more information from others that can help you in your next speaking engagement. They say, those who listen more become more knowledgeable.
What pitfalls have been facing in your business and how have you managed to overcome / cope with them?
There’s no business that doesn’t have its ups and downs. Financial management was an issue at first but now things are different. We decided to seek professional advice and this is the best decision we’ve ever made.
Additionally, l used to do a lot by myself until we decided to employ people. It was scary at first but delegation of work has certainly reduced my workload, long working hours and pressure.
I can now plan for my weekends, do my cooking and also step out for coffee dates with my friends during weekdays.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Firstly, l want to launch my e-learning academy. Then l can spread wings to the ICT sector in Kenya, Africa or globally. I believe l have a lot to uncover. I’m thrilled to see what the years have for me.
Any advice to other youths and women out there who would like to follow your footsteps
To be frank, digital marketing isn’t an easy space to be in. But if you take it as your favorite hobby, you’ll love every minute you’re growing yourself in the industry. Some days you’ll feel you’ve reached the peak but remember this, there are so many people doing a similar thing. Find them in communities and tap into their minds; this will help you realize you need to keep showing up.