4 steps to building your brand online

This is 2016, you have all the information on your fingertips. You can use this to effectively brand yourself and ensure that you stand out from the crowd. There can only be one you. Here’s what you can do to build your own brand from scratch.

Step 1 – Google yourself

You meet a stranger, get information about a competitor, receive a random email from a potential business partner…what is the first thing you do? You Google them! Now think about it. If you are testing your private investigating skills on Google, chances are someone else is doing the same thing for you. They are out there Googling your name. This begs the question; what will they find? Does Google even know you exist?

Once you have decided to type your name in Google’s search bar and hit enter, what you find out about yourself will determine how you begin to either start building or reshaping your brand.

Step 2 – Overhaul your Online Presence

  • When was the last time you checked your privacy settings? Make sure that what you allow the public to see is really what you want them to see.
  • What about your inactive social media pages? Sometimes, we follow trends and open social media accounts which we end up not using at all. If you are not active and it does not serve your personal or professional goals, delete these accounts quickly.
  • You know those pictures that your friends took at that party in 2009? The ones that you don’t want anyone to see? Where are they? Are they visible only to you and your besties or to the rest of us on Google? Remove any inappropriate photos or information that you don’t want attached to your professional image.
  • Have you been featured on any third party websites? Do those websites still represent your brand? Make sure that they reflect what your brand stands for. If not, consider asking them to get rid of those features or put up an update.

Step 3 – Your value proposition

Much like any service or product, you have to find out what you have to offer that is of unique value. This is your value proposition, to discover it ask yourself the following questions;

  • What makes you unique? What are your skills?
  • What pushes you to wake up in the morning?
  • What makes you better than the next person?
  • Who are you? What are your values? Are those values reflected in what the world sees?

The moment you find out who you are and what you want to achieve, you’ll know exactly how you want others to see you. This links back to the impression you want to leave on those who are checking you out on online.

Step 4 – Let Us Work

So, you have figured out what Google says about you, you have overhauled your online presence and you know what you have to offer. Now let’s get to work.

  • Which social media platforms do you have? Which ones are you going to use for personal and professional interests? Are you keeping up to date with what is happening in your industry and sharing it on your professional social media platforms?
  • Be consistent in your postings and in what you put out into the world. It’s easy to be consistent when your online presence is a reflection of who and what you are.
  • Live out your brand. Whether you are networking or in the way that you do business, embody your brand. Live it out in how you work and in how you present yourself. Your online presence should merely be an extension of your true self.

So? What are you waiting for? What have you got to lose? Try these steps and let us know when you’ve become a brand .

Defining your fabulous: how to develop personal and business authority in the age of mediocrity

For a small business, it’s almost impossible to separate the CEO’s personal brand from the business brand. These become indistinguishable given that the founder is the face of the business, and most likely the primary client-facing representative too. This can have both positive and negative connotations.

Personal image and branding isn’t only represented by the outward appearance of the CEO. It is also in the values and the professionalism exhibited (or not) by the CEO in running the business. Current and prospective clients will judge the credibility of your brand based on the quality of their interaction with the founder and staff. They will also be concerned with the quality and responsiveness of your product, as well as the quality and consistency of your service.

For the business owner and CEO, this brings home the need to reflect on, define and articulate your personal and business values right from the outset. Understand and define what you are trying to achieve with your business and what values are aligned with those personal and business aspirations. Then, commit to living those values through how you operate your business. This delivers you your business brand. How you choose and interact with clients, how you recruit and engage with staff. How you present yourself to the world, as well as your presentation, oratory and networking skills, and personal style.

Let’s look at some “how to’s”;

How to define your personal and/or business values

Your business is an extension of you, your personality, your values. You need to complete the exercise of identifying or defining your values. What are you trying to achieve with your business? What values are aligned with these aspirations? Most clients in one way or the other will want a product or service from a particular service provider because they feel an affinity with that brand.

Whether you know it or not, clients have already judged you before they come to your business premises based on the values you are exuding. Whether they stay with you or not is dependent on how well you consistently demonstrate those values in operating your business.

How to ensure that your business values are evident in how you present yourself to the world

How you present yourself to the world includes your outward appearance, but also your technical skills and abilities, your oratory and your presentation skills. How you present yourself involves aligning all of this with your vocation, without limiting your unique personality. The CEO is the heart and soul of the small business –when we think of buying your good or service, we usually think of you. Therefore, your physical outward appearance must demonstrate your brand essence.

In this regard here are a few prerequisites:

Upgrade your presentation and oratory skills

This gives immense confidence and credibility. A lot of the time CEOs are pitching their business, whether on the golf course or at a conference. You need to be able to do this authentically and authoritatively so that in 2 or 3 minutes people ‘get’ your business and are persuaded to believe that you have a good or service that will be of interest to them.

Be an authority

Your staff and your clients are looking to you for leadership, give them leadership. Staff and clients want and need to be schooled in how to do things. That’s why clients come when they have that tricky business challenge, and it’s why graduates will chase your company for a job once they leave university. Both clients and staff believe you are an authority in your industry. Consistently demonstrate to them that you have that authority. Nothing demonstrates this more than knowledge, insight and creativity. You need to constantly be a thought leader in your industry so that your business is future forward and ready.

Business services

Business values also need to be evident in the operations of your business. How you recruit and select staff, how you choose and maintain clients, how you present your business, how you and your staff dress and the code of conduct of your business. You need to be concerned about the credibility and aesthetics of your business.

Branding

Finally, business values need to be evident in the branding of your business. What is your business’s corporate identity? What are your corporate colours, and why? Are staff aware of the brand identity, do they use it? More importantly, do they use it as they should? Is this identity easily translated by clients?

Decide today to define your fabulous. Develop your personal and business values to a level strong enough to enable you positively dictate the experience of current and prospective clients with your business, the growth of your business, and the leadership experience with your staff.

Good luck!

How to make the most of your introversion

reading artwork introversion

In a conversation with a group of people, I pointed out that I perceived a colleague to be an introvert. The look of indignation on her face said it all, she took my words as an accusation. Girl, if she had pearls on she would have clutched them! My colleague later explained that while she was comfortable being an introvert, she preferred that it wasn’t brought up in a work context. This was simply because of the assumptions that people make about introversion and how it affects leadership. As an introvert myself, this conservation got me thinking.

One of the most crucial elements of being a #MotherlandMogul is knowing and being able to sell your best qualities. When we think of a list of ‘good qualities’ for leadership, introversion isn’t among that list. Let’s be real saying, “I love working in groups, and am outgoing”, doesn’t have the same ring to it as, “I’m an introvert who really excels at solo processing”. So, although I wouldn’t have the same reaction my colleague had, I wouldn’t shout, “I’m a introvert!” either.

When I started this article, the title was originally going to be, “How To Make Your Introversion Work For You”. This sounds sort of like how to make a recession, or any other unpleasant thing work for you. Do you see the problem? Introversion isn’t usually pitched as a strength, rather it’s a condition you need to manage or work through.

Whether you identify as an introvert, ambivert, or extravert (here is a short test to get a sense of where you lie), the key is to own it. I’ve identified 3 areas that introverts commonly complain about and have a few suggestions on how to shift perspective and leverage your strengths in each one.

Speaking up

Many introverts view their preference to listen rather than speak negatively. In fact, this is something that can distinguish them as good leaders. I used to be so caught up with trying to make regular contributions in meetings that I actually fought against what my brain naturally wanted to do; sit back and process. Laurie Helgoe states in her perspective shifting book, that introverts have an “internal power—the power to birth fully formed ideas, insights, and solutions”. Being able to sit back and notice things others may miss, gives you an advantage that is useful to any team.

So, now you know it’s a good quality how do you convince everyone else? Please don’t just say, “I’m a  listener” and bring shame upon the whole SheLeads family. When pitching this quality make sure you frame it as having a personality that allows you to be contemplative andsolution driven. Lisa Petrilli puts it like this:

“[Introverts] thrive in the world of complex ideas. We are exceptional strategic thinkers and listeners and bring great insight to our work. All of these characteristics make us inspirational leaders — and inspiration is at the core of charisma.”

Networking

When it comes to networking, don’t be too quick to dismiss your ability to get it done effectively. The differences between how extroverts and introverts connect is summarised by  the creators of the  popular 16 Personalities test. “Where the extrovert’s strength is to know a little bit about a vast number of people, the introvert’s ability to quietly absorb a great deal of information about the people who they spend time with can prove even more valuable.”

I have always been a firm believer in building a high quality over a large quantity network. This works well for introverts who would prefer not to engage in small talk with large groups. Plan and be strategic with the networking you want to do. Use your introversion super-powers to build strong and deep links that you can use later on.

Branding

Okay my introverted family, this is one area that we are going to have to make more of an effort. Don’t panic, it’s as much as you think! Personal branding is valuable, no one can argue against that. To put it plainly, it is just a way of letting as many people in on your hustle as possible.

Seeing as introverts tend to enjoy solitude anyway, social media and networking sites are a perfect way to use up all that precious alone time. There’s no telling who you could meet, some of my best connections have been made over Twitter. I love what Forbes writer William Aruba said about personal branding, “Personal branding is not about being famous, it’s about being selectively famous.” Keeping this in mind, don’t feel pressured to join every single site imaginable, you can afford to be picky.

Are there any qualities you feel introverts need to leverage more?

Quick ways to create awareness for your brand

brand awareness

Owning a brand that is easily recognisable isn’t easy, at all. We can testify to that. That doesn’t mean making a strong brand is impossible though, with a few steps in the right direction, you could be on your way to brand heaven.

Make good use of social media

Hey, most social media tools are free you know. You might as well use them to your full advantage. Social media levels the playing field and also gives you a great opportunity to promote your business while increasing brand awareness. With the right approach you could be reaching millions of people across the world and turning some of them into clients. In Nigeria alone, 16 million people visit Facebook each month, you shouldn’t need more convincing when it comes to social media.

Motherland Mogul tip: Start with a Facebook page for your business then a Twitter profile. Build them up by following conversations around industry-related topics and engaging with others. Offer prospective customers useful information that addresses their problems even if you don’t mention your brand. Remember that whatever social media channel you’re using, your message should be consistent and same tone.

Press releases

Sending press releases to newspapers and magazines are another way to raise brand awareness. Write compelling press releases that are up to journalistic and public relations standards. Your press releases can announce information relating to your business and/or products, or even just general events. Can’t think of any newspapers to send your releases to? Simple, upload them to your blog or website. If you can find other websites to carry your releases. Remember that interesting stories will generate publicity.

Motherland Mogul tip: Consider other forms of advertising that may be unique to your country. For example, despite the huge numbers, most African still aren’t online. They are mobile though. Consider making use of SMS services to get your brand out there.

Make use of established customers

Coming up with campaigns targeted at gaining new leads is great, but while you’re looking for new customers you shouldn’t forget the ones that you have already. Brand awareness campaigns are a great way to keep your brand in customers’ minds and nurturing the relationships you have built already. If your customers constantly remember you, your business will remain relevant to them.

Motherland Mogul tip: Need a campaign idea? Why not show your audience your business’s human side? Let your customers know your story. Show them who the person behind their beloved brand is. You can do this through your website or your blog through an “about us” page or personal updates that are relevant to your business.

Stand out

There are probably a thousand people offering the same kind of product or services you do. This is why you’ll need to stand out, what makes your brand different from others? Don’t ever be afraid to push the limits when defining your identity and looking for what makes you stand out. Consider alternative ways to uncovering the unique nature of your brand.

Motherland Mogul tip: You can use customer testimonials to stand out from your competition. Here’s how. Ask yourself, what are your customer’s saying about your brand? Talk to them and use this to uncover your brand’s uniqueness. Videos are a great way to capture this, imagine your customers sharing what they enjoy about your products/services. You can also use this to build up your brand’s YouTube channel, go you!

Make use of influencers

Offering your most influential clients sweet deals is another way to create brand awareness. You can get customers to recommend friends and family, all through incentives. This is especially useful when these customers are very influential people. If you don’t have influencers in your networks, reach out to some. Influential people can be bloggers or other business owners in your industry.

Motherland Mogul tip: You may have to consider offering freebies to your identified influencers. Yeah you’re dashing them things, but consider that well-connected people will very likely talk about your services to their followers. It’s a win-win.

Partnerships

When you’ve gone through the list of things you can do by yourself and are still lacking, it’s time to partner up. You can consider partnering with other brands to get your name in front of a new audience. With a partnership you’re tapping into your partner’s image and reputation, so you’ll have to be careful who you approach.

Motherland Mogul tip: Another way to partner using social media is through guest blogging. This can create awareness for your brand when it is done with people who are popular in your industry. With brand awareness there is no shame in being everywhere in your niche. Just try not to get burned out.

4 things you can learn about branding from Yemi Alade

yemi alade branding

Yemi Alade does not need any introduction. Raise your hand if you start singing the words to “Johnny” anytime you meet someone called John. For some of us, it is difficult to remember how Yemi Alade was before the Johnny era.

The mere mention of her name conjures up a certain image. That is her brand. Since rebranding herself, Yemi Alade has reached new heights of stardom with fans across Africa and beyond. She has a lot to teach us about branding.

1. Find a style that is yours…

A successful brand is a brand that is unique. When you’re building your brand, first things first is  discovering what you are doing that others in your industry aren’t. What makes you special and different from everyone else? You may need to add some colour and give your brand a personality that everyone will remember.

Yemi Alade’s edgy sense of fashion just stands out. She has emerged with unique and quirky styles that immediately jump at you. Yemi Alade has described herself as a fashion chameleon, her style is at once easy, simple and edgy. When it comes to fashion, no one else in the Nigerian entertainment industry is doing what Yemi Alade and so effortlessly too.

2…then stick to it

Let’s talk about hair. When you think of Yemi Alade what hairstyle is she rocking? The “pineapple” hair-do has become Yemi Alade’s signature. She has worn it in different colours and added little variations to it along the way. Others might consider sticking to one hairstyle boring yet, a branding essential is consistency.

You have to be consistent in what you do and/or offer. Consistency reinforces the value of your brand. Yemi Alade has been consistent with her pineapple hairstyle and it links back to her style as being part of her overall brand.

3. Show off your best work

When building a successful brand ladies, you’ll have to pay attention to positioning. Once you have put a message out there you must avoid changing it easily. Otherwise you risk confusing your customers. Pay a visit to Yemi Alade’s Twitter page and right there you will see #Johnny. This is a very important branding strategy.

“Johnny” is Yemi Alade’s most successful hit yet and by putting it on her page, she is ensuring that anyone who is a fan of the song will associate it with her. In this way, “Johnny” is now part of her brand, more so than other songs she has released. Using your best work is a great strategy for branding.

4. Don’t be afraid to venture into unknown territory

In finding out what makes your brand unique, you may need to push yourself. Think outside the box, be innovative and bold, be daring and most importantly make sure you are standing for something you believe in.

For me, one more things comes to mind when I think of Yemi Alade; multilingual. She sang a French remix of “Johnny” and brought on a popular French zouk artist for a remix of “Kissing”. Going further she released a Swahili version of “Na Gode”.

Yemi Alade has taken her brand to entirely new levels by speaking to audiences in their own languages. Her brand communicates with fans across borders, something that the only most successful brands accomplish.

What else do you think aspiring #MotherlandMoguls can learn from Yemi Alade? Kindly let us know in the comments section below.

 

Kalinè: You don’t need the ideal situation before you do something with your talent

Kaline Official - 1

Singer, pianist, composer and producer – Kalinè is an artist of many talents. The Berklee College of Music graduate inspires her fans through her genuine and unique lyrical style while navigating the Nigerian musical industry as an independent artist. After getting her start in the industry ten years ago, she has remained a self-managed artist who believes that the beauty of not being on a label or represented has given her the power to make decisions about her musical career—what she wants to do and how she wants to do it—all of which have molded her as the artist that she is today.

She Leads Africa spoke with Kalinè about her journey as an artist and entrepreneur and why honesty is her favorite form of inspiration.


You published a piece on your blog Self-Managed- 9 Reasons why you should be your biggest cheerleader. Why did you decide to self-manage as opposed to hiring someone to do it for you?

The ideal situation would be to have a support system in a formal way, or to have a team. However, I got to a point where I was looking for people, as opposed to being found. It is a lot better to be found by a manager as opposed to looking for one or paying for one. This is because they are coming on board knowing exactly what you want to do and they have a passion for what you are doing.

I’ve learned to be discerning about who I want on my team as well. I have come into my own, and embraced the challenge that a self managed artist has and I try to use that to encourage others by saying, you don’t have to have the ideal situation before you do something with your career or talent. That is how the self-mantra was formed; by embracing it and seeing the beauty in it—until the right person approaches me.

We all know that building a brand is filled with everyday challenges, some big and some small and aggravating. What’s your favorite challenge that you have tackled and what did you learn from this experience?

Patience is the biggest thing for me. In this industry it used to be so difficult for me to see other people making a success of their talents and passions. I’ve learned that patience is the most important thing.

Everyone has their own journey, their own timelines and trajectories. There is no use being anxious or worried about what is going to happen. I strongly believe that I will get to where I want to go. I must be patient about with the recourses I do have.

Since you self-manage, this must also mean that you manage your own social media sites? If so, how have you built an online community around your brand? What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs around building passionate fans and active online communities?

Be true to yourself. Be authentic and genuine, whether on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or Soundcloud. I try to give valuable advice or useful and relevant information to my followers and supporters, while constantly remembering to be myself as I do so.

It is also good to have goals for each platform. Your Instagram followers are very different from your Facebook followers, likewise your LinkedIn followers. Figure out, what exactly do followers want to gain from the different platforms? It is a learning process, and a trial and error.

From your social media pages, I can see that you’re inspiring your followers in everything that you do—whether it’s singing or blogging. How do other activities that you partake in, inspire your work?

Photography, reading, social messages, conversations, and social issues inspire my blogging and songwriting. At Berklee School of Music I studied film and music scoring.

I’ve written music for commercials, and teach piano to little kids. Being an artist is a full time job. Everyday there is something to do—from social media, to practicing for a show, to styling, and to rehearsing.

What female artists do you gain inspiration and or empowerment from?

Adele, her honesty inspires me. Lianne Lahava, Laura Mvula—to name a few—teach me to stay true to myself and to write from an honest place.

How do you define yourself and your music, in terms of today’s climate?

If you come to one of my shows, you will hear reggae, highlife, pop, R&B and classical elements. The common thread that runs through all of my songs are honesty and elements of truth and authenticity through my repertoire. I am influenced by too many things to really put myself in the box.

I think that is where the world is headed—no longer really saying. Everyone is going into various genres; as the Internet and social media become more accessible around the world, we are all going to make music that we love and we know we will communicate to our followers and our fans.

What tips do you have on negotiating how much you get paid, how do you determine doing a free show or not?

It all depends on the type of gig, and how many minutes they want you to perform; how many songs they want and the number of instruments needed. All are determining factors and more—styling, makeup, and hair—help me to determine how much to charge.

However, creativity is relative. Some people have a budget. When you get to a point where you are trying to negotiate then other things come in, such as whether it is for a good cause or if it will be really good exposure for you or performing in front of an audience that you do not get to perform in front to often; or even someone saying, I will cover your costs but not pay your labor fees.

There’s also the situation where you have the opportunity to leverage off the people who ask you to perform—if they can open some doors for you, or introduce you to certain people and not pay you as much as you would like, that is a good reason to do a free or low fee gig.

How do you determine a good opportunity?

A good opportunity is one that won’t ever come around again and that you can be proud of. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

For example, when I performed the national anthem at the President of Nigeria’s first official visit to America in Washington, D.C. An opportunity like that may not ever come around again. Another example is of the time that I opened up for Chaka Khan and Angelique Kidjo; it was something I knew I had to do.

Kaline Official - 2A good opportunity can also be for charity, a good cause, to leverage off some contacts, to experiment, or even to rehearse. Open Mic Night, no one pays you for that, but that is in itself a gig; use it as an opportunity to try out a new song or play in front of an audience that you’ve never played in front of.

What do you see yourself achieving as a musician and as a representation of African women, whether in the near future or the far future? What advice would you have for women trying to navigate the industry?

There is so much importance in understanding that we all need to be true to ourselves in order to reach our fullest potential. Patience is key for achieving your goals. Patience does not mean sitting around and waiting for something to happen. It means going out and doing what you can with the resources—limited or not—and pushing ahead with clear goals.

I want to be well represented and seen as someone who stuck to this idea of authenticity and genuity. I want to encourage people to do the same; to be as unique as possible.

Come what may…business must go on

Intel Nairobi event

To all intents and purposes, many economies on the continent have seen a slowdown. Businesses are being tested for resilience, they are being pushed to the edge, and the strength and acumen of their value chains are being tested. But come what may, businesses must go on. They may not thrive as they when the economy was buoyant, but they must continue in earnest.

As I think about these times, two things come to mind.

  1.  The need to build a strong brand to have a sustainable and viable business in and out of a slowdown.
  2. The need to continually prepare and plan to scale your business around the core business activity at the earliest possible opportunity.

Building a brand. Building a business

What is the difference between a brand and a business?  A business is an enterprise that creates an opportunity to trade and generate revenue. A brand is made up of intrinsic values, quality and characteristics that endear clients and aspirational clients to the business.

I always say when starting a business, it is crucial to focus on building the brand first, so that you can have a viable, sustainable business in the medium to long term. And building a brand is not child’s play. A business brand is almost always made up of the personal and business values of the CEO.

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Especially for a small business, it is almost impossible to separate the personal brand of the CEO from the business brand. These become indistinguishable given that the CEO is the face of the business, and most likely the primary client-facing representative of the business. 

For the business owner and CEO, this brings home the need to reflect on, define and articulate your personal and business values right from the outset. This delivers you your business brand.  Understand and define what you are trying to achieve with your business and what values are aligned with that personal and business aspirations. 

Then, commit to live those values – through how you operate your business, how you choose and interact with clients, the quality of your services and products, how you recruit and engage with staff, how you present yourself to the world – presentation skills, public speaking skills, networking, and personal style. When we focus on these from the outset, we endear clients, and essentially revenues, to our business, create brand loyalty, and, come what may, in and out of recession, we enjoy a level of brand loyalty.

Scaling your business

Most business start with one core idea, concept, initiative, but there is always an opportunity to scale and expand that business. Think of a fashion brand that starts initially producing clothes, then start to produce and sell accessories, then later on goes into interiors, and maybe even then a lifestyle venture such as a restaurant. 

What enables such a business to do that successfully is the power of their brand.  When a brand is strong, it has a following, and clients will seek out that brand for every aspect of their daily needs.

Image result for beyonce you can gifs

It’s an intentional decision. Many global corporations and their CEOs at one point decided to develop their personal and business values (=brand) to keep their clients and customers hooked. In the event of an economic slowdown or economic upturn, their business, through their brand strength, remains a viable and sustainable enterprise.

You can do it!

The price of business and entrepreneurship is uncertainty, and the prize is a vision fulfilled, success even in the midst of uncertainty.Image result

Someone recently shared with me a precise lesson in living. They said, if we knew the times and seasons, if we knew exactly what would happen to us or our business next month, next year or in 3 year, we would not need faith, we would not need to be resilient.

It is often the uncertainty in business and the ambition and determination to curb that very uncertainty that fuels the drive to success. 

Risk taking buoyed by a strong brand can bring some comforting business stability.

When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

6 ways to build your personal brand

Amanda Gicharu-Kemoli

Personal branding is that mythical thing where you decide you want to be famous and have a reality TV show with your family, right? Umm…not exactly. Simply put, it’s the perception that people have about you after your interactions on a regular basis – be it a business meeting, social gathering or from your online presence. After other people form their perception, the question for you is what they observe about you, what you want them to remember?

If the answer is no or you’re not sure, here are a couple of tips to help you build a personal brand that you can be proud of.

1. Define your brand

The first step is to know who you are, your personal goals, mission and what you want to be known for. We all have different passions and ambitions so having a personal brand isn’t exclusively for public figures.

If you want to be computer programmer, what are the unique skills you want to be known for? If you want to become a popular stylist, what style and approach do you bring to your clients so that they remember you?

Once you define that, develop a personal mission statement that summarizes who you are, what you do, who do you do it for, and how do you deliver value in a way that no one else does.

2. Start Building Your Reputation

Once you’ve developed your personal mission statement, now is the time to let people know about it. Take time out to network, go to forums within your industry, and find opportunities to interact with different people both socially and in business.

Personally, I always set a target each month of people I would like to interact with. I also create a target list of the business workshops or events in my area of expertise that I want to attend in order to build my skills and meet new people. This way, I get to grow and represent my brand as well.

3. Get Advice

Amid all this networking and building visibility, it can be easy to get carried away and forget to find potential mentors or advisors. Mentors can help you focus all those ideas you have running through your mind, and hopefully share advice that can keep you from making common mistakes.

Not all mentors need to come from your area of expertise. It can be good to find someone with a totally different background than you who can give you an external point of view and general leadership advice.

4. Know Your Stuff

If you are going to start claiming to be an expert in an area, then you should definitely be an expert in an area. That doesn’t mean you can’t continue to learn and grow, but you should have a good idea of where your talents lie and how you’re going to build upon them.

Get to know your weaknesses, identify your strengths and work to become the best person in that area. Your goal is to become the first person people think of when they have a problem they want to solve or are looking for an expert, so make sure you’re ready for the opportunity when they come calling.

5. Maintain Your Connections

After you do all of the hard work to start to build a reputation and connect with relevant people in your industry, you also have to put in the effort to keep up with your brand new contacts.

Use social media and blogging to keep your brand in the right places and the right publications. Set up a system where you’re sending follow up emails to every business card you collect or person you meet at conferences.

As you maintain your connections, then they’ll be more likely to recommend you for new opportunities or open up their network further.

6. Keep Learning and Improving Your Skills

Have you noticed a common pattern here? Just because you decide to become an expert in something and build your personal brand around it doesn’t mean your job is finished.

If you want to maintain relevance in the market and stand out for the long term then you need to make sure you’re always on top of relevant trends and continue to add new skills to your toolkit.

In conclusion, becoming well known in one area of expertise is so important for Motherland Moguls today. When you can’t rely on a job to employ you forever, we all have to be masters of our fate and keep our options open.

Hope these tips gave you a good road map to starting building your personal brand and showing the world all you have to offer.

Beginner’s guide to marketing to an African audience

marketing in africa

Now is a good time to become a game changer. Social media has allowed the world to get a cultural peak into the diversity of African culture. From Azonto music to African films, many African media outlets are re-branding Africa’s image to the world.

Social media has given us the global platform to have unfiltered control over our own images (no pun intended) and build meaningful connections with those who are like-minded. Take advantage of the global opportunities that the internet has to offer.

Working within the field of marketing is based off of the relationships and connections that you build with others. When others see that you are of value to them in some capacity, they are more inclined to support you.

Content is king (or queen)!

Your content must reflect your values. If your mission statement says that you believe in high quality, but your social media images look like your little cousin Kofi took them, nobody believes you. High quality photos are non-negotiable.

The majority of your digital audience will most-likely have smartphones, if they can take semi-professional looking photos with them, at the very least, you can do the same. About 55% of online users leave a website within the first 15 seconds, this leaves little time to make a great first impression.

You should always “sweat the small stuff”. Have an eye for detail. Putting elements of your personality into your marketing strategy sets you apart from the rest. It shows a level of creativity that no one else can effectively duplicate because there is only on you.

Engage with your audience

You have to tap into your audience’s needs on an emotional level. You must engage with your audience so that they feel connected to your brand; this is how brand loyalty is developed. Take the time to define who your target audience is and create content that is relevant to them.

Be as personal as possible when addressing your audience, they need to know that they are valued. Implement nuances that remind them of their culture so that they feel a level of nostalgia and camaraderie in association with your brand. Allow your empathy to shine through. Show your core audience that you “get them.”

Please understand that social media for brands is really not about self-promotion but rather to engage with your audience and build trust. Brands should use their social media platform to learn about their customers needs and find solutions for them. When you are marketing, you are in the business of solving problems.

Social Media Week Lagos

It is imperative that you take the time to know and grow with your audience. In knowing their values, you can develop marketing strategies catering to their interests. Majority of online activity for many is done on a mobile device (i.e. tablet or smartphone).

Your website must be mobile friendly, responsive web design needs be integrated into your website.  Responsive web design is “a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).”  If visitors have to struggle and constantly scroll across the screen just to read a sentence, they will easily become annoyed and less likely to visit again.

Your website should be easy to navigate. If you are selling a product or asking visitors for donations on your homepage, visitors should not have to maneuver through three different webpages before finding the right button to click. People in the digital age are less patient, you have to find ways to accommodate that. I beg, “African time” need not apply in the digital world.

Create customer profiles

When marketing to an African audience, create a customer profile. A customer profile is just a detailed description about who your target customer is. Many marketing teams do this in order to make customer centered decisions that appeal to their target customer. The customer profile could include the following:

  •      Name
  •      Age
  •      Hobbies
  •      Where they live
  •      Favorite movies
  •      Goals and aspirations

In addition to the above, you can even google a picture of what your target customer would look like, be as visual and descriptive as possible. According to user experience researchers from Experience Solutions “most projects evolve from an idea, and grow through the opinions of influential members of the project team. The trouble is that these influential members of the project team are rarely the end user or customer.

This often results in a product or service that doesn’t quite meet customer expectations or needs…” Having a thorough customer profile serves as a reminder as to who your target audience is. You are more likely to accurately focus your branding strategies around their interests.

Make Google analytics your best friend

Make Google analytics your best friend. Google analytics is a free web service run by Google that tracks and reports your website traffic. You can use this tool to track the geographical location of your users, view which pages on your website they are visiting, the time of day that they visit the most, and a host of many other details.

In knowing how your audience moves, you can study trends and plan strategically. For example, if Google analytics shows that your blog has that highest amount of web traffic on Tuesday’s between 3-5pm, you may want to release new blog posts during that time. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that walk you through the process of using Google analytics.

Africa is not a country

Finally, marketing to an African audience requires significant research. Africa has over 50 countries, each of which has its own unique culture. A marketing strategy that works in Nigeria may not work in Kenya.

Collect data, analyze and respond accordingly. As long as you are working with a well-defined goal in mind, it is easier to establish your target audience and market to them effectively.

Have any other tips on marketing effectively to an African audience? Share them below.