On Being a Digital Marketing Strategist.
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Gesora Mwasi is an entrepreneur who has been running his own digital marketing strategy firm, Sage Identity, for the past 2 years. Before that he’d worked at a corporate for 3 years managing their digital media department. We caught up with him to learn how he came to be a digital marketing strategist.
How did it all begin?
GS: I begun my journey as a digital marketer in my first year of university. I was dabbling in business development, hosting and running my own events and juggling a few other projects, when I realized that I was more effective when I shared content on Facebook. I also more profitable – I generated more money through Facebook than any other platform.
I continued to build my Facebook page which I sold for KES 10,000 in 2009. This was a lot of money at the time and it was unheard of to sell pages or make money off social media platforms.
I saw the potential and decided to focus on digital marketing.
Has your education background helped you as a digital marketing strategist?
GS: I did marketing and microfinance and soon after graduation took a CIM certificate for digital marketing. At the time it was a side hobby for me. I was learning mostly through research and digging deeper into different industries, and I enjoyed doing it.
What do you enjoy most about digital marketing?
GS: It is very versatile. You’re never bored. You’re working on different challenges and with different people. You’re exposed to new, different concepts every day.
Some of the clients I have worked with include Gebeya in the software development and training space, Maisha Micro Finance Bank, a financial institution, and Sanabora, a fashion company, among others.
What skills are a must-have?
GS: Basic knowledge of marketing and sales is a must. Digital Marketing helps you to amplify your efforts in uniques ways. It’s an instrument to share your content.
Marketing, sales, and psychology are at the core. Be good at them.
It’s also smart to specialize according to your interests, The more you do it, the better you like it all – from data to analytics and copywriting.
How can someone become an expert?
GS: It depends on the age group you are in.
From a 26 year old perspective, it takes about 8 – 12 months to be able to take on a paid job. The basic of it is learning how to monetize the audience that you have. Growing up with technology makes it easy for this group to get the social network following. They use technology as a connector and relationship builder for friends and family as well as their professional contacts.
That social tech focus is what this group needs to optimize on and leverage in order to become experts.
Is it difficult to convince older-run corporates to take up Social media?
GS: It used to be a challenge. A lot of them used to associate social media with their kids. Luckily, we’re all digital now and are more connected – even my cucu has WhatsApp.
The older folks are also seeing the benefits from a business perspective. They are on Twitter trying to connect to their customers, employees and partners – intellectuals, politicians they are all online.
My approach is showing how a business can benefit from being online. I provide statistics to prove that they need to have an online presence e.g if the website isn’t converting, I identify content and call-to-action gaps and demonstrate how bridging these can generate more leads. The goal is to have them adopt the strategy.
What are some tech tools that you use in your digital marketing work?
GS: The more sustainable approach is to get creative and find and curate solutions that will help you standout.
For example, you can retarget your social media ads to people who visit your website. There is native Facebook and Twitter software with analytics for planning and executing such a campaign.
Google software such as Google Analytics gives you website analytics you can use to target specific pages, optimize them and generate more leads.
Once you start generating high traffic, you can monetize your website using tools such as AdSense to place relevant, curated ads on your website.
Tools such Moz and Ahrefs will help you with SEO optimization to improve your search traffic. They give you a better view of the position you have on search engines such as Google and Bing and how to improve your ranking.
The key is to always lead with strategy and use the tools to execute. Not use the tools to lead or direct the strategy.
What do you constantly need to keep on doing to stay on top of your game?
GS: I have to be open to continuously changing. If you aren’t in the loop, you will end up losing. You have to stay relevant and avoid getting comfortable with one mentality. In short, it’s important to study the trends and follow reliable platforms.