Today I shall be discussing one of the most practised new-age businesses these days. This business can be started by just about anyone – the key question is can you have influence amongst the Zimbabwean masses? This type of business will be largely anchored on active and structured use of the internet and social media. This is a business that’ll entail producing captivating content that enables you to rally behind you a huge and ever-growing following that you can mobilise. If you want to get a glimpse of how some people are making lots of money from this just go to Instagram and see for yourself. Being a social influencer (particularly a social media influencer) doesn’t necessarily need you to be a celebrity per se – though with time you can actually become one.
Here’s how this business works, you set up social media accounts or a website and you identify a strategy to employ that can grow your following. The idea is to produce engaging content regularly so that you build up a loyal and ever-growing following. Once you’ve attained huge followings and not just that but also high engagement rates then you’re set to start monetizing your influence. By engagement, I’m saying when you post your content there must be many active interactions in the form comments, likes, shares and the like. How then do you monetize? The short answer is advertisements! Here’s how it works, once your following and engagement rates are high you will either be approached by brands or businesses seeking to advertise or you can approach them yourself. Actually, businesses nowadays are keen on using social influencers as avenues of ad placements by tapping into their followings.
So your major homework is to identify what type of content you want to produce and what channel you want to use. Locally you might be aware of The Comic Pastor, Madam Boss, Lorraine ‘Ndinyengeiwo’ Guyo – these are just a few examples. These are examples of social influencers who are making a living out social media influencing. If you go on their timelines either on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube you’ll notice they have a certain approach about their content. The Comic Pastor focuses on comedy by producing skits that narrate current affairs in the country. He also doubles that with being an MC who can be invited to officiate at events such as weddings in particular. Madam Boss is also into comedy skits which focus a lot on her ‘Dudzai’ alter-ego where she plays the role of a housemaid. Lorraine, I once chronicled her rise to stardom and is now establishing herself quite solidly. She is producing weekly episodes of an exciting drama series on her YouTube channel. I’m saying all this to give you a sense of the approaches you can take.
Don’t just limit yourself to examples I cited above though. Other approaches involve blogging, vlogging and podcasting. Anyways, the idea is to create content on a key area of interest e.g. a fitness blog, a travel vlog; just a few examples to put things into perspective for you. The crux is simply on engaging people, growing a loyal following and advertisers will come flocking on you.
Key Components And Things To Consider
As I touched on earlier you’re going to need a website or social media accounts. From the local scene, I’ve noticed that video content is a hit amongst many. In fact, I can say video is actually now the king of content since it’s characterised by high engagement rates. So that means you’ll also need videography and photography services to create, structure and edit your content. You can either outsource or have your own in-house equipment. I know of Bus Stop TV (which is popular with the comedian Gonyeti); they use their own in-house equipment for videography and photography. If you’re to choose to blog then ensure that you learn on principles on how to optimize your content for search engines. You’ll also need to learn about the use of keywords or phrases and also an understanding of Google Analytics, amongst other things.
Human capital needs will depend on your approach and probably the scale of operation. You can choose to outsource services or have a team you work with. Examples like Bus Stop TV it’s a team comprising of various roles such as the acting and the production. I also know Lorraine has a team of co-actors and a management team also. In essence, you have the leeway to choose how big or small you want your human resources to be.
Depends on what approach you’re taking again. Vlogging or anything involving video and photography will entail some significant costs be it outsourced or in-house. Once the business has taken off you won’t really feel these costs because you’ll be getting huge ad placement deals. In some cases, you can even end up becoming a brand ambassador for a brand or many brands (Lorraine Guyo and Madam Boss are some examples).
The market is vast and totally up to you. All you got to do is to figure out what type of content to put out there and cultivate loyal and perpetual followership. There’s always an inexhaustible market if you play your cards well.
So this is definitely a type of business worth exploring. The beauty of it is that anyone can start it and by anyone I’m even referring to age – someone as young as 8 years old or even less can become a social influencer. Just remember the key is influence here, so it’s not just your ability to attract followers but your ability to influence their behaviour. So invest in learning how to influence people and understanding your audience. Just bear in mind that it takes strategic and engaging use of the internet and social media.