Like Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Content is king, but marketing is queen and runs the household.”
Social media has given bloggers, business owners, and companies of different sizes the opportunity to build an audience that wishes to connect with them, learn, or buy from them. However, it is not enough to have great content and a large audience, your marketing game has to be strong as well.
In 2012, Tosin launched Naija Naturals, an online community of natural hair enthusiasts, after five years of blogging. The online community was a great place to share information on how to manage natural hair and wigs, and it included a directory of over 300 natural hair friendly salons. This online community has now grown into an online product supply store, plus a physical location. The best part is that Tosin keeps other sources of income open – product reviews and brand collaborations both on YouTube and Instagram. She agreed to share some tips on how she stays winning online. Let’s get into them!
Treat your passion as a full-time job.
Tosin credits her ability to manage her different hustles effectively to being meticulous. She is passionate about doing things the best way possible. She’s that top-notch planner who stays disciplined. “I treat my business like a 9-5. I resume early and I ensure everything is done as though I’m answerable to a higher boss,” Tosin says. I also have a Ph.D. in delegating tasks. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I have set up my business in a way it runs effectively without me.”
Tosin’s regular day varies depending on whether she’s in Nigeria, where her physical store is located, or Glasglow, where she lives with her husband. When in Naija, her typical day involves sorting and processing orders for their logistics partners to pick up, setting up for the new day, and welcoming walk-in customers. She takes time to update stock and complete other trade-related activities early in the day, shoots photos for her brand’s PR when needed, and brainstorms ideas for a new campaign. She also shoots or records for brands she partners with as a blogger. On most nights, she’s up editing content for her Youtube channel or fulfilling her paid commissions.
There’s good stuff online! Do your research.
For Tosin, the answer to maximizing online marketing opportunities is consistent research. She has been able to stand her online business out by not replicating other brands, but instead by staying authentic and engaging in research across industries. She described that as much as she runs a hair business, she could find herself reading up on an automobile business model to understand the general rules of business. So, dear business owner, google your way through! From podcasts to Instagram, Facebook and Google (as companies) providing marketing guides for small businesses, the internet is a goldmine!
Define your target audience and your money goals.
This might sound like a broken record, but I find that many businesses still don’t have this in place. How will you serve an audience that you have not defined?
Tosin describes one of the biggest mistakes she made when she started out: it was not defining her brand’s audience and trying to market to everyone. The interesting truth is not everyone will be interested in your product. Depending on the type of product you sell or service you’re offering, not everyone might need your product. And that’s okay. Another mistake Tosin mentioned here was not setting out monthly marketing budgets, as freebies can only do so much. In other words, you can’t be putting in all the work but sleeping on your bank balance. When she defined her brand’s target audience and set clear goals, everything changed.
Instagram is great but it is not the only marketing tool.
Instagram is great. You should not be sleeping on Instagram in 2018. However, is it the platform that works best for your business? What if the narrative changes tomorrow, do you have an actual marketing plan?
When I asked Tosin if she thought we could put all our eggs into the Instagram basket, she literally laughed out loud. According to her, “Instagram is another person’s platform and you don’t control the narrative. Social media apps are ever-changing. There are so many options you can explore.” She described a situation where someone made millions of naira from selling an ebook on weight loss, thanks to email marketing. Tosin also advised online entrepreneurs to consider affiliate schemes, physical activations, concession and stockists platforms, and even online platforms like Konga and Jumia.
If you’re focused on drawing traffic to another source, like your blog or online store, Instagram is great. But it is not the only option. Have you taken a look at Pinterest? Instagram is moving toward being an all-sufficient app, one that is not for driving traffic to another source, but a platform where you can search for a product or service and complete the transaction all on the app. It’s really a great tool for entrepreneurs and content creators to maximize, but it is also important to diversify. Most importantly, do the research and find out the best platform(s) for your business.
Be your best authentic self
I personally think being a blogger or video content creator is such a big deal. Now, combine that with running an online business? I really needed to know how Tosin did it, and her simple gem was: being your best authentic self. Bring your best self to the table, not the mediocre version.
Final words from Tosin to you: Build structure early. Don’t wait for the business to get busy before you build a structure. Use automation tools and make sure your business can continue, even in your absence.