Janet Machuka podcast interview – creating a great social media strategy

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Joining me on this episode of the podcast is the brilliant Janet Machuka, discussing everything you need to create a great social media strategy.

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(Full transcript at bottom of page.)

Janet is a social media marketing strategist, trainer, and founder of Africa Tweet Chat. She boasts over 100k followers on her social media with high levels of engagement on her posts, and was also recently listed amongst the top 200 of the most influent African women on Twitter. When it comes to social media, she really knows her stuff. It was only right for me to pick her brains and learn from her about how she does it.

In the episode we discuss:

– Defining a social media strategy.
– The benefits of having a social media strategy in place.
– Where she see’s most people making mistakes with this.
– Advice she would give to someone who is creating a strategy for the first time.


…and so much more!

As always, if you enjoyed this, and previous episodes, please like, rate, share, and subscribe to the podcast – it all helps!

Useful Links:

Podcast Anchor Page: https://anchor.fm/azeemdigitalasks

My Twitter page: https://twitter.com/AzeemDigital

My website: https://iamazeemdigital.com/

Janet’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/janetmachuka_

Episode Transcript

Azeem Ahmad:
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the Azeem Digital Asks Podcast. I have got a brilliant guest with me today, Janet Machuka, and we’re talking all about creating a great social media strategy. Now, for those who shamefully do not know who Janet is, firstly, an absolute legend. Secondly, she described herself on her Twitter bio, the social media marketing strategist and trainer. She’s the founder of Africa Tweet Chats, tutor at Platzi, and she’s been featured pretty much everywhere. But I will let her introduce herself properly, because that was probably terrible. Janet, welcome to the show.

Janet Machuka:
Thanks you for giving me this opportunity. It’s a pleasure, thank you.

Azeem Ahmad:
No, you are more than welcome. Right, so that was probably a bad introduction, so let the listeners know who you are, what you do and what your expertise is all about.

Janet Machuka:
Hi, everyone. I hope you’re listening from your car, from your home and whatever you’re doing. My name is Janet Machuka and I’m so glad to be part of this podcast. Actually, we’ve been planning quite some time with Azeem on how we are going to engage with you, give you something that is so amazing to you. But before we get there, my name is Janet Machuka, as I said, and I am a digital marketing strategist. I’ve been actually doing a lot of social media, not just being a strategist.

Janet Machuka:
And, what I love about social media is the community in it, how it can be able to engage with people, share with them tips and teach them on what I’ve learned through my journey and through working with different brands. So, you’ll have to learn about me as we talk through with Azeem, at the same time, I can’t wait to see you on my social media so that you could know more about me. Yes.

Azeem Ahmad:
Brilliant, thank you very much. So, it’s well versed that you know a lot about community. But, I wanted to pick your brain specifically about social media strategy, because you seem to have a fantastic one which I would love to learn more about, or I think the listeners would as well. Before we get into it, I would love to hear from you directly, how would you define a social media strategy?

Janet Machuka:
Well, when it comes to social media strategy, I don’t want you to think about just applying as most of these articles telling you about. I want you to look at what are you doing on your social media, what activities are you doing. What efforts are you putting into these social media accounts in order to make yourself be seen more, be interacted with more and of course engaged, because that is why we are on social media the first place. At the same time, creating now that impact.

Janet Machuka:
So most of the time, I don’t just pick social media strategy as a plan, but those activities, the how-to, how am I engaging with my people? How am I giving them the best? How am I gaining from them at the same time? But ultimately, what kind of relationships am I creating from the kind activities that I’m doing, the way I’m engaging with them? Can it give me some referrals? The way I am sharing, creating my content? Does it excite them? Can they learn from it? At the same time, can they be able to share their opinions or more knowledge that I didn’t know about?

Janet Machuka:
So the essence of the plan is not just you putting it down, and putting aside but is the how to get from point A to point B. And this is where we bring in the KPIs, the deliverables and even the goals that you want to achieve at the end of the day. So, I just define it as those activities efforts. And at the same time, the kind of work that you’re putting into your social media every single day in order to make yourself be see grow, at the same time be able to help other people.

Azeem Ahmad:
Love that, brilliant answer. Thank you very much for sharing, so I would love to learn from you. What do you see as the benefits of having a social media strategy in place?

Janet Machuka:
Well, when it comes to social media, if you’re very keen from how I described it or rather how I defined it from the way I usually do it, I talked about you being seen more. When you say you’re being seen more, at the end of the day you just don’t want to create for those two followers. You want people to be able to engage by even sharing, by even talking about it or by even adding more information about it. That shows that you are seen. So the essence of our strategy is to make you seen, is to make you be interacted with, be engaged with.

Janet Machuka:
At the end of the day, who wants to post a photo on Instagram and then after two days, three days no like, no comment. It’s worrying, because the essence of this social media is that aspect that can people see that I’m posting this? Can people comment on it? Why else do we have the buttons? Why do we have the likes? Why do we have the comments? Why do we have to check on our impact in terms of the analysis, in terms of what is happening with our accounts? So, how are you creating the content? That’s another way that it’s going to help you. Like I’m going to create this today, and this is how am I going to post this and this is the way or the manner in which I expect it to excite my audience, at the same time give them a reason to engage with me.

Janet Machuka:
One thing that I usually tell, not only the corporate brands but personal brands, you need to stay focused. And, by being focused and staying focused you need to have a plan. You need to have a strategy. You don’t have just wake up in the morning and they’re like, “Oh, today I have no idea what I’m going to write about. I have no idea what I’m going to talk about.” And sometimes you find people that are like, “Okay, yesterday I said I am a finance expert, but today I don’t have anything to talk about the finance sector or the industry.” But, what about the client? What if you planned? Maybe you will have already done a deeper research about that niche, that topic so that it can help you know exactly what you’re going to post.

Janet Machuka:
For me as a social media trainer, I’ve been able to at least create flexible strategies for myself of which I have to look at what is happening today, or what is new on social media? At the same time, how can I add or rather involve what I do into the strategy? At the same time, am I focused? Can people identify me from my content? What I’m posting, can they tell that I am a social media trainer, or I love content, I love marketing? Can it talk about me? So, the essence of this strategy is to make you stay focused. But for most of the brands, especially the corporates we talk about, you knowing being what kind of budget are you going to use. Who are you going to work with? Who is going to do A, B, C, D in terms of the content creation? Who is going to focus on community management? Who is going to do the different activities that we’ll like to put together?

Janet Machuka:
At the same time, looking at the aspect of this corporate brand, we also want to know which kind of tools are we going to use from the auditing to even the managing the content through and through writing, creating it and sharing it on social media to the point of analyzing it. Because, these are some of the things at the end of the day we want to do. We want to see, does this strategy that we created that we have now executed made an impact? Has it given us the kind of deliverables that we wanted? Have we attained our objectives? Have we met our goals? Those things that we usually put it then you’re like, “Okay, I want to create awareness for this brand. I want to like create a lot of engagements around the content. At the same time, I want the leads, I want the customers to come in. I want to see a lot of reach, you know?” So, those are some of the things that you need to look into.

Janet Machuka:
And if you have a strategy today, trust me, every week you’re going to do your reviews. Every month you’re going to check, you’re going to realize that whatever that you are putting into, it’s also giving you a community and audience that is targeted, that is engaging with your content because they understand it. There’s relevance in it. At the same time, they’re becoming your fans and also they’re becoming your customers. And so you’re growing a community that is healthy, that’s trusts you and you also growing your authenticity as a brand in the long run. Yes.

Azeem Ahmad:
Love that, fantastic answer. Thank you very much for sharing, so I would love to learn from you, where do you see most people making mistakes with this?

Janet Machuka:
Exactly, now when it comes to social media strategy, most of the people feel like it’s not necessary. Especially in the world of social media where things happen, like whatever happen today might not happen tomorrow. Everything is coming in a different way, news is being shared all the time. You talk about the features of social media are changing all the time and people feel like, okay, let me just go with the flow. Let me just go with the way the day happened, or breaks and then to the end. But that should not be the case, why? Especially with your social media as a brand, sometimes there are days you feel like you don’t have anything to post. You don’t have ideas to talk about, you actually sometimes feel fatigued because you don’t feel like going to social media. You just want to have a break. And, you want at least to make sure that your audience is seeing you, whatever you’re doing or the constantly and actively engaging with their context.

Janet Machuka:
Some of the mistakes we should actually avoid when developing these strategies is creating rigid strategies. And by rigid, I mean, you could have a strategy today and you want it to be used three months down the line. You’ve never changed it, you have never thought about adding something new. You haven’t even checked what kind of features have changed or how is the algorithm working. If it’s Twitter, if it’s Facebook, if it’s Instagram, how has it changed? How far are people? Are you updated with the current happenings around you?

Janet Machuka:
And that is why I usually say, “Look at Twitter, when you start tweeting, it asks you what’s happening?” Not what happened yesterday, or what is happening two months down the lane, you know? You have to state what is happening at that time. So, your strategy should also be like that, what is happening? If you meant to post something or you have planned to post something today that you planned last week, and you realize that something has changed and you need to adapt it to the current situation, please be flexible as you can. Another thing I have realized is people don’t actually think or don’t know, or rather feel like when I’m creating a strategy and I have putting it in place, I have to follow each and every single thing that I’ve written.

Janet Machuka:
Who say so? Who told you? Nobody. That is just a calendar of ways of your contents and how you want them to appear. But, it doesn’t mean that you have to write exactly the same way or the way you have put them. Sometimes words change, and that’s why I sometimes jokingly tell people, “You know what? As much as I have a strategy, I usually like being there to type something at that moment.” Yes, I wrote an idea about it but if I write to the complete tweet today that I’m going to post two weeks down the line, I don’t think people will have that. I will connect my feelings right there, I will add the emotional right there and they will create that connection better. So, it should give you an idea of how are you going to add more into the human connection into building relationship, and even into the engagement.

Janet Machuka:
And remember engagements are not just the likes, the comment, it goes farther. You have to trigger the psychology of a person to the point that you’re making them comment, follow, retweet and all that. So, you don’t have to follow it to the latter. If it doesn’t hold water, and if it doesn’t have the connection, please put it aside a bit and create something fresh. So be flexible, okay. And something else, I will actually remind some people who are still creating and who are thinking of creating strategies. Remember, you are creating the strategy for people not for yourself.

Janet Machuka:
I am a personal brand, I create content for people in social media. As much as I’m talking about what I love doing, as much as I’m talking about myself and what I’ve been able to achieve, remember I’m drawing people into my community. So I’m not creating for me to consume it, no. Then why should they post it anyway? So I have to think about the people, how can I involve them? How can I make them feel part and parcel of my brand, of this content, of this strategy that I’m laying out every single day?

Janet Machuka:
And then something else is, of course, there are people who think strategy is all about just the budget, the content, and even the tools that you’re using or the audience that you’re talking to. What about the unnecessary, unnecessary things? Can you single out the unnecessary stuff, so that you can focus on the necessary things? Sometimes people say, “Oh, you know what? I can’t create up a strategy for my brand, because I don’t have a budget. So, I can’t pay for a graphic designer, I can’t pay for ads. I can’t give somebody ideas to create for me the content for my social media. I don’t have time to post on social media.”

Janet Machuka:
But, what about the tools? What about the content creation tools? What about the content management or social media management tools? What about listening tools? What about the tools that help you be able to analyze it? Sometimes you can do it alone. You don’t need a team for you to create a social media strategy. If you’re a small brand, actually, the better. And even a personal brand, the better because there are so many free tools that you can make good use of. So don’t give excuse that, you know what? I don’t have the budget to employ this and this person, so I’m not going to achieve this strategy. Go ahead and create it.

Janet Machuka:
Something else is do your research. Most of the time we ignore this part, you know? What the kind of audience you’re talking to? How are the people in the same industries doing the same thing, offering the same products, the same services as you doing it? How are people creating a lot of impact, a lot of engagement on social media without that strategy or with that strategy? So, that you can be able to create a better strategy at the end of the day. You don’t want just to create a strategy for the sake of creating one, because at the end of the day you want to show the impact. You want to gain something out of it, so do your research.

Janet Machuka:
Lastly, people forget this all the time. Before you do any strategy, before you think about even starting from what’s my audience, or what’s my budget, or what kind of content am I going to create? Can you audit your social media profiles? Check the kind of engagements you have, check the kind of content that people are interacting with the most. Go ahead and find out if you posted videos, how did people engage with them? If you post content about your brand or you bought your itself, which days do they engage with your content most? And this is why sometimes I usually say, “As much as on social media we have statistics that can tell us, you know what? From this time to this time, that’s when people go on social media and engaging with content. Also, you should go ahead and check on that.”

Janet Machuka:
What if you monitor, you audit your own social media platforms every single time? Not only before you create the strategy, but also in the process of executing it. Find out when are your audiences on this basis? How can you know that this particular time, that’s when my audience is online. Don’t just go with the crowd because they said, “You know what? At 2:00 AM or 2:00 PM, that’s when most of the people are on social media.” But, have you found out from your profits? Yeah, so that’s the bit I can give in terms of the mistakes I realized so many people do make, especially the personal brands.

Azeem Ahmad:
Wow, that is amazing. Thank you very much for sharing. I can’t believe the time is literally flown by so quick. So much knowledge you’ve shared there. Before we part ways and we have to end the episode, I want to make sure as many people who have listened to this, have the opportunity to find you on social media and to follow you. So, where can people go to learn more about you? Where can they follow you?

Janet Machuka:
Well, I’m on all social media platforms, but not all. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Well, I’m not on TikTok because I don’t know how to dance yet. That was a joke. So, I’m more active on Twitter because I find it easier for me to coordinate with people, at the same time being an ambassador of communities. I find Twitter easy to find people, you know with those hashtags.

Janet Machuka:
And for me, I usually say, “Twitter algorithm is the best.” It helps you search, it helps you find better content. It helps you follow topics, it helps you create lists and everything there. I can talk about Twitter from now until tomorrow, but I won’t to finish. So, on Twitter you can find me @Janetmachuka, and I believe I’m the only Janet Machuka on Twitter. On Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn the same, but I interact more with people on the LinkedIn and Twitter. For you to find me easy, kindly Google me. I can be seen from somewhere.

Azeem Ahmad:
Amazing, thank you very much. The last thing for me to say is thank you very much for taking the time out to share your knowledge, your learnings, your wisdom. Really, really appreciate it. I know this is an episode that is going to go down well with the listeners. So for me, the last thing I’ll say is the boring part, which is please like, right, share and subscribe to this podcast. The most important part is one more time, Janet, thank you so much for giving me some of your time today and some of your knowledge. And I’m sure the listeners will love this episode, so thanks very much for that.