- Player: Sharm Pillay
- Claim to fame: International DJ and founder of social media agency XXpand Online.
- Visit: sharmpillay.com
Know what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for it
Find your passion. Take control of your future. Pick up the phone and put yourself out there. Identify the various media that may be interested in your brand and bravely contact the relevant people.
You’ll be surprised by the positive response. Be courageous, market yourself confidently and from the heart. Passion is sensed by the receiver. It’s all about your energy.
Embrace what makes you unique
A great way to market yourself successfully and to differentiate yourself from the competition is to lean into the things that make you truly different and unique. For example, I am South Africa’s only female Indian techno DJ, which is a great marketing angle.
Leverage your connections
Marketing starts with your own network. If you sit and take stock, you’ll realise that you have a far more expansive network of personal and professional connections than you think. You need to tap into that to market your business. For instance, I had connections at Lotus FM and SABC, which helped me launch myself as a DJ.
Know your client
Marketing starts with an understanding of your customer. You need to know what the customer wants and expects, and position your offering accordingly. Booking a gig with a corporate client is very different from playing at a club. They need a different experience, so I provide that.
Social media and online platforms are a must for any start-up
No-one can afford to ignore the great advantages of online media. It’s easier than ever to market your brand and your business, thanks to platforms like Facebook and WordPress. These provide free marketing opportunities, provided you’re willing to put in a little bit of work.
You need to identify the social media channels that will work for you
Not every channel will work for all businesses, so you need to look at your options. Instagram is a great platform if you’re selling something that is visually appealing, such as fashion and jewellery.
Twitter is great for larger organisations, but I wouldn’t recommend it for every start-up.
Facebook can be used by just about any business, but is particularly useful if you’re focused on ecommerce.
You can even sell items directly from your Facebook page and use your personal profile to drive traffic to your business page during those early days. Once again, your personal network is probably larger than you think.
An online presence needs to be managed carefully
You need to strike a balance. You have to be personal and engaging, but you also have to remain professional. Importantly, professional doesn’t mean boring. You can be sexy or cheeky or irreverent while remaining professional.
I manage my social media content very carefully. I’m authentic, but I respect my audience. I don’t bore them by posting pictures of my meals. They don’t come to me for that kind of content.
Be mature and take the high road on social media
People have opinions and they’re not afraid to share them online. Some people will be rude. Never allow yourself to be pulled into a Twitter flame war. Once again, it comes back to remaining professional at all times.
A great form of marketing is to position yourself as a thought leader
The Internet has made it easier than ever to get your thoughts and opinions out there. You can write for a website, or you can blog on your own site. For creatives this is a great way to market your service. By creating content you can drive traffic to your site.
Being professional doesn’t mean being boring. It just means keeping your private life private and not acting inappropriately on a public platform.