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How to use digital platforms to grow a business

The Youth Digital Skills Forum was hosted on 11 June by Digify Africa and Facebook and under the theme "Youth Power; Growing South Africa Together in The Period of Covid-19." The Youth Digital Skills Forum is part of an effort to encourage dialogue around digital skills.
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Here are some of the tips that youth panellists shared about ways young marketers and entrepreneurs can leverage digital platforms to build sustainable livelihoods or grow their business.

1. Be ready to pivot


Aviwe Komsana, a young digital marketer and an alumni of the Digify Pro programme, says that it’s important to remain open to shifting to new roles and opportunities in our fast-changing world. As a former film student, she found new ways to use her content creation expertise by upskilling in digital marketing.

2. Be open to learning


A second tip from Komsana is to “learn, learn, learn”. She says that platforms such as Facebook offer a wealth of free learning content that can help anyone to build strong digital skills. Facebook Blueprint, for instance, has courses for people with beginner, intermediate and advanced digital skills. Those who want to become digital professionals can invest in an exam and certification as proof of their digital skills and knowledge for clients and employers.

3. Strive for consistency


Lebohang Letsapa — a personal stylist and shopper, says that one of the keys to successful digital marketing is to be consistent in creating content. She advises entrepreneurs to make time each day to create something, even if they don’t post it every day. This is a good way to build a stockpile of content and to get into the discipline of using your social channels every day.

4. Recognise that social channels are about community


Akhona Kom, an Instagram micro-influencer, says that your brand on social media is shared with your community. It’s important to engage authentically and hear the voices of the people on your channels.

5. Find your niche


Kom says that she started her Instagram account to promote her modelling career. But her engagement levels and following started to skyrocket once she began focusing more on showcasing her dreadlocks. She knew then that she had found a community and viable target market that shared her passions.

Similarly, Letsapa started off in clothing retail and found her niche as she started building closer customer relationships. Her business evolved into a personal shopping and stylist service, and she adds value with her personal taste and touch.

Boosting the digital economy


Nomonde Gongxeka-Seopa, Facebook head of policy Southern Africa, says: “It was heartwarming to hear the stories of some of the young entrepreneurs who have graduated from the Digify Pro and Boost with Facebook programmes, whilst also affording them a platform to share their insights and advice with other youth. Their stories and experience showcase the importance of empowering young people and businesses to enable them to fully participate in the digital economy.”

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