By day, Olivia Ambani is a Nairobi-based social media consultant and visual designer. By night, she is an upcoming singer - songwriter with a beautiful voice. Olivia holds a BA in Communications and Media and MA in Design from the University of Leeds. Olivia describes a social media consultant as, “Someone who creates content for social media platforms.”
ADMI caught up with her to gain insights on a career in social media consultancy and visual design.
ADMI: How did you end up in a career in Social Media?
OA: By the time I was finishing up my undergraduate programme, there were no social media platforms per se. Facebook had been launched two years earlier and was gaining popularity. On moving back to Kenya, one of my first jobs was at Kiko Romeo. They asked if I knew how to create and manage a Facebook page. I didn’t, but, I knew how to create content. I started managing the page and gained a lot of experience. Every company I joined after Kiko Romeo always needed someone to do social media and therein was my strength.
ADMI: Did your educational background contribute in any way to your career?
OA: When I was doing my BA, I felt what I was learning wasn’t enough for the job market. That’s why I did an MA immediately after. Always check what the job market needs before you graduate. Know the experience, the skills, the requirements etc needed. That way you are well prepared.
Our classes were very practical. For instance, in my MA, we worked on real briefs from clients. For each class, we'd receive the brief, work on it and then the client would select the best project to implement. In each class, one had to have background work, make a presentation and create a report.
I also learned a lot out of class. I had a part-time job at a restaurant where I learned how to deal with people. I was in a lot of associations. I revived the business club at the University of Leeds. The process of setting up an organization, convincing people to join and pitching to companies was quite exciting and prepared me for life beyond university.
Image Source: Unsplash. Daniele Riggi
ADMI: What have been your favourite projects?
OA: It’s quite difficult to choose my favourite project since I have worked on a lot of things. However, for Visual Design, my favourite project is a book that I designed, Aspirations of A Generation: Youth of Kenya. It was quite exciting since I had never designed something like that before.
For social media, my favourite project was working with Heva Fund. I created content that I have always wanted to content. I am big on learning resources, not just telling people to buy this or this is what we do. Rather, giving them the resources to use. I enjoy creating learning resources, especially around investment.
ADMI: What are some challenges you have faced so far?
OA: The main challenge has been getting some clients to understand what I offer. To tackle this, I always educate them about the value of social media and the important metrics. Thus you have to understand marketing. A couple of questions to think about: What do you want to achieve? Where does social media fit in a business, the campaign and the wider marketing scope? The benefit of social media is the analytics and the ability to track and understand your audience. It’s also okay to walk away.
ADMI: What are some important skills to have?
OA: Some important skills to have are content creation, basic photography and copywriting. A lot of clients won’t provide you with the copy, thus you need to understand the brand, and come up with the copy the client might approve. In addition to this, you need to understand that social media is a marketing tool. You need to understand branding, marketing, and sales. Your clients want to either sell or get their brand out there. If you understand marketing and sales, you can analyze your audience, their location, their interests etc, and thus you’ll know what content will work for them. Learn a bit of graphic design.
ADMI: Parting shot?
OA: It’s all possible. Never stop learning. Keep on making sure your skills are sharp.
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