Joy Akatukunda is an expert social media marketer with an excellent approach to content creation and digital marketing. She knows well how to merge social media creativity with business. Joy is the host of “Find your digital voice,” a series of Twitter spaces where speakers share their views about digital marketing.
In this episode of #ChampLifeSeries, we invited Joy, and here is what she shared about her social media marketing journey with us.
Fahad: Hi Joy, thanks for being a part of our #ChampsLifeSeries. Starting with our first question, Please share your career’s journey with our readers.
Joy: I’m honored to be here and thank you for having me. I’m grateful to have discovered what I wanted to achieve with my life at such a young age. Some people take years to realize this. I studied Business Statistics at university and received a bachelor’s degree in the field.
Because I wasn’t very good at math when I was 11, my primary school teacher would be shocked that I went to university to study statistics.
I became highly active on social media throughout my time at university, particularly on Twitter, where I amassed over 10,000 followers in less than 15 months. I started getting calls to be a part of campaigns when I had a little over 5000 followers on Twitter and Instagram.
That is how I came to be an Influencer. In late 2018, during my second year of university, I began supporting various online and offline events.
I assisted with social media campaigns and events for various local and international brands and organizations, including the Uganda Tourism Board, Jumia Uganda, the French Embassy, and others. Being part of these events introduced me to the world of digital marketing and the concept of working from anywhere I wanted; that’s when it clicked. I enrolled in Hubspot’s Digital Marketing Certification and became a certified digital marketer a month after graduating from university.
It became evident to me as I gained more knowledge. My greatest strength was social media, which gave me more opportunities to connect with people. As a result, I chose to specialize in social media marketing. I now offer social media coaching and consultations to content creators and small business owners on leveraging social media for brand growth.
Fahad: When did you discover the world of Social Media Marketing? How did you know it was the right thing for you?
Joy: I first learned about social media marketing in 2018, but it wasn’t until 2020 that I began to practice it. That’s when I realized I wanted to work as a social media marketer and help others use social media to promote their businesses. I felt it was the correct decision since I had never imagined working a full-time job. I wanted the flexibility to work from anywhere, giving me time to travel and do things I enjoyed while supporting myself financially.
Fahad: What were the struggles you faced at the start of your journey, and how did you overcome them?
Joy: The cost of the internet is one of my biggest challenges. In Uganda, data packages are expensive, not to mention the slow internet connection. Another issue I’m dealing with is that Facebook is still restricted in Uganda, so I’m forced to rely on VPNs to keep my and my clients’ profiles active.
I’ve had a lot of trouble with self-doubt. Because the online coaching industry isn’t as prominent in Uganda as in other countries, I kept thinking, “Who am I even to establish a website and start giving these kinds of services?” I was afraid of being judged or disregarded for a time, making me almost lose faith in what I believed.
Understanding that I’m still learning and will eventually get where I want to help me deal with self-doubt. I stopped comparing myself to my country’s best marketing professionals, who appeared to have accomplished a lot already. Instead, I concentrated on developing content and providing value to my online audience. My most robust online community is my supportive Instagram community. That has sustained me and taught me a great deal.
I also read a lot about self-development and mindset. This is assisting me in developing attitudes such as patience, gratitude, and self-awareness.
Fahad: You are the host of Find Your Digital Voice – Twitter Space; what’s it about?
Joy: At the beginning of 2022, I started #FindYourDigitalVoice. It’s a series of Twitter spaces where other speakers and I discuss various aspects of digital marketing, online and small business. The primary reason I decided to develop these spaces was that I was getting a lot of queries about different digital marketing courses, opportunities, and careers. People occasionally inquired about the most effective digital marketing methods for their businesses. I decided to organize a session where we would share advice and knowledge about digital marketing and small business. The spaces have been put on hold but will be back in July.
Fahad: How powerful do you think the Creator Community has become over the years?
Joy: The creator community is stronger than ever, and it will get stronger. There isn’t a single campaign that can plan nowadays without including content creators. Working with creators has the advantage that they already know what to do and have a relevant audience to target with your message. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 50 million people worldwide will consider themselves creators in the near future, confirming the creator economy’s huge potential.
Fahad: As an expert Social Media marketer, what would be your advice for new businesses just starting?
Joy: For new businesses just getting started on social media, remember that social media is made up of people, so communicate as you would in real life. Use language that is straightforward and has emotion.
Identify your target audience and generate high-quality content that appeals to them. To find out what content your target audience wants, use platforms like Answer the Public, Reddit, and Quora to search for terms relating to your brand and discover what questions people are asking in your field.
Fahad: In your professional opinion, what key factors can businesses leverage for Social Media? How important is personal branding for business on Social Media?
Joy: Businesses can use social media to raise brand awareness, gain trust from potential customers, and generate leads that can turn into paying customers.
Personal branding is essential for small business owners because it gives the company a face. It makes your business stand out since you interact with your audience regularly and share valuable information with them.
When a customer learns who’s behind a business, they learn to trust it more. Take the Vayner companies, Think media, and NP Digital, for example; they’ve been hugely successful due to our knowledge of Gary Vaynerchuck, Sean Cannell, and Neil Patel. These three individuals are the best examples of the value of personal branding for the business.
Fahad: Who is your inspiration, both personally and professionally?
Joy: My mother is my inspiration. She never gave up, even on the most challenging days. She continued praying and hoping for better days ahead. Dressing her in my grad gown the night before my graduation day made me very happy. I am who I am today because of her.
My professional role models are Vanessa Lau, Oumnia Boulam, and Catherine Cassey. They’re all ladies I admire and look up to as creators and business owners.
Fahad: Stepping aside from work, how do you spend your free time? Any particular activity that will fascinate our audience?
Joy: The majority of my free time is spent watching Netflix shows. It’s an excellent way for me to unwind after a long day at work. I love movies, and I’m a great Marvel fan eagerly waiting for Thor: Love and Thunder.
I recently watched Top Gun: Maverick, which you should also see. It comes highly recommended by me.
I also enjoy dancing, traveling, and studying my Bible. These are the activities that I do the most in my spare time.
Fahad: Now it’s time for our rapid-fire round.
Rapid Fire Round
|Your favorite social media platform?||I can’t choose, but I use Instagram and Twitter the most, so these two wins.|
|Tea or Coffee?||Tea. I love tea. I have four flavors; English Tea, Hibiscus, Cinnamon, and Chamomile.|
|Social media or Social Networking?||Social Networking|
|Your favorite travel destination?||Greece|
And that’s a wrap-up! We are thankful to Joy Akatukunda for her precious time and for sharing her detailed social media marketing journey with our champ audience.