Marvin Tumbo is C.E.O of Socialight Media Kenya, Digital Strategist, Social Media practitioner, Entrepreneur, Blogger and a writer. We interviewed this entrepreneur to get insight on how he started his social media company and how he has used social media to get ahead in his company and personal life.
gachigi.com: Tell us a little about who you are and what made you start Socialight Media?
Marvin Tumbo: My names are Marvin Tumbo, C.E.O of Socialight Media Ltd, a firm that specializes in providing social/new media solutions to businesses and organizations in Kenya and the region. I started Socialight Media because I saw an opportunity in the market that no one in the market at the time was keen on. Social Media use within organizations was just taking off at a global scale and I decided that I would seek to be the pioneer locally and possibly in the region as well.
gachigi.com: Who are the target markets for social marketing programmes?
Marvin Tumbo: This is an important question to address before looking at social media as a marketing platform. The question we always ask at Socialight Media is, who is your target audience. Then it is out duty to tell you whether your audience can be reached through social media or not. So to answer the question, the target market for social media anywhere in the world are people with access to the Internet either through their phones or on computers, who have a presence on social networks, who network online etc. And that by it’s very definition is a very large percentage of our working population.
gachigi.com: What insights do you have for companies or individuals at companies on managing time and being efficient with social participation?
Marvin Tumbo: Social Media Management is where most companies get it wrong. Some have employees wasting hours in the name of social media marketing while others ban social media in the office as a remedy but then miss out on the immense marketing potential for social media. This is where the various methods for organizing for social media comes in. This organization defines who in the organization is responsible for your social media engagement be it a person, a department, or individuals drawn from various departments. A social media policy that also defines how people engage in social media is important so that people do not waste time on social networks chatting instead of working. The extremes never work, it is about finding a middle ground.
gachigi.com: How would you make a business case for social media marketing/SMO?
Marvin Tumbo: Most people spend a majority of their time online on social media sites. Social Media is today rivaling email as a means of communication. It is word of mouth on steroids because of its capacity to scale. But more importantly is that whether you have a presence or not, people are talking; and they are talking about your industry, your company, and your competitors. So the question is, would you rather be there to listen, respond, direct, engage, convert, and win loyalty? More and more businesses are realizing this from global multinationals to small enterprises and hence the spike in allocation of marketing budgets to social media initiatives within organizations.
gachigi.com: Can you share an example of how you’ve successfully employed a social media effort (large scale or a specific tactic) and how you measured success? (marketing, ORM, branding, etc) URLs to examples are very much appreciated.
Marvin Tumbo: The example I love to give is about Socialight Media itself. At the onset, our first mandate was to get found online, to get recognized as an authority in social media, and to rank first for terms related to our our industry. We identified the terms we wanted to be found with when people Googled and “Social Media in Kenya” was top of the list. Instead of puttting up Google adwords, we made a conscious decision in order to prove to would be clients that our social media strategies will actually work, we will need to use the same social media channels and not paid ads. So began our blogging, using the right keywords, meta tags and meta descriptions, using analytics to check where majority of our traffic was coming from in order to inform our next actions, establishing ourselves as authorities etc. And we are happy to say that for the better part of the last 2 years, we have been ranking 1st for “Social Media in Kenya” among other search terms.
gachigi.com: Who or what are your top resources for social media and online marketing information?
Marvin Tumbo: There are a number of resources (blogs and books) we use for social media but on top of the list are these great acquaintances of mine, Jeremiah Oywang, Shel Israel, John Moore, and Kaiser Kuo. But there are also Brian Solis, Jason Falls, Chris Brogan, Tamar Weinberg, Avinash Kaushik and many more. Staying on top of social media entails reading widely and deep. Twitter as well very is a great resource. I follow many influencers in the social media scene and every day, I learn something new from their tweets.
gachigi.com: What is one of the biggest myths you’re seeing perpetuated about marketing on the web? About social media?
Marvin Tumbo: That anyone can do it. Most companies, some of which have received our proposal and thought they could do this themselves, have gone ahead to try and run these social media initiatives and what we are seeing that most are falling flat on their heads in the implementation process. The myth that social media is about technology is what continues to be perpetuated. Social Media is 80% strategy and 20% technology. The strategies employed have a lot to do with understanding sociology: how people relate, what makes people behave the way that they do, what do you do to evoke a certain type of response etc? But the thought that Technology matters more is the reason most companies are having problems when it comes to implementation because they do not know what content to put up when, who to target, how to handle criticism online etc.
gachigi.com: Do you outsource any social media work and if so, do you have tips for company social media marketers regarding finding and managing consultants?
Marvin Tumbo: No we do not. We have capacity to handle the work because we are a social media firm after-all. However, we are approached as consultants on social media for companies when they want their employees or managerial team to be trained on social media, on their events, or even in crafting social media strategies for them. Some prefer us to develop and implement social media strategies so that they can focus on their core work. Our advise in terms of finding consultants is to look at the work they have done especially in even marketing themselves. Are they regarded by their peers as social media authorities in the field? Are they versatile in their use of social media for their own companies? What work have they done before? To manage consultants, I would advice that you both define the success metrics for the social media initiative that you will measure against on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This will involve basic minimums that should be done in terms of number of blogs, tweets, updates, Videos, podcasts, etc as well as targets in terms of sales, traffic, followership, fan base, engagement etc. Managing social media consultants is about ensuring Return on Investment. What returns would like to see on the Investment you are putting in?
gachigi.com: Please share a few tips on how companies can decide where to start on the social web:
Marvin Tumbo: Listening is always the first step? Searching on both the web and the social web on what people are saying about you, about your industry, and about your competitors is always the first stop in your social media initiative. Listening enables you to know who is talking, where they are talking, what they are saying, when they said it etc and this already tells you where to start in terms of platforms where people are talking, influencers in your industry in these platforms, whether you need to respond based on what people are saying etc. Listening is the first and most crucial step in any social media engagement.
gachigi.com: What are your thoughts on the future of the social web in 2-3 years?
Marvin Tumbo: Social Media has come a long way in the past 2 years and in the next three years, it will be a prominent portion of marketing budget for organizations, both large and small. Internet cost are on the decrease and as more Kenyans make their way online, social media where they will be spending a lot of their time online will become even more important a channel for companies to run their marketing activities.
gachigi.com: Why is a social marketing approach relevant and necessary in today’s environment?
Marvin Tumbo: Social Media is word of mouth online and we all know that word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. Before we buy anything, we used to ask our family and friends who had bought it before to advice; now, through social media, we ask the world! And you want the world to say your product or service is the best. Word of Mouth has never been more powerful with the advent of social media.
gachigi.com: How do you stay current and informed?
Marvin Tumbo: I have subscribed to the leading social media blogs and I follow influencers from my industry, from across industries and across the world on Twitter. And as they say, news no longer breaks, it tweets. This keeps me on top of everything that is happening in the world.
gachigi.com: What question should I be asking you? (And the answer of course)
Marvin Tumbo: This is the best question I have ever been asked in an Interview?
Q: Who should be driving social media within an organization?
A: It is always important to see whether you have someone in-house who has a passion for the social web. This is someone who already understands your products or services and their love for social media and communication complements this comprehension of the workings of your organization, it products and services.
In the absence of such a person in house, do not hire anyone purely on the basis of understanding social media technology. Social Media is not an end it itself but rather is complemented by great content authored by someone who understand the industry, the product or services, and who can hold his/her own in online engagements on the matter. Hire someone who understands your industry as much as they understand social media because they are the face of the organization to the social world and when they fail, you fail. If such a person is not available, hire someone with a passion for the job and who shows willingness to learn.
Based on how big your organization is, you can have someone from all departments of your organization in the social media team so that they can handle questions or issues that would otherwise be directed to their department.
Thank Marvin for being accommodating during this interview. If you have any question on the interview or you’d like to be interviewed leave us a comment here.
Marvin is available on these social media:
Twitter : @marvintumbo
Global Peace Connect: MarvinTumbo