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Digital Marketing

Here we are! With Megan Hollis.

We are excited to introduce Megan Hollis, our fourth guest in the “Here we are!” series. Megan is the Digital Marketer for the V&A Waterfront by day and a YouTuber by night.

Passionate about Digital Strategy, innovation, tech and eLearning, she started D.O. Digital Academy in 2018, with the aim to empower individuals and businesses with up to the minute digital marketing training. 

Her YouTube videos include gems like ‘How to make money online,’ ‘A beginners guide to TikTok,’ and ‘How to use WhatsApp for Business.’

A self-taught entrepreneur, she’s a big believer in striking a work/life balance, surrounding yourself with good people that support and cheer you on, and being vulnerable enough to try.   

Let’s dig into the gold

You’re a digital marketer for a big brand ( V&A ) and YouTuber by night: What’s your trick for finding balance in your day job, night job and everyday life?

I am still working hard to find the balance! I absolutely love what I do in my 9 – 5, so that really does help – but coming home late from a long day of work and then trying to film can be challenging. 

My advice is to organise your day around when you are the most productive. I am very much a morning person, so I prefer filming (and generally being creative) first thing, and then doing more administrative tasks in the afternoons and evenings, rather than the other way around.

I also find that being busy forces you to say no to commitments you aren’t truly passionate about! I used to keep myself busy with a lot of fragmented things, whereas I prefer to keep focused on my long term goals – which I have learnt to do the hard way! 

As women especially I think we are taught to put our own priorities last, which can’t and won’t set you up for success. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so I have learnt to invest in myself and ensure I stay energised which ultimately helps me to better serve others in any case.

What inspired you to start your Youtube channel and your online courses?

When I graduated from my post-graduate marketing diploma, I honestly only wanted one career path, and that was digital marketing. 

I had studied a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and learnt that while communication was 100% where my passion lay, I wanted to pursue something which was cutting edge and ever-changing, which for me was digital marketing and the internet. 

That being said, the rate of change makes digital marketing an industry where you have to accept that you will always be a student! So it can be overwhelming when first starting out, because you are so acutely aware of how much there is to learn. 

As I grew and developed as a twenty-something working at digital agencies in Cape Town, I wanted to better scale what I was learning the hard way – through blood sweat and tears, mostly – and make digital marketing seem a whole lot less daunting than it sometimes was to me.I learnt that to get ahead, it helped to watch YouTube videos about topics relating to the clients or industries I was working on – and marvelled at how clever people were to master topics and then give of their knowledge so freely. I started to ponder how I could do the same. I had no video training at the time, so I decided to start out small on a platform called Teachable, producing mainly written content and templates. However, I soon discovered my love for making videos and decided to pivot to a YouTube channel. It was a really vulnerable place to be at first, putting amateur videos of me in my spare bedroom, teaching digital marketing out to the world – worrying, if people would think “who the heck does this person think she is!”

But to be completely honest, people really respect side hustles now in a post COVID environment – so it has made it easier for me to share and talk about IRL and online! I think because my motive is to help people (and the content is freely available), there is a wonderful sense of support and no shortage of friends, colleagues and family to cheer me on when I am tired or overwhelmed.

Are there any trends that marketers should prepare for and adapt to, whilst navigating the time during the pandemic? 

I think this time has taught us all that we need to learn to be less individualistic in business and more community-minded, to ensure we all get through this difficult time together. 

I have loved watching brands partner over this period, specifically, locally made brands which have banded together to offer discounts, prizes and exclusive deals. It’s well worth reaching out to the people around you and finding synergies and partnerships with individuals and companies who align with your ambitions. In a time where social media is more than ever, a pay to play environment, you need to be wise with how you spend your money and work out how you can achieve a better result by partnering with like-minded brands and doing more tactical, fun rollouts.

Being resourceful can sometimes force us to be more creative, as can observing this whole new world we find ourselves in, and acting on the insights as boldly as we can. So partnerships and collaborations have been a huge trend I have noticed and gotten really excited about. 

Other trends I have picked up on have been the voracious appetite for video (my views doubled in COVID!), live casts and webinars (fantastic for lead generation and engagement), Whatsapp for Business is honestly changing the game for small businesses everywhere and awesome local digital offerings coming to the fore – like Shopstar for eCommerce and Everlytic for email. 

If there was 1 message or word of advice that you would want to share with other digital marketers in South Africa right now, what would that be?

I think it’s to embrace the changing world we find ourselves in. The more we resist that technology is ever-evolving and that we are overwhelmed or scared, the less incredible things we can do with our time. 

The agencies that I see thriving are the ones who take risks – on technology and on their staff. It is not enough to be a “full-service digital agency” anymore – the work which truly excites me is the campaigns which leverage new and exciting technology (think Whatsapp Bots, virtual reality and facial recognition). 

It is not enough to simply roll out social media content and call your digital marketing done. More and more, new platforms and technologies are very accessible and offer freemium models or low tier packages to get started.

I love reading case studies about how brands have tried new and interesting things – and to what effect. You truly never have to feel alone and never forget that there is an all-new gig economy out there! You can find just about every kind of freelancer imaginable – locally I love The Resource Facebook Group and internationally I have found Fiverr is well worth a look. You can find every kind of specialist to help you with your needs and for basically any budget. 

Digital marketing is an iterative process so you have to A/B test, try new things, challenge your perceptions and ask for help! It’s a really liberating time to be in this industry as we can replace “better not” with “why the hell not”. Sometimes having nothing to lose is the best possible position to be in! 

If I hadn’t battled initially in my career to feel confident in digital marketing, I wouldn’t have been inspired to help others with theirs. If my initial learning platform had been wildly successful, I would have never found YouTube. And if other people hadn’t taken risks on me, I would NEVER have such an amazing job and platform to do what I do. 

I have failed many times at many things but I think resilience is my best attribute and I think it serves me well in this ever-evolving landscape – so if I could teach anyone anything it would simply be that you can always find a way to do something, and even better – you can always find someone to help you. 

 

We’re fans! We’re so inspired by her passion in pursuing your dreams and we can’t wait to see more of her YouTube videos.

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