By Koketso Mamabolo
Lebo Lion’s key motivator is the “why” of everything. She wants to understand the “why” so she can chart the path forward. “I believe this is what has catapulted my speaking career and put me on international stages, boardrooms and classrooms – teaching leaders, entrepreneurs and students how they can use marketing, technology and design thinking to create a world that they love.”
For Lebo, anyone who knew her during her formative years would not have seen her disruptive streak coming. “I believe I am a disruptor because I’ve always been inquisitive about how people behave, how the world works, and curious about where it merges to create our reality.”
This curiosity and willingness to go against the grain has brought Lebo wonderful success, including a podcast (The Lebo Lion Show) in the iTunes top 100, a first for a South African woman in the business category and self-published book, Audacity, to go along with her business ventures.
“I have since used my curiosity to build successful digital assets, cutting edge marketing campaigns and innovative strategies housed under my personal brand, Lebo Lion, and Beople SA.”
We ask Lebo about her advice on building online communities, the major mistakes brands make with their social media strategies, and more.
What are the major mistakes brands make with their social media strategies?
The major mistake that brands make with their social media strategy is comparing social media to traditional media platforms. Treating social media as if it were television, raido, or a billboard limits the value that can be extracted from social media. Social media gives brands 24/7 access to prospective customers and audiences. A brand has the opportunity to seamlessly weave their story into the online viewing experience of the customer. These and many other elements are what makes social media unique and extremely powerful. Another mistake that brands make is choosing influencers in the same manner that they would choose mainstream celebrities. Conversion online is largely based on relevance and the relationship that the influencer has with their community. Some influencers can give you visibility, others can give you sales etc. Celebrity-to-brand marketing has deeper dynamics than those of influencer-to-brand.
Please could you share some of the keys to building an online community
Building an online community is all about service and adding value. How is your offering of service to others and how does it add value to your audience’s lives?. Often people think that social media growth is all about popularity, but the true value of a successful social media presence is about relevance. When you create content that is relevant to a community’s needs it will strengthen your online brand sentiment and build you a tribe of loyal followers who will easily convert into paying, returning customers.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
While this may not be a popular answer, my greatest challenges in building a tech-centric career are two items: Living on the African continent & Being a woman. I believe that entrepreneurs are people who see opportunities in challenging situations, circumstances, and environments. While I cannot change that I was born a black woman on the African continent (nor would I want to) it is important to tell the story of how being born a black woman on a poor continent means that you have a myriad of structural and socio-economic barriers to success. In the same breath, starting at the bottom of the ladder gives one a 360 degree view of the world & peoples character. If you are enterprising you will use the fact that people don’t see you as a tool to influence people (through observing them & catering to their needs) and as a strategic tool to make you someone who can create relevant, impactful, and pioneering solutions to the industries that you want to lead. The potential & opportunities on the African continent are abundant, and black women have the privilege of managing households, leading communities, and nurturing generations. We have the tools that are necessary to make this continent great for people like us.
Advertising in a digital magazine brings you recognition and exposure:
What kind of mindset does one need to be successful in business?
You need to be resilient, determined, creative and have the faith of a crazy scientist. Where most people see a wall, an entrepreneur sees a vibrant oasis. As the person who imagines a new world before others see it, you need to be comfortable with believing in your ideas, skills, and solutions before anyone else does. Without an almost unreasonable sense of self-belief, you won’t make it.
How do you translate what’s happening in the world into a digital medium?
Content is the most powerful tool one can use to communicate their stances, values, and ideas to the online space. You (as the creator) need to choose a content medium that best fits your skills and abilities. I use speaking as my strongest method of communicating, because I am a seasoned orator. Using video (Youtube) and podcasting has helped me move my brand & ideas onto the online space in a seamless and enjoyable manner.
What trends have you noticed in social media and how can businesses adapt?
Audio is the biggest trend of 2022. As people seek a holistic sensory experience online, they are gravitating towards audio to complete the meaning of their content. Whether its song sound clips, sound effects etc. Social media companies are using audio as a main search engine tool and a visibility driver.
The second trend is using video. If a brand wants to win in 2022 they need to have interactive and engaging video content as part of their social media strategy. VIdeo allows brands to tell a more meaningful story and show how they are aligned to the culture of the community they serve.
What made you choose podcasts as a medium?
Strategy. I’ve always wanted to reach people through the media. I had tried my hand at journalism, then started auditioning for radio segments on different stations. While working in radio, I realised that there were certain aspects of the medium that didn’t accommodate the style of content that I wanted to produce, which is what led me to the birth of The Lebo Lion Show. The Lebo Lion Show is the biggest marketing and entrepreneurship podcast in Africa, where we share business tools that have helped over 1 000 business owners transform their businesses and share the stories of pioneering African entrepreneurs, creators, and professionals who are breaking boundaries in their respective industries. We have sat down with disruptors like Theo Baloyi, Sylvester Chauke, NIcolette Mashile, Mbali Sebapu, Amanda Dambuza, and Hetty The Entrepreneur, to name a few.