The Mondays on the Ugandan twitter scope are always busy and filled with the hashtag “#UOTMARKETDAY”. Where several small business owners and big too talk about their business and the product and end with the hashtag #UOTMARKETDAY. Infact this hashtag is so popular that when someone wants to buy a specific item, all they have to do is type in the #UOTMARKETDAY and browse through the different business and maybe they find the item they are looking for. But who is behind the start of this moving hashtag.
I present to you, Patience Ahumuza also known as Pesh Ahumuza is a 25 year old feminist, digital communications consultant and social media influencer, the lady behind the #UOTMARKETDAY. A hashtag and now a platform that is now on Facebook too, that gives chance to small business owners to advertise their products / service.
Patience Ahumuza who like many other youths on this platform has risen above the latter and is using social media to make their mark and to earn some money. Patience Ahumuza shares the journey of the hashtag.
QN; what is UOT market place?
ANS; UOT Marketplace is a platform I created after realizing that #UOTMarketDay needed to grow on its own to support small businesses in Uganda. It helps online small businesses tap into a bigger market. Business owners post their products using the hashtag which I retweet using my personal account, Pesh Ahumuza and the UOT Marketplace account. I also have some influencers who help me. They are; Siima, Jude, Faith, Miranda, Moses, Hire the Youth, Safina and Sharon. One retweet can get you a client so we are supporting small businesses, one retweet at a time.
QN; What inspired you to start this hashtag?
ANS; I started my business, Escentials, in September 2020 and so many people supported me. So many people have supported my previous campaigns so I decided to do a hashtag that would help me keep track of their businesses and support them. I reached out to a ‘tweep’ called Esther Birungi to jump on the campaign seeing that she had done it a couple of times, she agreed and I ran with it.
QN; How have you grown and interacted with the community on twitter?
ANS; UOT Marketplace has a business partner now, Teesa Advisory, and we have some plans for small businesses. We have influencers who occasionally support the campaign. They agreed to do pro-bono work to support small businesses especially in the lockdowns because businesses were struggling. I look forward to partnerships and making money to be able to pay these influencers because they are doing a good job.
QN; which social media channels are the most effective and why?
ANS; Different social media platforms have different strengths. As a business owner, Twitter worked for me and I believe it is because of my influence on the platform. Instagram is very important for small businesses with products like clothes, jewelry, shoes, food etc. Facebook is amazing especially if you tap into groups because that is where the crowds are and a small business can’t afford ads that actually get you the numbers. The trick is in understanding the different tools on these platforms for example Instagram is currently pushing reels, use them. Look for the trending reel songs and add them to your photos if you don’t have good videos and you will see a change in the engagement. Twitter is a platform for conversations so tap into those conversations relevant to your business.
QN; what do you love about working on social media?
ANS; The connections you make! I have gotten to places I would probably have never gotten to as a teacher in Uganda. Also, social media tools keep changing and getting better, I love a good challenge so learning new things every day keeps me glued to social media.
QN; what intrigues you about marketing?
ANS; The creativity! Seeing a brand “effortlessly” capture people’s attention is really exciting.
QN; How would you describe the business and social media landscape in Uganda?
ANS; Many business owners haven’t grasped the importance of social media. The pandemic pushed many of them online but they don’t know how to use the different platforms so we have a lot of work to do in terms of educating business owners about social media marketing.
QN; How have you navigated the marketing sector and your hash tag during covid – 19?
ANS; Researching. Learning. Trying new things. As a small business owner, I have found it easy to jump on new trends, try new things even when they fail, no one is going to write about how my instagram campaign flopped. So when I see something that I like, I give it a shot. If it fails, that’s a lesson learnt. If it works then that’s a bag secured. Partnerships have also helped me a lot. They help you tap into different audiences and make connections.
QN; what are the challenges that you have faced as you carried out your work?
ANS; as an influencer and social media manager, people don’t pay. Some clients want you to deliver heaven on their doorstep then take you through hell before paying…that is if they pay at all. You have to be shrewd to get paid which is completely ridiculous because I keep my end of the bargain.
QN; what are the major 3 things have you learnt in this industry?
• Google and YouTube are your friends. If you don’t understand something, search it on Google or YouTube and I am sure that you will find answers.
• Networking is very important. Engage with people online and offline. This will get you connections which will support your business.
• The industry is very dynamic. Read about new tools. Benchmark and research businesses like yours especially those that have grown. You will learn something from them.
Follow Pesh Ahumuza on Twitter- twitter.com/PeshAhumuza/
Follow the uotmarketplace account – twitter.com/uotmarketplace/
on facebook – https://t.co/GSXw2haLGz?amp=1
MIRRORED BY FERRISTER MIREMBE
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