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Building A Digital Marketing Career: The Story Of Elie Ndisanze


Building A Digital Marketing Career: The Story Of Elie Ndisanze

Many millennials are pursuing careers which were once regarded as “unconventional” rather than following the traditional route. Millennials are exploring opportunities and in-demand careers in the digital, beauty, lifestyle, e-commerce, creative space. These industries present various opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to make use of their relevant skillset.

One of the areas which is expanding and providing career opportunities for millennials is the digital media space. Digital media has become a prerequisite for enhancing company growth and increasing brand awareness. To gain a competitive edge as a business owner, you need to incorporate digital marketing into your business strategy.

For thirty-one-year-old Elie Ndisanze, building a career in digital media marketing happened by chance. What started as a fun project has grown into a career in Digital Marketing with expertise in social media management, blogging, content writing, and graphic designing.

Originally from Musezero, a remote village in Gasabo District in the capital city of Kigali.

After completing his high school education at Lycee de Ruhangeri APICUR. He gained admission to the Kigali Independent University to pursue a degree in Computer Science.

It was during this period Elie developed an interest in Digital Marketing and Social Media Management and eventually got the opportunity to work with Media General as a Social Media Manager in his final year. Though this posed some challenges as he had to combine school and work, he was able to develop his skill in digital media and social media management and has worked for various personalities, small businesses and organizations like Eguriro Devices Ltd, Kigali Phone Centre, musicians like Mani Martin, Lucky Mannzeyimana, Usengimana Faustin (footballer) among others.

Currently, Elie Nndisanze works as the Social Media Manager for various musician, celebrities and oversees content strategy, sourcing, publishing and distribution of content, and engaging with the audience. He also ensures social media policies are adhered to within his organisation.

As a digital marketer, Ndisanze helps brands and individuals gain online presence by creating content that increases visibility and generates sales through relevant platforms. He also blogs at  www. ndisanze .com where he shares the resilience and stories of individuals who are pushing boundaries. Ndisanze shared his journey as a Digital Marketer on the Millennial’s Corner.

At what point did you decide to build a career in digital marketing?

After my graduation, I was working at Kigali Phone Services. During that period, I provided freelance digital marketing services which helped me stay afloat. That was when I decided to give it a shot.

Were there any hesitations/setbacks that initially discouraged you from pursuing your dream?

My close associates didn’t really see the relevance of always being on social media. The profession was not really recognized then so they were worried for me. At a point, it affected my social life because I was spending more time online looking for content or creating content.

What are some of the challenges you have encountered in your career so far? How did you handle those difficulties?

Initially, people were not ready to pay for posts. They expect you to ‘just’ post their promotions. Those who were willing to pay didn’t pay enough. I did a lot of pro bono but with time, I was able to charge properly for my services.

How did you get your first job?

I did my internship at Kigali Phone Services after which the PA of my boss recommended me for a social media role which was available then. I was given the job and I had to combine my studies with work.

Why did you decide to share people’s success stories on LinkedIn? What is the feedback so far?

Social Media is mostly full of negativity. Entertainment news is also too much. I decided to bring some positivity to the platforms by sharing success stories. I include all the challenges and successes in the stories I post to show people that the journey to success is a process. The feedback has been great. My posts end up getting lots of engagement and that is how I got known on LinkedIn.

What are the relevant skills needed to pursue a career in digital marketing?

You need to be interested in social media, content creation, blogging and writing. Graphic designing is also a relevant skill in pursuing a digital marketing career.

How have you been able to pivot your business amidst COVID-19?

I have been working from home since COVID-19 started. I have also had the opportunity to work with more clients because people are beginning to realize the importance of digital marketing and the solutions it provides as the world moves to a virtual space. I am able to work from anywhere so far as I have a laptop, phone and reliable internet.

What are three major lessons you have learnt in your career?

You need to be trustworthy. You will have access to clients’ private information. They need to be able to entrust these details with you without fearing any form of compromise.

Being passionate about what you do is what will set you apart from others.

Be exceptional at what you do. People are watching so it is important to go beyond their expectations of people.

The digital media industry is one of the fastest-growing industries. What do you think brands and individuals can do to position themselves to stay relevant and gain a competitive edge?

Signing up for social media accounts is free. Brands need to make use of all the relevant platforms to increase visibility and generate sales.

How can brands and individuals position themselves to unlock opportunities in this industry? 

Being consistent ensures that the algorithm of social media platforms favor you. Posting often and being visible will help you get various opportunities.

What is the future of digital marketing? Do you think digital marketing will totally replace traditional marketing practices?

The world is moving towards a more digital economy. As the world advances, it is important for brands to intensify their digital marketing efforts and adopt strategies that will help them stay in business.

Any advice for other young people who want to pursue a digital marketing career?

You need to be willing to offer free services for people to see what you offer. It is also necessary to learn about the dynamics of digital marketing, market trends etc. What you know now might change the next minute. Invest in developing your skills and expertise. It will definitely give you access to opportunities.

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