In the O-Biz of side gigs

O-Biz founder Isabella Marinovich helps students turn their social media skills into paying gigs...
O-Biz founder Isabella Marinovich helps students turn their social media skills into paying gigs.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Startup Dunedin’s Audacious programme highlights University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students who are brimming with innovative business ideas. This week in the series, reporter Simon Henderson scrolls through popular social media app TikTok to discover a Dunedin student navigating digital marketing. 

O-Biz founder Isabella Marinovich, of Dunedin, helps students find a side hustle that is less about pulling pints, and more about getting likes.

While in her second year as a University of Otago nutrition and marketing student, Miss Marinovich ‘‘sort of fell into’’ working as a social media manager, helping clients post compelling content on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

‘‘I wanted to have a job while I was studying, as most students do.’’

She realised being a social media manager was a role well suited to students.

‘‘It is online; you can do it in the library; you can do it at 10 o’clock at night.’’

It could be flexibly managed around study, was fun and creative, and built useful skills.

In February this year, she decided to explore posting videos to social media platform TikTok.

‘‘TikTok has been a growing, interesting platform recently.’’

Videos on TikTok were generally short, 15 seconds to one minute long, and often had an entertaining edge, from dance moves to lip-synched comedy, she said.

She began putting up videos with titles including ‘‘why you should be a social media manager’’ and ‘‘want to know the best side hustle for students?’’

In a short period the number of video views went from hundreds to thousands, and even tens of thousands.

Only two weeks after launching on TikTok one of her videos was viewed more than 400,000 times.

‘‘I was astounded, I guess, by the amount of people that were interested in it.’’

Now she has more than 18,000 followers tuning in to see her simple but useful social media tips.

Having just completed a bachelor of nutrition and a diploma for graduates in marketing, she was focusing on developing her business, not only working as a social media manager for a range of clients but also continuing her TikTok videos, Miss Marinovich said.

While continuing to provide free basic tips, she was also collecting a database of users she would be able to offer a monthly subscription to for accessing more comprehensive training.

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