Social media is full of noise makers.
There are ‘preachers’ who harass you into typing ‘amen’ to get ‘the blessing’, there are ‘Kardashians’ who flaunt their latest curves, clothes and cars, there are ‘political pundits’ who will ‘die’ for Jonathan and others who campaign for Buhari (as if He is still running for President). Then we have ‘road side hawkers’ who try to sell you things you either don’t like or see no need for.
In the midst of all the noise, they are a select few making a killing online. Let’s call them ‘mavericks’. Of course, the bad elements exist (and will continue to) but this does not discount the fact that several thousands of honest mavericks promote their businesses and make real income via the internet with ideas ranging from shocking to simple to spectacular.
Ready to cash in? Here is your 6-step guide to stop making noise and start making money:
- FIND A PROBLEM TO SOLVE:
There are so many problems in the world that it is practically impossible for anyone not to be affected by any. Entrepreneurs see these problems as challenges and they proffer solutions. Making money is first about making meaning. If all you set out to do is to make money and not actually solve problems and make the world a better place, you just shot yourself in the foot. Someone noticed ladies were going through stress stretching their slender arms and turning their phone around to capture the perfect selfie and bingo: the selfie stick was invented. Today, Power supply is still erratic in Nigeria, the educational system is still broken, MTN & co still send us annoying text messages (and make questionable deductions), most businesses are still offline, and the list is endless. One man’s pain is another man’s profit.
2. FIND A CREATIVE SOLUTION:
Just like the selfie example, everyone loves a clever solution. I used to hate laundry until I started using a washing machine. Emails used to be boring and time-wasting until Gmail came along, getting jobs used to be herculean until Jobberman came along. Creative solutions attract free PR and free PR means more sales. Every single time you come up with a solution that actually takes away your pain in a particular area or the pain of a group of people, the next step is to find your own audience.
3. FIND THE PEOPLE MOST AFFECTED:
Plenty entrepreneurs struggle here. I can relate with this because I know what it feels like to package a ‘life-changing, game changing training’ only to see 10 people show up. If you are talking to the wrong audience, you will most likely get a lukewarm response. To succeed in your business, you have to track down the people most affected. They are desperate for a solution, they are praying for a solution and when you reach them, you are their answered prayer. For instance, instead of trying to sell sweaters/pull-overs to folks in Ibadan (with a cool weather) why not target Jos (with a very cold weather)? The ultimate question is, even if you find them, how will they find you?
4. CREATE AN IRRESISTIBLE MESSAGE:
Not everyone is good at writing rhymes or crafting persuasive content, that much is a fact. However, there are countless advertising agencies and start-ups that can help you craft your message. Even if you can’t afford them, why not make your message meaningful and memorable? A smart slogan (e.g ‘Epower empowers’ for training, ‘on time, every time’ for delivery service, ‘your pane is our passion’ for window cleaning service, ‘think different’ for an IT company e.t.c) goes a very long way in making your message stick. A unique logo is also very key in making your branding attractive. Brevity is critical in crafting your adverts but never forget that content is king. Try to distill your service into a sentence, focus on the devastating effect of the problem you’re solving and the exceptional benefits of your solution in few sentences. If your message does not resonate, your product will not detonate.
5. USE LEVERAGE:
Merriam-Webster defines ‘leverage’ as influence or power used to achieve a desired result. Albert Einstein gave a textbook definition of insanity when He said ‘doing the same things the same way and expecting a different result is the beginning of insanity’. You don’t just need change, you need leverage, and today, the best leverage is the internet. Facebook has over a billion users and 15 million Nigerians are on Facebook, why not trying advertising on Facebook? The beautiful thing about social media marketing is that you can start small and tweak as you grow. You can also target your audience (e.g job seekers between the ages of 18-40 who live in Kaduna). Do you know that $5 is all you need to start? Open a facebook page for your business, engage twitter and instagram. Create an online presence for your brand. You can leave radio and TV for later. The most important thing is to get started. Having a solid website is non-negotiable, hiring a talented graphics design agency or designer is non-negotiable. How can you have such a creative solution and not bless the world with it?
6. Repeat 1-5
After you have found a problem to solve, and you implement a creative solution, you did the difficult by finding the people most affected and you did the slick by crafting an irresistible message. Bravo! The next step is to go back on each of the 5 steps and make adjustments based on the real-time feedback you get from your customers. Hey, nobody said this was going to be easy, but in the end, you’ll look back with a grin like the maverick that you are and realize it was totally worth it.