In February 2019, I had the inspiration to try my hand at E-Commerce, so I set up a partnership with an alumni friend with whom I had previously started an organization.
She lives in Melbourne with a 9 to 10-hour time-difference but somehow we managed the odd communication hours and worked together on the project.
We used Facebook marketing and video content marketing to promote products for over nine Australian and American beauty and fashion companies on the blog. The only major error was that the niche we chose was very narrow and as a result we have had to go back to the drawing board to re-design the entire platform.
The plan being to expand our offerings and be able to sell fast-moving consumer goods rather than items that had slowed in sales due to COVID 19.
However, that practical online business gave me the much-needed opportunity to practice many of the blogging, video, Facebook and other Social Media skills I had been learning for years.
I started using the Internet in 1995 when Netscape and Women’s Wire (later ivillage.com and now today.com) were the only online portals I could name. I had been given an email address by my university and I had to learn how to send my coursework via email to my lecturers and send emails to other students.
Yahoo! came later and they were the stars then. Apart from that no one really saw any buzz or boom coming online. That’s until more companies like Lastminute.com came along and raked in over 700 million pounds sterling in a single day on the London Stock Exchange. The Dot.com era had arrived.
And Nigeria was yet to have GSM.
I returned to Nigeria with my GSM phone and dropped it as a church offering after holding it for some months. GSM arrived in May that year (2001), courtesy of MTN.
In 2010, I bought my first Internet marketing course for N36,000 (about $220 at the time) and by the time I got home to implement the ideas, the information was at least 40% obsolete.
So much had changed on the online tools they were teaching that I could not make head or tail of it, especially as a complete newbie.
In 2014, I was selected by the United States Embassy to attend a one-week website and graphics design course for young Nigerians that was designed and facilitated by Erica Bonner, a daughter of one of the diplomats.
We learnt HTML/CSS during that week but after spending four hours to write code for just one page of a website, I decided they had to be an easier way to skin this cat.
So I started exploring other ways to build a website and six years later, I have worked on over a dozen website projects for myself and various clients.
This number would have been considerably higher if website design was a service that I promoted for my company. But due to my business advisory services workload, I had not promoted it until now.
I also attended an expensive one-day learning opportunity on Digital Marketing in Ikoyi. They gave me a truckload of information, complicated PDFs, and Excel sheets. Needless to say, I left more overwhelmed and confused than ever before.
But I wasn’t surprised having attended countless courses in Nigeria and compared it with what trainings are like in the so-called Western world. In Nigeria, we seem to believe that overwhelming people with information justifies the money we collected from them.
There are some exceptions like Henry Agbebire’s Business Writing course and the Graphics Design course I once took at the Pan African University’s SMC. Those facilitators really wanted you to learn something.
We need to understand the importance of implementation, evaluation and measuring. We also need to understand the importance of adaptation.
There is a desperate need right now to switch from learning to get a job, a certificate or some prize to learning to invent and innovate. And I speak mildly when I say that this need is desperate.
Luckily for me, I did not give up on the steep learning process. I kept on searching, paying for courses, and buying truckloads of data.
Sleeping at 12-midnight is too early. There is never enough time in my online life.
Today, I have finally gotten to the point where I am in the process of mastering viral content specializations, employing learning styles, studying automation and even AI-based tools.
I have been able to learn enough to finally design a more definite focus for my personal capacity-building investments. I have also learnt enough to realize that I need to start sharing my knowledge and my experience with others.
I have been a training facilitator since 2003, starting at Covenant University, where I worked in the Media Department. However, I have only spoken on digital media skills on radio and in live training sessions for marketers who attend my Digital Elegance or Real Deal events.
Have I sold things online before?
Yes, I have. I have sold bridal products, cosmetics, fashion accessories and clothes online.
I have sold services online.
I have sold training programs and events online.
I have exported my services to over 35 central European, Australian, Brazilian and USA companies since 2010.
I have even had 14 Central European companies, 1 USA company, and 1 Brazilian company visit Nigeria as a result of my service export activities. Visit our activities gallery.
That’s why I promote Borderless Icons on our blog and I post information to expire you to think service export. The richest countries and people in the world export their services. So can you.
Being able to establish a targeted online presence can yield good dividends. However, one important lesson I have learnt over the years is that you need to find someone to guide you so that you do not waste precious time re-inventing wheels and learning useless, obsolete ideas.
The online space changes every day so staying abreast of information is key to your success.
Are you missing anything by not jumping online right now?
What would you gain by taking your online presence more seriously?
What’s so special about having a Facebook Business Page?
Here are a few statistics to think of:
· Worldwide, there are over 2.6 billion monthly active Facebook users (MAUs) in 2020.
· 3.2 billion likes and comments generated daily in 2020
· There are 1.74 billion mobile active users (MAU) in 2020
· Facebook users are 44% female and 56% male in 2020.
· Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 4 pm in 2020.
· Media researchers find the best posting times for media companies on Facebook are Tuesday at 5 pm and Friday from 8–9 am. Other reasonable times are Wednesday from 8–9 am, and 5 pm, and Thursday at 5 pm in 2020.
· 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up in 2020.
· 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business in 2020.
· 65 million Local business pages have been created as of 2017.
According to the Technext report, 169.2 million Nigerians have mobile (phone) connections. This represents 83% penetration of the total population of 203.6 million people. 50% of the population live in urban areas.
In 2020, Nigeria had 99.05 million internet users according to Statista. This figure is projected to grow to 131.7 million internet users in 2023. The internet penetration amounted to 46.6 percent of the population in 2020 and is set to reach 65.2 percent in 2025.
Social Media platforms are powerful tools for transformation. We can make it work for our good instead of just for gossip and rumour mongering.
As of December 2019, an estimated 27 million Nigerians were Facebook subscribers. In 2000, only 200,000 Nigerians had access to Internet use. Mostly Cybercafes am sure. (Internet World Statistics).
I would like to promote the use of digital media for business expansion among more business owners, millions of business owners are oblivious to the power of Social Media.
Our radio and podcast programme, DigiClub, is meant to give inspiration to business owners regarding the power of the Internet and how it can help in product and business development.
To this end, I am inviting you to visit our DigiClub page and take advantage of our Up Your Online Power series of learning programmes.
Below are the two programmes we have available at the moment.