Continued from Part 1
Encomium: In online business, how does money really come? Is it through credit card? Do you need to register for some credit card?
CFA: One of the challenges we have in Nigeria is the fact that the major payment processors do not accept Nigerians, particularly the most popular which is PayPal. PayPal is the world’s biggest online payment service provider and unfortunately for Nigerians it does not accept Nigeria. It is a big challenge that is why you cannot be an effective internet marketer in Nigeria without having PayPal or without having ClickBank. ClickBank also provides services where you can be an affiliate of various kinds of programs, unfortunately Nigerians are exempted. What it simply means is that we are left with the options of other small and relevant payment platforms but not very bad. Personally, I know that Google AdSense payment is usually made by cheque. The cheque is sent to you either by courier services or by regular mail service, depending on what you choose. For courier service, you get to pay yourself but for the other one, they would pay. It is difficult when it comes to payment that is why for international online marketing transactions, it is very difficult to do it internationally. But for the local ones, our payment platforms are improving; inter-switch and online transfers are doing pretty well. And also the MasterCard service has really helped. Right now, Nigerians can actually do more businesses with international organizations and websites and receive. Receiving payment is still a challenge that I can say for sure, it certainly is a challenge.
Encomium: For someone like Linda Ikeji, how does she make money from a blog?
CFA: Linda Ikeji is, first of all a very early bird on the internet, and that is part of what I just said earlier. She came in to the internet very early, when a lot of Nigerians including myself were still oblivious and sleeping about the internet, she was already there. So right now, she has got a presence that nobody can take from her. But you see, a few of her income comes from Google AdSense, but a vast majority of her income comes from local investment and local businesses. And do you know why local businesses are patronizing her? Because she has got traffic, remember what I told you, for your website to earn you must have traffic. Linda has traffic now, that is why it is picking up. Let me also explain this, you see when you go on the internet, you must have a diversified mindset. I’ll give you an example. My own niche is the personal development and the internet marketing niche. It is not a very frenzy niche, for example like entertainment, where people can rave about. So it means that I have to think about other ways of making money. While I also have a good internet presence, I also took the business offline. I started offering special live speaking and training services. You must not think that overnight that your blog can be like that Linda’s blog, but you can start where you are, get creative about it. You will find out a lot of ways, there are a lot of ways that I make money from, my blog and my presence that I don’t need to mention. Do not just think of the online. Yes, there are challenges but you now have to diversify you thinking and get creative and think of other ways of earning money with your blog or your website.
Encomium: The social media for business, is it that promising?
CFA: Yes, social media is critical, in today’s world. I mean you cannot think of doing business in today’s world without thinking of social media. Take for example Facebook. Facebook has over a billion users and 50% of the billion users log in to Facebook at least once a day to check one or two things. What that simply means to you that if Facebook was a country, it will be the 3rd largest country. For instance, I use LinkedIn more than Facebook. And I can tell you for sure that LinkedIn has earned me a lot of money because simply I understood what is called social media optimization. Because LinkedIn has a search engine built in it, I always appear in searches because my account has been optimized for certain keywords that people are searching for within LinkedIn. It has helped me, not just locally, but also with international connections. I recommend social media for every entrepreneur, every business personnel, and even every employer-employee who is forward looking. You need to take social media very seriously.
Encomium: What is our social media call address, your Twitter or Facebook accounts?
CFA: Well, a lot of people do not know some secrets of success in social media. One of the secrets for success in social media, for example in my case, I use CFAgbata as my username. CF is my first and middle name initial and then Agbata is my surname and that is what I use. You must use a uniform username across all your social media profile. It helps your brand, you must understand that your presence on the internet is a brand and you must carefully manage it. You must take care of it; you must show concern about it. Just don’t think that it is not, it is a brand. I recommend and advise that you should use the same username across all your social media sites. And you should also use that same image across all the sites. It gives you a seamless outlook and a seamless brand. So my username is the same on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Google +, on Twitter on YouTube. I use the same username on Pinterest and all the social media sites I’m involved, I use CFAgbata uniformly. So you can always get me at CFAgbata and also my Blog is also CFAgbata.com
Encomium: Is there any way to generate money from Facebook and Twitter platforms?
CFA: Well, except if you have a product that you want to sell and then you place an advertisement on Facebook, there is no other way for now. Or you get involved in Facebook apps making and you get paid from local advertising that is one of the ways to make money on Facebook but not what ordinary, what every laymen or everyday people would want to get involved with it. It is more specialized that that. So there is really no way. Twitter is currently testing its advertising platform which will be launched soon. And then what it simply means is that, you also as a business owner can now begin to advertise on Twitter as well. But for Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, the way to make money is taking your products that has value for people on that platform, and try to sell to them. So yes, you can make money that way on those networks or through those sites.
Encomium: Last question, where do you see the future of online business in Nigeria?
CFA: Wow, great, Nigeria is going to be a powerhouse in ICT; I can say this without any doubt in my heart. Nigeria is a powerhouse. What we don’t realize as Nigerians, that foreigners have realized is that Nigeria has the population and to a large extent, the spending power. And that is why, if you notice, majority of the big e-commerce sites today are either owned by foreigners or foreigners have very good interest in them. It is because they have seen something we have yet to see. I want to assure Nigerians that Nigeria would certainly play a big role in internet and ICT. So you must begin to start now to think, how do I position for the boom? Because I can assure you, the boom is about to take place.
Remember that there is an ongoing plan to democratize and make broadband cheaper. The person that is pushing this, the two people that are pushing this are Ernest Ndukwe and Jim Ovia. Ernest Ndukwe is somebody who was in ICT and pioneer the telecommunications revolution we are enjoying today. Jim Ovia has invested so much in ICT over the years. So I want to assure you that the future of the internet and ICT in Nigeria is bright. So business owners, individuals, you must be optimistic. As soon as broadband cost drops and it becomes more accessible, you will find out that education will improve also, in fact that is in a different bargain because education will also move to the internet. When Nigerian universities are wasting time, you will find out very cheap universities in low cost countries who would start to offer Nigerians degree programs. Just watch out for that to happen, it is going to be lovely.
Encomium: Thank you very much.
CFA: Thank you.