Interviewer’s Note: I’m always impressed at how intricate some social media strategies are for certain businesses- the interplay between Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and countless other accounts, all reinforcing one another in a synergy of e-commerce. Here is one example to learn from: Amu Fanene, who runs several distinctly different businesses.
Hello Amu, welcome to the Pluggio Blog! In a nutshell, how do you describe your businesses?
I consider myself a serial entrepreneur. I have several businesses that use social media distribution channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and WordPress for cross promotion. I have a grant writing and grant resource business that helps small businesses, churches, and nonprofits find and apply for grants. I am a mobile app developer and I create enterprise grade apps for business. I have an online music distribution company that generates revenue by promoting music artists online and through mobile apps. I generate revenue through online affiliate programs and advertising programs from Google on polynesianworld.com. I also target a more broad audience with my personal twitter account @amuuso to tie all of my promotion efforts together.
Wow, that’s a pretty impressive spread! I’m curious about all of that, but let’s focus on grant proposals. That’s an interesting service; how did you get started?
I have been writing grant proposals since 1999. I decided to quit my job as a grant writer to begin an online grant proposal writing business. I quickly learned the power of social media in the glory days of Myspace.com.
How did social media play into it, at that early stage?
I had a similar social media promotion model for my grant business. I created several different types of accounts that catered to different businesses and target markets for those business. I integrated the promotion tactic and leveraged every business that I did. However, back then eCommerce was not as intuitive as it is today. For example, you could not sign into Twitter from Myspace or feed your Twitter timeline into a WordPress widget on your blog page. Long story short, I got started by seeing the entrepreneurial opportunities in online social marketing.
What kind of people/ businesses need grants? What are some of the common reasons they seek them out?
Churches, nonprofits, and certain types of businesses qualify for grants. There is a misconception that anyone can apply and receive a grant. That misconception comes from slick marketers that trick people into buying products that won’t help them. For the most part, to qualify for a grant, an organization needs to have 501c3 status from the IRS or qualify for a government contract of some sort. There are other qualifiers as well but those are the main ones. Most organizations seeks grants to implement community programs, build parks, create affordable housing, and hundreds of other reasons to make the world a better place.
What role does Twitter play in your business?
My Twitter is automated so it seeks relevant people to follow, tweets my preprogrammed tweets, unfollows undesirable and inactive accounts, and much more. All of my Twitter accounts are linked in one way or another through my social media distribution chain. Its 24-7 promotion.
What impact or change have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing?
My site visitor count has increased exponentially on all of my sites and this translates into more revenue. I find that it is really easy to detect the increase or decrease in the effect one tweet has on accounts that have about 10,000 followers.
Are there any of your accomplishments with social marketing that you are particularly proud of?
I am most proud of the fact that I’m able to identify a market, interact, connect, share, and distribute products and services with relative ease now. It’s a process and I am proud that I have figured out this particular process.
How did you build your following? What kinds of people/businesses are they?
All of my business accounts were built through an automated program. My personal account is almost at 30,000 followers. I got to 10,000 followers by simply tweeting a lot and making my tweets relevant to whatever audience I was trying to attract. I learned about tweet automation in school. I received my MBA in eCommerce and learned a few tricks in class.
How will you choose who you will follow? What do you look for in a follower?
I automate my follow list by potential customers that fit my target market. For example, my grant business Twitter account follows churches, nonprofits, and people looking for scholarships.
If you could go back to when you first began using social media, what is one thing you would have done differently?
I would have definitely tied all of my social media accounts together. However, back then most of the social media platforms did not have this functionality.
What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?
Twitter reaches a very broad audience very rapidly. Its very cost efficient and I get results from it, even more than Facebook.
What lessons have you learned about Twitter and online marketing?
Integration, connection, sharing, and relevance…. You must do all of these things with social media. Even with automated marketing, it is extremely important to find out who responded to you because the connection is very valuable. Once you connect, you’re able to receive the feedback you need to craft your tweets for your specific market.
Become a follower of us on Twitter at: @Tweets4SmallBiz
For my posts about topics in small business and entrepreneurship, follow my updates via RSS here