Solomon Sanusi is the founder of the Social Media Centre Marketing and Advertising Hub.
He speaks with TOFARATI IGE about being a social media influencer on Punch Nigeria
How would you describe your journey into the social media space?
I actually started my marketing career with a company called Sobatar, by sharing flyers on the streets. Right now, I am the media director of the Social Media Centre Marketing and Advertising Hub. I usually call it my journey from being a street marketer to a media director.
How were you able to get so many followers?
By the nature of my job, I create content for my clients, and when I post those contents online, my clients invite their fans to ‘like’ my page. Also, the one-on-one relationship I have with some people have also increased my followers.
What inspired the Social Media Centre?
The idea was birthed in me on the last Sunday of 2012, while in my former church. My mentor, Sam Adeyemi, was speaking into the New Year, and I had the vision to raise emerging youths in Nigeria and across Africa, using social media as a tool to solve the issue of poverty in the continent. Since then, I have given it my all to make sure that the vision became a reality in my lifetime.
What exactly do you do at the Social Media Centre?
We create social media accounts and manage them for individuals, celebrities, companies and other public figures. We also create Internet-based advertising campaigns, and manage sponsored posts for effective and efficient generation of results for SMEs, corporate bodies, NGOs and celebrities. In the same vein, we handle verification procedures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for public figures, as well as lifestyle and music marketing.
What is the weirdest message you have got from a follower?
Out of the blue, I got a message from a female fan which read, “I am available tonight. Hit me up”.
Are you satisfied with the number of followers you currently have?
No. There is always room for growth. I hope to compete with the likes of singer, Davido, who has over 12m followers on Instagram alone.
How lucrative is it being a social media influencer?
I always tell the youths around me that are into Internet fraud, aka yahoo yahoo, that my business is the way out of poverty with a clean slate and a legitimate bank account. With what I do, I can enter into any country with a verifiable source of income. My business gives me the ability to stand before kings and also dine with important personalities.
So yes, it is indeed lucrative being a social media influencer.
When you started social media business, did you know it was going to be profitable?
Not at all.
When you first joined social media, did you know you were going to be an influencer?
Not at all. My major goal when I started back then in 2013 was to stop sharing my company’s flyers on the street and use the power of social media to market our services. I got the understanding early in my career that it would take me about five days to share a thousand flyers but with just the click of a button, I could share an e-flyer to over a million people on social media.
What other interests do you have aside social media?
I am an influencer by nature. I am very goal-oriented in my approach to life and purpose. I have a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering with a duly registered business that has been in operation since 2007. However, since my adventure in the media space began, the electrical business has seen less of me.
Have you ever felt that people look down on you because of what you do?
No. I only feel that they see me as someone who is too serious. A lot of time, people take me to be too serious, because I am always on my phones and other devices. On a typical day, I am busy working on a celebrity account, a church programme, Ramadan campaign, and comedy show all at once. At the same time, I would also have clients calling for my attention simultaneously because they are all striving to reach the online audience with their products and services.
When you started social media, did you know it was going to be profitable?
No, I didn’t. However, when I got my first cheque in 2013, I knew that Social Media Centre was here to stay and nothing could stop it.
Do lots of celebrities follow you?
I do have a number of celebrities following me, and I also hope to work with more of them soon.
Have you ever been involved in any violent encounter in your line of work?
Yes, I have. It happened in 2015 when business wasn’t as good as expected, and I didn’t have enough gadgets to work with. I met with a baker in the Omole area of Lagos, and I was to send a proposal to her later that same day. Because I didn’t have enough gadgets, I went to a cyber cafe in my area then in Gowon Estate, Egbeda. However, at exactly 6:45pm on that fateful evening, a group of guys came into the cafe with guns and started collecting our phones, laptops and other valuables they could find. I cannot forget that day because at the time, an iPad and a Nokia phone were all I had and they were collected from me. At the end of the day, the client also didn’t give me the job.
Have you ever thought of leaving social media because of online bullying?
I have never even considered it.
What influences the jobs you take?
I consider the passion and motives of the person or company giving me the jobs. Passion is a major driver for me in deciding the kind of clients I agree to work with because what they want to achieve is more important to me than the money they want to pay.
Have you ever turned down any job?
Yes, I have. I turn down jobs without a clear cut vision and enough passion to drive it to the end.
Have you ever wished your popularity online transcended to the real world?
No, I have not. With the online popularity, I still get to some places and some people approach me, not sure whether I’m the same person they know online. That is good because it helps me to go about my business and attend events without drawing attention to myself. Inasmuch as I want to be famous, I also love my privacy.
Would you consider leaving social media if you get a very good job offer?
Never! I am on the way to building a conglomerate; why would I abandon my vision for a monthly cheque?
Since the advent of social media, what is the longest you have been offline?
I think the maximum should be about three days.
What are some of the challenges you face in the course of doing your work?
The major challenge is the issue of epileptic power supply. Also, the exorbitant price of data, which is not always effective.
How much were you paid for your first social media job?
I will never forget the first cheque of N15,000 I got from someone called Mr Bello. It really did a lot for my business at that time.
In what ways do you manage your career?
I am very progressive in my approach to my career.
Have you had any formal training for your work as a social media influencer?
I did an online course in Social Media Marketing with the University of Cape Town. Over the years, I have also undergone several formal and informal training because the basic thing I am selling is information.
What are some of the perks of being a social media influencer?
Permit me to mention but a few. I recall working with the late Kefee, the Branama Queen, and also creating some great success stories with Yamaha ambassador for Africa, Wole Oni; Baptista; Abiodun Sage; Teddiizzle, and many other brands.
How often do you travel?
I actually travel often because the job requires one to feel the heartbeat and pulse of the targeted audience of some clients. I travel with music stars, public figures, and on corporate retreats.
How often do you get to attend events?
I attend events every other weekend. The purpose is to stay up-to-date with happenings in my industry and to always be a step ahead of my peers.
What are your other interests?
I am into artiste management and music distribution, electrical works, public speaking, and marketing.
What are your hobbies?
I love working, talking, and travelling.
How do you like to dress?
I like to wear creatively-styled native attire.
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