Tastefully Use Social Media at Your Wedding

A few weeks back, we wrote about Event Management 2.0 whereby we suggested that it may be of great benefit for an event management company to integrate modern technology, and social media into managing their events.

Today, Mashable shares on how to tastefully integrate social media into your wedding. Here’s a snippet of what they say:

  1. Pre-wedding preparations – Introducing wedding attendees online before the big day can help you avoid any day-of awkwardness. This will give people the chance to break the ice and virtually get to know a little about everyone else.
  2. Stay offline during the ceremony – “Be polite. Don’t tweet when you should be participating and listening, specifically during the liturgy or the ceremony.”
  3. Appoint a chief Tweeter – If you want your wedding to be recorded for posterity in 140-character posts, then let people know and even encourage them to get involved by creating a hashtag. “Tell your bridal party it’s OK to tweet!” says Howard. “Create a hashtag for sharing your event. This will make all tweets from your day easy to find later on and helps to create a feeling of celebration for your guests.
  4. Set up a social media station – There’s a way to keep a traditional look and feel to a wedding celebration and still make room for social media. A “social media station” is a place where those who want to connect or comment online can do so, without forcing the issue onto the uninterested.
  5. Live stream for those who cant make it – Thanks to the wonders of modern tech, nowadays you can share your special moments with people who can’t make it in person. Ustream is one such site that can help you share your ceremony with those well-wishing from afar.
  6. Enjoy your day

So is there any event manager out there who thinks that there’s even a small chance of these methods succeeding?

Earning Money From Niche Websites

Niche MarketingDoes the idea of continuous passive income from websites you can set-up and forget about sound good to you? Well that is what niche content websites are all about. Let’s take a look at this online income method.

Before we start, I’d like to let you know that you can purchase a product from the Chapaa Shop to learn all about niche websites: “How to Make Money Online Using Niche Websites“. Okay, moving on…

What is a Niche Website?
A “niche website” is one that is designed with a very specific and narrow target market in mind. The type of information that it contains is carefully produced to draw in viewers who are motivated by their interest in the subject to purchase a product or products related to the topic of the site.

Consider this example. A dog owner with a large piece of property wants to keep his dog from wandering too far from home. However, he doesn’t want to contain his entire property within a fence and likes the idea of his dog having lots of space to roam. He decides to investigate the idea of installing an invisible dog fence by doing an Internet search.

A web developer who wants to target this customer would create a website around the keywords “invisible dog fences”. He would fill it with articles about different types of invisible dog fences, how to install them, the advantages of them over a regular fence, etc.

He would choose an affiliate product or products related to this topic, most likely a specific invisible dog fence. Of course, visitors to the site are already motivated by their desire to purchase this particular item. If visitors find what they read on the site to be informative and trustworthy, they will be likely to purchase the advertised affiliate product. In turn, the website’s owner receives a commission for the sale.

The website owner can also make a profit by signing up to run web ads, such as Google AdSense. The ad program will automatically place ads on the site which are related to the content of the site. Whenever a visitor clicks on one of the links, the site owner makes money.

Identifying Niches
If you want to be sure you will enjoy the process, one of the first steps you should go through is identifying those things in which you have some interest. Create a list by brainstorming and trying to identify everything you like. You are likely to find at the end that this includes broad topics like reading along with very specific things like collecting Makmende jokes (for example). It doesn’t matter how broad or specific things on this list are because this is just the starting point.

Once you’ve compiled this list, you will want to identify which things are very broad and which are already very specific, and then use this to identify niche markets you could tackle. Our example of a specific item above shows a small niche that is the ‘Makmende collectors market. This is a topic for which you should be able to create or find a fair amount of content, making it suitable for this purpose.

Your broad items will need to be narrowed down into one or more niches you might be interested. To continue on with our examples, maybe you really enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books. In this case, since it is a series of books, movies and other merchandise, it could be considered its own niche market, and therefore be suitable. Popular authors or specific genres could also be suitable, but be careful about getting too specific and targeting a single book.

Creating The Site
To maximize the potential you have for profit, you may want to consider getting your own domain name and setting up a site in your own hosting account. However, neither of these is required in order to make some money or to create a website. Several places online allow you to sign up and create your own blog, web page, or even entire web site, for free. Many of these will even allow you to make money from advertising, or allow you to include affiliate links on your pages so you can make some money. You can also just simple hire us, we’re experts.

The most important aspect of your site is going to be the content. As mentioned above, your content should be focused primarily on the specific niche you identified. As far as this content goes, it is best if your content is unique. To get unique content, you will either need to create it yourself, or hire someone to create it for you (you can hire the awesome Crystal). Of course, these aren’t the only options you have for getting content.

Making Money
Once the site is created, you can begin monetizing it in whatever way you have chosen. If you are using a free blog or other free site to host, you may be somewhat restricted, so be sure to consider your options when choosing where to publish your content.

Two of the most popular ways to monetize a niche website include using an advertising network, such as Google’s AdWords, and affiliate marketing. These can be used separately or together. Placing advertising usually involves signing up for the program and then placing their code into your page. Affiliate marketing is similar in that you would sign up for the program and place a special link on your page, but you’ll usually want to be sure you’re linking to specific products or services relevant to your site’s topic.

Conclusion
Making money via niche websites is one of the easiest ways to make money online. However, do not expect to retire off it – a niche website can be considered to be successful if it makes $2 to $3 a day. The real power comes in when you have 5, 10, 50 or even 100 such websites all working for you. Then you can retire!

If you are interested in niche websites, how about purchasing “How to Make Money Online Using Niche Websites“? It is a nice little course that can help you greatly. Good luck!

What do you think of this method of making money online?

60-Year-Old Loses Job, Creates 12 Websites

“I get to work from home, I’m totally focused on what I do because I know it’s all for my family and our future, and I’m building a business that is mine, rather than working for someone else and building their business,” he said. “It’s absolutely rewarding and totally satisfying. I could do this sixteen hours a day.”

Read the whole article here.

100 Startup Ideas!

Thinking of starting a web-based business? Here are 100 ideas to wet your appetite and, possibly, inspire you.

100+ Web Startup Business ideas

So, what do you think of them?


Event Management 2.0

So, suppose you run an event management business. How do you market it online? Do you just slap on a website and sit back? I think not.

For you to get meaningful and sustained business online, it is not enough to have just a website, you need to have a website that establishes you as an authority in your field of business. You want it to be that if someone is online and thinking of event management in Kenya, they will not miss to think about you. Now this is quite hard to achieve, do not get me wrong. However, the Internet is an equalizer and you can accomplish this by pursuing a steady well thought out and bold plan. In my estimations, it can turn out to be a really cheap (relatively) but efficient marketing strategy and while you may not be the biggest in the industry, your marketing will make you seem just as big if not bigger than anyone else.

The big idea
If I was planning my wedding, I would be so very excited and I would want the whole world to know about it. If I could, I would have a column in the newspaper about my wedding plans and the day itself would be splashed all over the papers so that the whole world sees how wonderful my big white wedding was. And my relatives all over Kenya and possibly the world would see.

Of course I am not some Prince so I cannot have my way like that. What may work to achieve similar objectives, is a simple website. What if I had a very simple site, like a tiny blog, where I could update the whole world – including all my friends and family all over the world, of my wedding plans and share photos as I move closer and closer to the big day? Then on the big day itself I would chronicle the whole day on my little site (vua a live blog or live tweeting). That little site will live forever on the Internet as a “digital journal and photo album” of my wedding. I will tell almost everyone about it and they will all come visit – probably even my kids’ kids.

Now, most people aren’t web savvy enough to do this, and they may be too busy to do it anyway. What if you, as their event manager, offer such a service for all the weddings and other events that you organize? You would immortalise your clients’ events on the Internet and they will probably share the links to those mini sites with all their friends. Now, of course, on each mini site you will make it clearly known that the event was organised by you. The more events you immortalise this way, the more people share the mini sites with their friends, the more your name spreads on the Internet.

On the wedding/event days themselves you could even announce that the day’s proceedings and pictures will be available online at some web address, on Twitter, Facebook, etc so everyone will go away thinking “wow, these organisers are thorough” and they may visit the sites and find a link to you, and so on.

You will probably also be one of the very few event organisers that do this and it may turn out to be a major selling point and perhaps even a source of additional revenue – not to mention that once you get a number of event mini sites up, you will establish your name online and get precious “viral” marketing.

Can you imagine a gleeful bride showing off her wedding on Twitter and facebook and in all the conversations your name as the event organisers comes up again and again? Can you imagine one of the really really hot parties in town having a website where there is a live update for all that is going on at the party (with pics, music and snippets of video) – won’t the people who did not make it wish they were at the party?

What would it take to do this?
Contrary to what you may be thinking, all the above is quite cheap and easy to do, if you partner with someone who knows what he is doing. Believe it or not, making this happen can be done for under Kshs 15,000/- per event (at least going by Nickel Pro rates). The idea is to make a mini-site for the event, and offer live blogging and live socail media updating on the day of the event itself.

Benefits

  1. After doing a few such events, you may actually be able to charge extra for this
  2. Your customers will be probably “wowed”
  3. You will get material cheaply for your company blog
  4. You will be an event organiser at the forefront of technology
  5. Your customers will be effectively recruited as people who market you online by telling their friends and family about the mini sites you created
  6. You will quite possibly get “viral” marketing effects
  7. Your name will spread in the online space
  8. It is quite probable that you will get many new customers who learn of you solely online

Caveats
This is not a short-term marketing strategy.

What do you think of this idea? Could it work? More importantly, who has the guts to try it out? No balls, no babies!

Photo courtesy of AZrainman.

Opportunity: Online MPESA Agent?

If you look at the sidebar here on Like Chapaa, you will notice a “Most Popular” section. This lists 10 of the most popular articles, ever, on this website. If you look closely, you will see that FOUR of those 10 most popular articles are talking about How to Receive Money Online in Kenya. What does this mean?

It means that there is a very great amount of interest on how to efficiently and conveniently receive money online in Kenya. This is probably because if you are doing any kind of business online from Kenya, you know that getting the money you earn has been and continues to be terribly difficult. It seems to me that people would jump at anything that would make this easier. It seems to me that there is an amazing opportunity that no one has addressed very well.

What would the ideal solution be?
I have done no sort of extensive research on this but I believe that the ideal solution would be a service that:

  1. Allows people to easily and cheaply transfer their money from services like PayPal, MoneyBookers, AlertPay, etc into a more locally accessible location
  2. The best “more locally accessible location” would be the mobile phone – MPESA, YUcash, or ZAP. SO the ability to transfer your money from akina PayPal into your phone directly.
  3. The whole thing needs to be done to international quality and security standards
  4. The service needs to be VERY transparent
  5. The service needs to exist for, and make us that its primary aim is not just to make money but actually to serve us. Other organisations offering similar services have struck me as being out to ‘make money ruthlessly’ instead of offering good service.

Can anyone build that? I’d be your first customer! I know that several Kenyan establishments are offering services that may come close to what I describe them but the fact that so many people who need this are still looking for a suitable solution means that this “market” is untapped.

Other things
Apart from transferring money from akina PayPal into services like MPESA, I would love the ability to transfer money from akina MPESA directly into services like PayPal.

I’ve been thinking about this a long time (because I feel the pinch and I need this badly) and it just seems so very doable that I wonder why no one has yet stepped up and tried to do it.

What would you need to do this?
As you read this section, keep in mind that I have not done any extensive research into this and what I say may just be plain wrong.

As I stated earlier, I think building such a service is not particularly challenging, at least not technology-wise. Here’s my idea on how it can be built:

  • You need an agreement with one of the Mobile Networks. I feel that Zain is the most approachable of the four Kenyan mobile operators. I remember having good conversations with their engineers on how to more deeply integrate ZAP into DukaPress. The kind of agreement you need from them shouldn’t need to be too different from the agreement that they currently have with ZAP agents. Something similar, but they need to know you will operate online.
  • You need to notify akina PayPal, obviously, that you will be offering this kind of service. Paypal, in particular, has elegant APIs that should make building your service easier.
  • You would need to build your application in such a way that it accepts money from akina PayPal into your registered customers’ accounts securely and then, on demand, transfers that money into your customers’ mobile phones. The good thing with ZAP is that you can send money to any phone network in Kenya.
  • You would, obviously, need to structure your pricing in such a way that you take a small (it has to be small) percentage of the money that passes through your systems as your fees. As you plan this, you need to work around withdrawal fees za akina MPESA as well as the fees due to akina PayPal
  • It would be an extremely good idea to make your whole application work fully from a mobile phone and not just the web!!
  • Your system needs to be secure; it needs to inspire confidence.
  • You need to anticipate the possibility of PayPal partnering with local banks (it is rumored they shall be partnering with Equity). This poses a significant threat to your business. You need to build your application with this in mind and strategize on how you shall deal with it. Which I personally think is very do-able.

So, what do you think? Is this build-able? What do you think of the whole idea? Leave your comments below. 🙂

Virtual Tourism – Can It Work?

African SafariSuppose you live in Europe or America and you have this really strong urge to come and see Africa (Kenya). You want to see the people, the wildlife, the scenery. It’s probably going to cost you thousands of dollars, right?

What if, in a real professional set up, one of the (Kenyan) tours and travel companies put multiple cameras on and in one of their tour buses and streamed a drive into, say, the Maasai Mara live and in high definition from multiple angles and you could switch the camera view (and maybe even zoom in if technology allows) to whatever you liked? And, in addition, there was a well spoken articulate guide telling you about what was going on (sort of like a commentary)….

Would you, someone who wants to see the Maasai Mara, pay for such an experience? How many people would pay? How else can this make money? Can it work? Perhaps something for our tour companies to think about….