Today, we have a great interview with Gerald Weber, a super Twitter user and a fantastic entrepreneur and he had some interesting things to share when he did this small Interview with me.
1) I would like to have a short bio of you. what kind of activities you do…for fun…for work…any interesting stuff you have to share with us about yourself.
OK … Well I am the President and Founder of Search Engine Marketing Group in Houston, TX.
For fun …
I am a skydiver. Also, I have to say even though I take it seriously, I have to say I enjoy social media (Blogging, Tweeting, Stumbling). I have been skydiving since 2000 and have over 600 freefall skydives.
2) Interesting answer … I would like to ask, You have attracted a lot of Twitter followers… What kind of strategy or techniques you followed for gathering such a huge following? … Do you think such a large number of followers on sites like Twitter can be effectively leveraged for business or is it just a popularity contest???
Well let me answer this in two parts…
I’m glad you asked the first question because I seem to get this one a lot. I would say it’s a combination of many things as to how I’ve attracted such a large following.
For one … I am extremely active on Twitter. I generally tweet all through out the day. I do my best to only tweet quality articles and content that I think my followers find either interesting, entertaining or useful. I also retweet a lot of quality when the opportunity presents itself. Another thing is I am very personable. I don’t just tweet out link and end it there. I interact with my followers. I answer all DM’s and @replies. I do my best to help people out when I can. I’m very down to earth and approachable. In short I love to help people.
Now as for the second part of your question….
As far as the number of followers being leveraged for business. I have to say it’s neither a popularity contest nor is it a means to directly increase business.
My reasons for engaging in social media is neither actually. For me it’s more about networking with people and brand awareness. My personal opinion, I don’t think Twitter or social media is a good medium if your purpose is to increase sales. It can be good for brand awareness and awareness of your blog, and sure occasionally you might get a new customer but that’s at the end of the day that’s not the point for me.
3) Recently … I did an interview on the prominent Digg users to help newbie Digg users especially new web entrepreneurs … can you shed some light on which other sites are the best for gaining visibility for their new websites ??
Well I have to say that StumbleUpon is one of my very favorite social sites next to twitter, but it has to be used properly. You can’t just sign up to Stumbleupon and start promoting your blog. It’s about networking and getting to know other people. The nice thing about StumbleUpon is that the site is really a lot of fun to use and you can find a lot of great content there as well. It’s a good place to find great stuff to tweet as well.
4) Ya… I found Stumbleupon very interesting, but I am having difficulty getting the hang of it… could you help me with it?
Well, the best way to approach stumbleupon is to just be social and stumble a lot. If you are just getting started talk to other stumblers. Most of them are very friendly and don’t mind helping out new people. Most importantly of all be genuine and add value to the community and people will naturally want to know more about you. I suppose this is pretty much applicable to all social platforms.
What you don’t want to do is sign up to stumble and start bombing your links left and right. This is sure to piss people off and won’t get you many friends.
5) This may seem like a general question and (a big one) as such …. but I would like to ask you … when and how did you decide to start your company ? How did you pick up the business idea…and your journey from then on till today?? Any obstacles you faced so far and how you overcome them ??
Well, about the way I started my company… When I decided to leave the stock brokerage industry in 2000, I moved from California and came back to my home in Houston TX and started working for a web development and search marketing firm in Houston. I was originally in their sales department, then went to technical support, and then when they start selling marketing plans I went back into sales. I was doing well, In fact I was one of their top sales people. I was making sales hand over fist for them but they were making it very difficult to make any commissions.
I kept track of how much money I was making for them after each sale and they weren’t paying me much in return so I realized I was only helping make them rich, and they were paying me peanuts. Hence Search Engine Marketing Group was born in December 2005 and haven’t looked back since.
Now, the interesting part is at the time I only new basic HTML and no SEO. So I went out and got a few sales and then learned the rest along the way. I would say the biggest obstacle was starting a business from scratch with no income. It was pretty rough starting out but everything has worked out.
6) That’s nice….From when did your business turn profitable? Did you have to tweak and twist a lot to make a profit??
Well, at the very start I was in a hole … but I’d say we became profitable very quickly. Probably within the second month. This is because I was very aggressive with making sales. I didn’t sit and wait for someone to call me I was making 300 to 400 phone calls a day to business owners and closed 3 or 4 deals pretty quickly.
I don’t take this approach today nor do I have the time to make calls like this, but it’s what was needed to get the business off the ground.
7) I would like to hear any general tips to bloggers and entrepreneurs you may want to share.
I may have said this previously but it bears repeating I think. In the world of social media …please don’t try to sell. You will most likely come across as a spammer and piss people off. Just be genuine and add value to the community and people will naturally want to know more about you.
Also, anyone that is dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur should keep following that dream until it comes true. You will most likely never become rich working for someone else.
8) The last question for today Gerald … If there was no internet, what do you think you would be doing as of now??
If there was no Internet, I would probably be in the skydiving industry as a videographer or a jumpmaster (instructor). I love skydiving and all apsects of skydiving. I did actually consider this as a career path before I started in the SEO/SEM industry.
Thanks Gerald Weber for such a great interview. This will be a great motivation to all social media enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike. We wish you all the success in your future pursuits!