Entertain as well as inform. Who doesn’t like a little chuckle at work? We like to throw in a few humorous memes here and there to mix things up, but they’re not random. They pertain to relevant topics to small businesses owners, like the need for coffee or being self-employed, or working remotely. We consistently send the messages, using popular meme formats that connote we like to laugh and have a good time while working. There’s no reason that we can’t have a good laugh with our followers who are also building a business.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Amad Ebrahimi. Amad is an entrepreneur, business owner and founder of Merchant Maverick, a business and ecommerce review site which has helped over 1 million businesses make better decisions since 2009.
In 2008 I was building an online travel site and became frustrated with the lack of information and transparency about merchant account systems. In researching merchant accounts, I discovered the lack of high quality, transparent information about an essential element of any online retail business could be a business opportunity. With this in mind, I founded Merchant Maverick in 2009 to provide independent, well-researched reviews of merchant account systems and other business-related software and products.
I don’t think anyone is an authority on Social Media Marketing, as it is constantly changing and evolving. What we try to do is to keep pace with new technologies and ideas that help us engage our audience. Importantly, we found that staying focused on our key messages and verticals, (business and ecommerce software and products) helped build the perception that our social pages are places for SMBs and ecommerce operators to go to learn, share and become empowered.
I think the most interesting story I can share is that when I was first started Merchant Maverick, I wrote a negative review of a well-known credit card processor. Somebody from that organization or related to them gave me a call and completely unloaded on me in the nastiest way possible. It was scathing, but I found it also funny; it was so petty that it actually made me laugh out loud on the phone. The biggest lesson I learned is that to operate any business, especially in this industry, you have to develop a thick skin. After dealing with one of the scariest things I thought could possibly happen to me, the knowledge that I could find humor in the situation and go on to be successful was empowering.
In the early days of Merchant Maverick, I was too afraid to put my real name as an author on the website. I called myself _Mr. Maverick_. It was my persona, something I could hide behind. There was definitely fear behind revealing my true identity. I was embarrassed about my name and ethnicity. I placed a huge burden on myself thinking that others wouldn’t take me seriously. Ultimately, I overcame the fear and I was able to use my real name. Really being transparent about everything helped me get over my fear of being in the public eye. But it makes me chuckle now when I look back on those days, seriously _Mr. Maverick_! Hiding behind your identity is hardly being a maverick.
Recently, after some false steps, we re-engaged with social media to drive traffic to our site. Our efforts on Instagram were particularly rewarding. As one of our key brand values is trust, our readers expect authenticity of our original content posted on Merchant Maverick.com and we wanted to extend this to readers via Instagram. With this in mind we created a program consisting of original memes depicting our website content, insightful news stories focused on our readers’ industries, motivational memes and pictures of our staff at home and worked to add a human touch. The first month we added 7,000 impressions, since then impressions, followers and conversions, (new traffic to our site and click-throughs to partner sites) have steadily grown. This is amazing as we don’t have product shots or consider ourselves a visually oriented business.
At Merchant Maverick one of our key brand values is trust. Our readers expect authenticity in our original content and we wanted to extend this to readers via Instagram. With this in mind, we created a program that:
I am a proponent of a better understanding of mental health and removing the stigma that is associated with mental health issues. In a modern society such as ours, it’s important for us to accept mental health as part of our overall health paradigm. Judging by the headlines we see today, it’s clear that mental health is a large-scale problem that would benefit with a more holistic approach.
Jack Dorsey. From what I’ve read, Jack was a self-taught programmer who learned to program in order to solve an immediate problem. I feel like I have a very similar personality in that I don’t necessarily learn subjects just to learn them, but rather to apply them to a problem that I’m trying to solve. I admire the fact that he’s running two companies at once, I admire the fact that he walks to work 5 miles every day without looking at his phone (allowing himself time to think), and I admire that he has interests outside of tech and business, specifically music and yoga.