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After making its debut in early 2014, Makeki Online – Samoa’s number one trading forum, has changed the way Samoans buy, sell and advertise over the course of just four years.
Hosted via Facebook, the platform originally catered to locals who wanted to sell off their unused household items, clothes or appliances and make some extra cash.
Today, Makeki Online has over 45, 000 members (and counting) and receives on average 150 member requests each day. From cars to pieces of land, electronics, clothes, businesses, pets or even compatible blood donors – everything and almost anything can be found or advertised on Makeki Online.
But what is the secret behind the success of this simple Facebook Page? The secret which has boosted MO’s following far beyond anything other local traders have seen?
According to Founder, Mose ‘Nitrous’ Mose – the total sales in the last year facilitated by the page have amounted to almost $700,000 tala.
Speaking to Samoa Planet at the UNDP Youth Co-Lab, Mose revealed the simple vision and recipe for success which started it all.
“Makeki Online first started because I saw an opportunity – a gap. At the time, the majority of people perceived Faceook as ‘the internet’. Affordable internet access was also being introduced then, which led Facebook-accessibility to become the driving force behind Makeki Online.”
“When it started we had no ads or sponsorship to boost posts or anything like that, it grew organically, from word-of-mouth. People started buying and selling, and adding in their friends and family and next thing you know we had 500 followers.”
Mose says that once the following count reached 500 and then later 1000, he knew he’d need help in administrating the page. He then reached out to close friends Kent Onesemo and Thomas Seuao, who are fellow Admins and co-share the responsibility of filtering through the hundreds of messages, member requests and complaints received each week.
Mose continued, “It’s a real team effort and dedication. We all have our own schedules and timetable for the page. Kent is currently studying for his Master’s overseas, but he’s still online helping out during his shifts. We’ve found that the best time for admin work is actually in the early hours of the morning.”
“We do go through a lot of data each week, and it’s all from our own pockets. But we are getting close to where we want to be and God has been helping us through all these years. We’ve built all these relationships with people and MO does have a local reputation, so that’s why we’ve just recently opened up to the whole idea of including our identities on the page. Before that, we were all kind of anonymous.”
As a full-time Computers and Physics Lecturer at the National University of Samoa, Mose says that it’s the daily norm for him to be scrolling and checking posts and messages as he walks between classes.
“There’s also been a lot of challenges, we deal with all sorts of people different opinions, each with different things that they want or suggest. We also have to handle technical issues, complaints and even deal with people who are reported to be selling stolen items. It’s a lot to take in. But we are committed to this page and the accessibility its giving our people.”
“At the end of the day, Makeki Online is here to cater for Samoa, for our people and if it can bring in some money for families out there- then that’s great.”
Mose says that plans to expand Makeki Online’s reach are already underway with a separate website already constructed.
He said, “MO is still a Facebook group in the meantime, but we’re in the second year of working on the website. We’re just moving everything more towards the actual internet and less reliant on Facebook as the platform itself. We will never leave Facebook, but when we started-Facebook was ‘the internet’ to people. We built up on that, but we’re also moving forward with the website and a Mobile App which should be launching soon.”
“In terms of other websites and trading platforms – our focus has always been not to compete – let everyone do their own thing. We trust what God is doing and if it is His Will, He will take us to the next level. But all-in-all, this will always be my testimony – we started with God, and everything else fell into place. There’s a lot of challenges and responsibilities, we deal with all sorts of people every day- but it’s been a great journey and we’re all thankful the support we’ve received from everyone.”
If you haven’t already checked it out, visit Makeki Online www.facebook.com/groups/makekionline/
SBN Samoa Awards 2017
SBN Business Innovation & Young Entrepreneur Awards held at Kofe Haus Nov last year.
Published on Samoa Planet
June 25, 2018
By Shivani Sharma
Original Article - http://www.samoaplanet.com/secret-behind-samoas-makeki-online-success/
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