Back in April 2012 one of our training course delegates, who goes by the moniker of Mrs. Moore To Be, began a dramatic transformation from being a complete social media hater to being “joined at the hip” to a variety of Social Media platforms.
In her first “Social Media Phobe to Social Media Friend” guest blog, Mrs. Moore To Be highlighted what her introduction to this new world and her experiences of setting up online. In the second post she describes her progress and provides some valuable lessons on how you can take advantage of this rapidly developing area.
Social Media Phobe to Social Media Friend Part II
It’s been a long time since I promised to tell you about my conversion to social media. Far too long. And one of the reasons for my silence is that I’ve been busy, very busy, blogging and tweeting. My relationship with social media hasn’t just moved from phobe to friend. It’s more a case of being joined at the hip and I just can’t seem to stop talking about the benefits to be wrought from this new fangled technology.
A year ago, I was in a very different place. I held social media in low esteem, regarding it as a little more than a vehicle for idle tittle-tattle at best and salacious gossip at worst. Something for young people and those with too much time on their hands. And then I watched a podcast which made me think again and forced me to reassess my position.
The podcast was a recording of a seminar given by Thomas Power, then Chairman of Ecademy. The main purpose of the seminar was to extol the value of social media as a powerful business marketing tool. At first I was sceptical, but as I listened I felt the scales, if not exactly falling from my eyes, then certainly loosening a little. Whilst I can’t recall the detail of what this guy said, I can remember one particular statement which he repeated several times. He said that when we approach social media we need to understand that ‘attention is the product‘.
I had to mull those words over in my mind, many times, to fully appreciate them and even now I’m not entirely sure that I’ve fully unpacked the concept. But what I think he meant this: used skilfully, social media platforms can act as a mechanism by which to draw together a specific audience. Once you have the attention of that audience you have commercial potential which you can either monetarise yourself or sell on to someone else.
One convincing example of how this works in practice can be found in Lady Gaga. Love her or hate her, this pop star has amassed a staggering 28 million followers on Twitter and thus possesses easy and instantaneous access to a huge audience, many of whom regard her as being the ultimate authority on matters relating to music, fashion and popular culture. Little wonder then that she was able to command a fee of $1m in return for sending out a tweet endorsing a particular brand.
But don’t think that the benefits of social media are confined to celebs. Its value extends as equally to ordinary people trying to earn a crust as it does to those who jet-set round the world and tread the red carpet.
Last August I set up a blog (A Warwickshire Wedding) about my experience of preparing for my forthcoming wedding. A tongue-in-check account of the planning process, it aims to combine supplier showcasing with a strong narrative. It was just a bit of fun; a way of enhancing my skill set; an outlet for my longing to write more than minutes of meetings and business letters. I really didn’t expect more than a handful of my friends to show any sustained interest. And, in some respects, I was quite right. Only a few of my friends do follow A Warwickshire Wedding, which is understandable. After all, why read a blog telling you what you have already heard from the horse’s mouth.
However whilst I have relatively few followers from amongst my own circle of friends, there are many other people whom I have never met, and indeed never will meet, who regularly read my blog. I have no idea how they found A Warwickshire Wedding, but in the last year I have notched up over 5000 hits from people quite literally spanning the globe, one of which just happens to be a researcher from Brides magazine. And this is where it all starts to get interesting from a business point of view: within hours of having published a piece about a new Shropshire based business called My Little Wedding Shop, Brides magazine contacted the shop’s proprietor, Jennifer Bone. The purpose of the call was to ask Jennifer if she would like her business to be featured on a promotional DVD, due for national circulation with the July/August issue of the magazine. When Jennifer asked how Brides had heard about her shop, you can guess what the reply was: A Warwickshire Wedding.
Now Jennifer is a personal friend and I would never ever dream of charging her for the publicity A Warwickshire Wedding has helped to bring to her business. And I’d be the first to admit that it was no more than a stroke of luck that resulted in someone at Brides magazine stumbling across my blog. It certainly wasn’t the result of some strategic planning on my part. Moreover, whilst I may be proud of my 5,000 plus hits, it’s minuscule when compared with other sites such as English-Wedding blog, which attracts 40,000 per month. But notwithstanding, when Jennifer called me to tell me about her conversation with Brides magazine, the scales really did fall from my eyes. At that moment I suddenly realised that if an intermittent ‘hobby-blogger’ like me can unwittingly bring a fledgling regional business to the attention of the big boys, then blogging and tweeting et al really do represent a rich seam of marketing potential.
So my advice is, whatever your business interest, you’d be well advised to don your hard hat and start mining the opportunities buried in the array of social media platforms which are just waiting to be discovered in the 21st century TechnoSphere.
What this post highlights is how content that is focused, interesting and valuable will get found and will be circulated. It so important to remember that simply bombarding people with sales messages isn’t the way to go. Think about what would make you respond positively.
Well done Mrs. Moore To Be and good luck on your big day – October 6th!
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