Friday, 22 February 2013

Why I Love Social Media

I write quite a lot of posts about utilising Social Media for gaining blog traffic, connecting with a target market and advertising your business, service or job seeking.

I sometimes get asked what exactly it is about Social Media that I find so interesting, so I figured it would be a fun thing to blog about.

Here are ten things that I really, really adore about Social Media.
If you are blogging/tweeting/pinning for personal reasons, there are a million other people who are going to be interested. That's a fact! You might feel like the most boring person on the planet, people might literally fall asleep when you walk into a room, but the filter of social media turns you into a quirky, interesting individual with an audience of hundreds, thousands or even millions.  There *are* people interested in the same thing as you. There *are* people that want to hear what you have got to say. Want proof? Think of the most bizarre, outlandish thing you can think of (keep it clean, no one wants an eyeful of Chinese men and their doll collections on their lunch break) and Google it. Guaranteed you'll come across a twitter account dedicated to it. Or a ('scuse the language) fuck-yeah blog. Have you heard of a 'fuck-yeah' blog? It's rude isn't it, I know. It's a term used to describe a blog, usually a Tumblr account that has a single discussion point. I've seen them about bats, owls, Catherine Middleton, stairs, chairs, planes, trains....etc.

Tip: If you find a twitter account dedicated to something you like, chances are, the people following that account are going to be your sort of people. Add them. Give them a chance, delete them if you don't like what you see after a few days.. This is a great way to connect with people online!
Here's a secret for you. I'm actually really grumpy in real life. That's a fact. I kind of touched on this when I wrote about giving up complaining for Lent (I think I'm doing okay, some days are harder than others.). I don't let it come across in my Social Media. If I go to post something on Facebook, I think 'Does this come across as negative?'. I re-read my tweets to make sure I'm not complaining about things too much. If I think someone is complaining too much, or making everything negative, I don't go back to their page. I wish I could eradicate negativity in my daily life like this. But I can't.

More obvious ways you can be who you want to be, never post a bad picture. Did you know I have a small birthmark on the right side of my face? You'll do well to find a photo of it online. I simply don't post them because I prefer not to - I'm not ashamed of it and I don't hide it in my everyday like, but I just don't want to post pictures of it. I can create the image that I want to. I spend most days wearing the same jeans, joggers or cardigans round the house. Do I post pictures of that? Nope.If you want to visit adult websites and write erotic fiction, but really you are a shy librarian who wouldn't dream of doing that stuff in real life, so what? Social Media is for you.

I love reading beauty blogs and finding reviews of new products. My twitter feed is 50% beauty products and 50% SEO/Social Media people. I love finding obscure articles that not everyone has read. I click links from trusted sources. I retweet things I love - and in return people do the same for me. I never would have discovered 90% of my daily essential reads list if I hadn't stumbled on them through twitter or Pinterest. I can't imagine my slow-cooker would have ever been taken out of the box again without all the amazing recipes and blogs I have found through Pinterest and Instagram. I never would have found some amazing music and DJ's if I hadn't starting using and searching #dj on Instagram and twitter....the list goes on and on and on and on and on....
This is a big one for me. I'm really, really terrible at staying in touch with people ever. I always forget to ring friends, I'm a crap at replying to texts from people at the radio station and I can't remember the last time I emailed my antenatal group. However, I know what every single one of those people is doing because I have them all on twitter, Facebook and probably at least one other site as well. Okay, so it's not a great substitute or a forever one, but I am busy person, and there would definitely be loads of people that I would have lost contact with if it wasn't for twitter. A quick 140 - character message shot across to someone I haven't seen in a while is a cheats way to stay in touch.

It's even more important in business dealings. I like to have everyone I have ever worked with on LinkedIn. That way if a project comes up that they might like to get involved in, or I spot a vacancy I know they would be perfect for, it's easy to share the find. You can keep track of what everyone is doing, making more time for focusing on the people in your personal life. It's like giving someone a business card that will stay glued to the inside of their palm. They won't be able to forget about you - perfect if you are plying for business.
 I once spoke to a high profile celebrity comedian on twitter last year. Duncan Bannatyne retweeted something I said. Philip Schofield follows me and I had a brief chat with a famous ladies-man footballer a few days ago through Instagram. I have famous DJ's liking my photos and some top magazine editors follow my boards on Pinterest. And I'm just me! There is not way I would have these connections with any of these people without social media.
Here's a true story, a little while ago, I had an issue with my mobile phone provider. They cut off my phone after assuring me that had changed the date my payment was due to coincide with my new pay day. Once cut off, I was unable to speak to an advisor outside of working hours, and I was left stuck on a platform in London with no phone and no money. Luckily, I found a WiFi hotspot and I started a viral campaign. I asked people to retweet that I wanted a phone call from the complaints department. I started using a hashtag #badcustomerservice. I tweeted everyone I could find on LinkedIn who worked for the company. I got a call within 2 hours and a £200 credit on my account. Win!

Tip: Asking people to "pls RT" actually works. I don't agree with shortening your words for fact it's enough to put me right off texting someone, but a little 'pls RT!' on the end of a tweet reminds me (and everyone else) to click the little retweet button and help a sister (or brother!) out. Don't forget, if you are known for being a thoughtful retweeter (see my article here on how to avoid being a big Spammy McSpamPants) people will often repay the favour!
Prior to working at the radio, I had a black and white avatar and a very sensible LinkedIn profile that related to my work in recruitment. Once I started the new role and my target market changed, I started using a brighter image and jazzed up my profile. Five minutes later, I look like someone else entirely. The ability to shed your skin and emerge as a new Social Media butterfly is sitting right there waiting for you to take it. You can change your username on twitter RIGHT NOW. Wish you weren't SeXyBaBe69? Can't remember why you chose Ilovetouchingcatbums? Change it. Become who you want to be. Change your background to go with your mood, make your blog banner reflect the seasons. Staying current is as important as posting regular, interesting content. Don't let that Christmas banner stick around until April.

Tip: Having a selection of banners and backgrounds that go with the seasons and international holidays makes this job easier. Often a simple colour change is all that you need. Keep your blog current by having a layout refresh every season. It really does keep your readers motivated to come back.
The Big One as far as I am concerned. Case in point, I was speaking to my Dad during my stay and after launching his website selling antique door furniture ( in December, he has had loads of sales, and around 90% of his referral traffic is from Twitter. A single retweet by a celebrity endorser, a pin that takes off and gets repinned again and again, a post that gets shared more than usual, all these things are *so* unbelievably possible with every mark you make on your Social Media profile, it's worth asking yourself, are you putting enough of your time in Social Media promotion? Letting people know you exists through word of mouth and advertising in your local paper is never, ever going to afford you the reach (and Return On Investment) that the worldwide audience you have right now sitting and waiting to hear what you are doing next. Awesome or what?
Have you heard of Adam Pacitti? He's a jobseeker (well, he was!) who used his last £500 to buy a billboard saying he needs a job. The campaign went viral, he appeared on national television and radio and suddenly had a rush of offers and interviews. Now he about to start presenting his own TV show helping other people get their dream job. Can you imagine? All it takes is an original idea, a clever take on an old story, or something that makes you get noticed by the right person, and Social Media could change your life. Like, today.
Nothing stays the same in the world of technology. Can anyone remember when we all used AIM to chat? No? It was literally a few years ago, but I remember thinking, wow, this is the best thing ever! Until something new came along and was the new best thing ever. There is so much exciting stuff in the pipeline with Social Media, that the opportunity to get yourself seen, heard and listened to like never before is literally just around the corner. I can't wait for the Android Vine app. I so excited to see what happens now that Facebook own Instagram, and this is all just the start! Who knows what the future of Social Media holds? I bet it will be exciting, and offer more ways than ever to connect with like-minded people across the world, who want what you are offering. Fun!

So, phew. That's why I like Social Media. I hope you agree with some of these reasons why it's worth investing your time in developing your web presence. If you are setting up a small business and you are UK based, I offer an initial Brand Awareness Consultation over Skype free of charge. You can contact me via LinkedIn or by email me,

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