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In which an unlikely combination leads to an epiphany….

networking tips small business small business diary starting an online business

Last Thursday I went to a comedy gig in Edinburgh as part of The Fringe. It was an act that I’ve followed for a while on Youtube and was pretty excited to see. One thing I wasn’t expecting was the level of teenage / pre-teen girls. You could have been forgiven for thinking it was a boy band I was seeing instead of a female comedy act for the amount of screaming and squealing that was going on. It was INSANE.

However, it seems that Colleen Ballinger has tapped into something. Whether her dream audience is that of a bunch of prepubescent girls or not she knows how to work it to her advantage. I won’t lie, it was impressive to watch from a business point of view. At the beginning of her performance Colleen urged them NOT to put their phones away and to tweet / Facebook / tumble as much as they wanted. It was free publicity that many companies would pay thousands for. 

No one is more fervent online that demographic. From the moment I joined the line (and began weighing up my odds of sneaking gin into the performance to lessen the annoying constant screaming around me) I was overhearing conversations about who was tweeting who, who had favourited tweets, who was following who now and so on. These kids know how to work social media. There were more hashtags and retweets going on in that line that my twitter account had ever seen!

One conversation caught my attention in particular. Two young girls were sitting behind me in the venue and when I heard them it was a light bulb moment. From a 12 year old. Who knew?

1st 12yr old: She’s one of those girls who just posts pictures of herself all the time and that’s it.  

2nd 12yr old: I know! And then she wonders why no one comments on her pictures.

1st 12yr old: That’s not what it’s for. She’s boring. I don’t want to be one of those twitter users who doesn’t talk to people. Twitter is for speaking to people.

For a while now I’ve been lost with twitter. I just don’t get it. Looking at the accounts I follow I don’t think others get it either. There is literally no conversation. To me twitter is just a bunch of stand alone statements. I scroll through and tweet after tweet has no engagement…but I get it now. You wouldn’t just stand in a room and shout a sentence hoping that someone will carry on a conversation with you. The most you might get is “Who invited the crazy person?” So you can’t expect the same on Twitter.

Because I don’t get it I’ve linked my Facebook to post to Twitter. Which I realise now is even worse. I’m just rehashing my conversations while making little attempt to connect and making even less sense- my words get cut off and replaced with a glaringly obvious “i’m-not-even-trying-this-is-just-a-Facebook-post” link. It’s no wonder I’m not getting anything from it.

While I was turning these thoughts over in my head the next day I read Jenny Hyde’s blog post about the loneliness of having your own business (link at the bottom). I started speaking to her on twitter about it because I was feeling all awesome with my new found 12-year-old’s perspective on connecting. I mentioned to her that social media really helps me (more on that next week folks) and that’s when things started to align in my head. I had a problem and I needed to take control.

So starting from, well, right now I guess, this is the plan- Down with Facebook links to twitter. Death to my unused Tumblr and all hail the resurrected LinkedIn account! Not only do these serve as an invaluable aid to my business but they also keep me sane and let me connect. 

Tumblr was always meant to be an online scrapbook and behind the scenes for Zoe Brennan. That was when I thought it would be easier to post images of great stuff I found online. (Yes I know about Pinterest but I don’t get that either and I’m already dragging these social media accounts along for the ride. Plus I wanted something that could handle various different types of media.) So, I’ve decided to use Tumblr as a sounding board, blog and catalogue for the inner-workings of the business. Think of it as an online diary of a relatively new small business and you’re all welcome to join me on my journey! I might regret being so candid on here but I like to share. I’ve found through Facebook that when you reach out you realise that a lot of small business owners are in the same boat and appreciate your honesty. I will try to post every Sunday if not more often. Please feel free to comment and submit ideas for posts.

Facebook will continue to be the main business page for the public face of Zoe Brennan. Twitter I pledge to engage in more conversations and post NO meaningless links. LinkedIn….well I think I maybe still need a little help on that but we all have to start somewhere.

How do you manage your social media accounts? Do you actively try to engage with others or hope that other’s interact with your content? I’d love to know your hints and tips! 

This is the beginning…welcome to the conversation.

Jenny Hyde’s blog post

Zoe Brennan Facebook 

Zoe Brennan Twitter

Zoe Brennan LinkedIn

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