Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Leanne MacDuff of 'Tailor Made Social' - How Social Media Changed My Life...

How social media changed my life... 
From the way I communicate my friends, family and the community around me, the format of which I write, and the level of communication I make on a daily basis has increased dramatically.

 My first social networking account was with Bebo, back in 2005, which was the year they launched. My first blog was with blogspot, or blogger as its known now, which I started in 2006; Sharing photographs, writing posts, and checking out friends profiles skins to make sure I stood up to the test of coolness that had become the norm for me.

 Social media wasn’t a phrase I was aware of back then. Bebo was very much in its boom time, and particularly popular within my Scottish Community.

  After spending a few years in the North of England, I finally succumbed to Facebook’s way as it became the growing trend with all my English friends, and very soon it would have all my Scottish friends too.

 Twitter came a few years later for me, although I had opened an account back then, it pretty much lay dormant for a year or so before I picked it up again. So you can see, it was natural and gradual movement, one that changed a lot of how I think and view the world. As each network updated and changed it opened up more untapped pockets of information and insight to people that you would have never before got access to, unless you were close friends with them.

  The most intriguing aspect of social media for me is the ability to reach a world beyond your community and build your own, with video, photographs, your own content and a layering of various network sites.

 My first blog reached over 10 countries, in a few short months with over 2000 views without any SEO or PR behind it at all. I had no clue what SEO was back then. My only interest was sharing relevant and helpful content that people could gain encouragement, or inspiration from should they find my blog.

 In 2011, I was given my first paid role as blogger, which quickly grew to sole social media strategist and copywriter for an international marketing company.

 For the first five months I pretty much studied every waking hour, finding an underlying passion for branding, business and marketing only stirring me on to commit and know more. I learnt a lot in that time, and over the next year began teaching some of those ideas both to clients, and in-house staff as we began to take more help on board. 

 One of the biggest challenges for people was understanding what social media meant for their business. Many understood they had to have a blog now, and some social presence, but time and losing the purse strings of speech within their organization has continued to be a sensitive subject.

 I believe social media marketing is so fundamental to any business that it should be taken care of by the business itself, and as my life was radically changed by it I knew there were ways I could help them do this too without robbing the bank, and essentially giving away the heart of their business to an outside source, with no contingency plan.

 A year later, I set up Tailor Made Social as a cost-efficient solution to social media marketing using my own online and offline programme. I believe I can teach businesses to focus on bridging the gap between their business, their consumer and their employees, which at the moment there is still a real disconnect between all three.

 The reality is, within the marketplace today, we are spoilt for choice. To survive in today’s market you must offer something completely unique, or much cheaper than anyone else and you must be able to build a relationship with your customer before they even hit your shop floor. In my own opinion, there is a real opportunity to connect with people in places we were never able to reach before on our own, or without a rather large bank account; in a nutshell that is how social media has changed my life.

Writer, blogger and passionate business woman, Leanne MacDuff is helping businesses in the UK bridge the gap between their consumers, and their employees online and offline via her social media training business, Tailor Made Social
When Leanne is not working on the business she can be found speaking, or writing on motivational topics that include, leadership, customer service, social media marketing, and woman in business. Recent speaking engagements include the Scottish Ruby Conference 2012, and other top agencies in UK where she works as a freelance social media trainer. 
You can connect with Leanne on Twitter @leemac85, or over at The Social Exchange


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