If you want a few tips on getting social media right for building a following, a brand and commercial returns then the backwoods of Alaska is a pretty good place to start.
Stay-at-home mum, Ana White started writing a do-it-yourself carpentry blog from her home in Delta Junction, Alaska about 2 years ago (she started with dial up). Today she has about 3 million unique page views a month, 50,000 fans on facebook, 2500 twitter followers and 30 Youtube videos.
Ana started by posting the plans for a farmhouse bed and then committed to blogging every day for a year after that. She posted plans and ideas on building chairs, tables, doors - all kinds of wooden stuff.
People loved the blog (especially women) and they flocked to it, the blog hit 1 million page views in just 3 months (and the audience stayed).
Ana’s secret is no big secret in the world of social media, sharing. She shared ideas on carpentry and she shared her life with readers as well. Readers not only got great inspiration and tips on making all kinds of cool stuff, they got a glimpse into Ana’s world as well, her child, her husband and life at – 40 F.
Ana also ensured the content was free. There are hundreds of plans on the site and she could easily have charged people to download them. She resisted saying single mums should be able to afford to make good furniture too.
She made sure she gave her fan base plenty of opportunity to interact with her and other fans. She started a separate ‘brag’ blog for her fans to profile work they have made.
She also started a facebook page (now with 50,000 friends) that allows her audience to interact with each other and give each other advice.
And a tip here, she chose to allow posts from fans to be publicly viewable to ensure the page will be more about fans helping fans.
She added simple but useful Youtube demonstrations.
Ana’s social media programme is now in its third year and she’s discovered that the majority of her traffic now comes from Pinterest, the site that lets members pin images of their favourite things to virtual pinboards. Members see things they like and “Repin” them – the fact she has done a great job of photographing all her work and placing it on her site really pays off here.
Ana grows this traffic source by encouraging people to ‘pin’ she includes a ‘pin it right now’ tab on all her pages. She also gives readers hints on how to take better photos so that there is a greater chance they will be ‘pinned’.
Has all of this blogging and posting and tweeting and pinning been worth it? Hell yeah! The site now has big time sponsors like Lowe’s and Woman’s Day. A book deal has also been agreed upon.
So the short of this social media success story; share not just information on the topic but yourself too, invite people in, be passionate, tell stories, take good photos, encourage others to take good photos, encourage user content and interaction, give it time to build and avoid frost bite and bears.