By Atim Annette Oton, December 2009
In August 2009, I began my exploration and experimentation in Social Media for my business, Calabar Imports, and my publication, Calabar Magazine. The goal was to move towards a comprehensive business strategy of using social media to grow my business and communicate with my customers, not short-tem, but long-term with 2 simplest rules: Build Relationships and Become an Expert.
LinkedIn: The Business Network
In the last six months, I began first with LinkedIn – growing from 150 members to about 900 with a clear strategy of a project: African Design Now, a design symposium in Lagos, Nigeria in 2011, to show the diversity of design and designers in Africa and across the world. This project, though 2 years away, is one of the prime projects for Calabar Imports and Calabar Magazine in 2011. The goals were simple – reach 500 attendees, begin to develop press connections and seek other sponsors.
Facebook: The Social Network with a business twist
The next step, move to Facebook and begin marketing the project and the ideas about the symposium. With Facebook, I began with 200 members and garnered about 1000 members and also joined about 20 groups. The rule here was to begin posting critical information on black design and designers as well as unique internet new media links. This process involved sharing information I was reading on retail, social media, design, internet, and jobs. What I noticed after three months, Facebook was and still is a better social tool for business than LinkedIn – people communicate much easily and give feedback instantly. Importantly, I began to transform into a quasi-expert, and was building new relationships which were further enhanced by my creation of a group: Black Design Network. For me, Facebook is a good business to business and business to consumer tool, use it wisely though.
Twitter: 140 words of Short Dialogue and to the point communication
Somewhere in the midst of my social media experimentation, I recalled that I had a Twitter account and downloaded TweetDeck so I could combine my tweets on Twitter with Facebook plus link my account to LinkedIn. Tedious, No, but as simple as it was, it required that I knew what to do. I can say definitely, I am not a “short” talker – I love to elaborate and Twitter does not. I still am not focused on this social platform…but I think the best time I had was at a conference on African Art where I tweeted. My goal for 2010 – hire a Gen Y person for this short speaking medium.
What next? I am sure I will move to the next new medium. But these days, I am a regular Facebooker and just moved to update my publication website in WordPress incorporating social media so as I upload old and new articles, I can share it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Atim Annette Oton, Nigerian-born, U.S. and British educated architectural designer, is a culture writer/editor/publisher and entrepreneur of Calabar Imports in Brooklyn, New York and the editor of Calabar Magazine. She can be reached at Facebook and LinkedIn as well as Twitter (under Calabar and her name)