Social media platforms have been an incredible outlet for those of us who have spent time as "stay at home moms". I have "stayed home" with my kids for more than 10 years and have loved every minute of it. I've had a lot of opportunity to be very involved at the kids' schools, I've done everything from simply being a room mom to managing large fundraisers. I was excited about using my business and project management experience to make lots of money for the school. DING DING Heads up though, running a school fundraiser like a business is social suicide. 'nough said.
Social media was a part of my life before it was even called social media. I joined message boards while trying to conceive and made "friends" with other women who charted their cycles and stocked up on pregnancy tests, only to be disappointed by the 50 discarded negative pregnancy tests. After a miscarriage I spilled my guts to other virtual strangers about the horror and pain I felt at not being able to carry a baby to term. Later I joined a group with due dates in the same month as my sweet baby. We shared the joyful heartburn, weight gain, and other nasty things about pregnancy you'd never actually discuss in the polite company of IRL friends. That group actually stayed together for more than four years before slowly dissipating as life led us to other things. I'm a member of a group on Ebay that began when we were all selling children's clothing.... 7 or 8 years ago! They've seen me through some of the most difficult times and there is a sense of safety in being able to share the deepest darkest and ugliest secrets with people that aren't here in my "real life". Although, they are very real in my life, I've even met several of them in person.
Enter blogging... I started blogging in January of 2009, yep just a year and a half ago. People ask me all the time how I grew my online presence so quickly. I'm sleuth by nature. When I am interested in something I will hunt down every little piece of information and suck it up and savor it as the yummiest piece of buttered toast ever. With blogging it was no different. I started a blog and as soon as I realized that blogging was actually a way I could communicate ideas and converse with other, I set out to make my blog successful. I read all the "how to"'s, followed (nay stalked) the "experst", joined every network, webinar, and started using every tool there was and eventually got gutsy enough to start engaging people on Twitter. I haven't been swept up with all of the reviews and giveaways but you can bet I've been paying attention to how the bloggers and brands are working together. In my quest to learn more, I traveled to conferences and began networking all over the sphere, with PR people, businesses, branding experts etc. I dig it. Honestly, I just like talking about business - I love marketing because it is what drives business, makes money and proves relevance. I could do nothing but just follow people around listening to them talk. That gets a little creepy though, so I try to keep my stalking to a minimum.
The emergence of social media tools has given many women the opportunity to transition from staying at home with their kids to getting out and starting their own businesses. Everything from consulting to turning their blogs and social communities into full fledged revenue earners. I was fortunate to be able to turn my local marketing consultant gig into a full fledged business working with companies all over the country. I would never have been able to apply for a job after 10 years at home and been able to convince someone to give me a chance at the level I have created for myself. I'm fairly proud of what I've been able to do and I'm proud of what we SAHMs are doing every day!
What are some ways that you are using social media tools to grow as a person or as a business?