Q 1. You initially started your blog as a personal blog, do you think it is now a ‘business blog’ or is it very much a mix of the two?
When I enrolled in my University course (2009) I made a decision to clean up my act just in case any of my classmates (or lecturers) started to read the blog. So right now, it is a healthy mix of the two. I hope, that as I attract more readers, I will be able to entice them to buy my book once it is released for sale.
Q 2. Do you think making your blog so personal about family life is part of its success and appeal?
I am a non-fiction writer. I just write what I know, see and feel. I think that many of my readers are hungry. Hungry for stories of love, food, family and fowl. I think that a lot of them are like me and have to deal with the day to day frustrations of having a high-maintenance-husband (ha ha) and being buried under an enormous load of laundry. People can relate to me, and my life.
Q 3. How important is the blog going to be regarding the online promotion of your book?
I think it is a vital. Lots of people use Facebook and Twitter. But there are also those that aren’t using them and still read blogs. They like to read at their leisure and not be pushed into it with a poke or a tweet.
Q 4. You recently had a great giveaway and asked people to sign up to updates from your blog by email as a means of entering the giveaway – did this work well for you?
This worked extremely well for me. My goal is to sell 1,000 books in print and 1,000 eBooks. After researching many marketing strategies I calculated I need to have 5,000 – 7,000 fans or email addresses. This is not an easy number to achieve overnight. Having a database of people’s email addresses gives me access to sending a reader a special message to say ‘thanks for reading and commenting’ and it opens up a new door of communication.
Q 5. How did you succeed in growing your fan base on your Wise Words Facebook page so quickly?
- First of all, I am fairly well connected. I asked acquaintances, friends, teachers and fellow students by email to share my blog and Facebook page with their friends and co-workers.
- I also installed an app called Wise Stamp on all my outgoing emails. This makes it easy and instant for anyone to hit ‘like’ without having to go to the actual FB page.
- I looked up the email addresses of previous clients. I am still getting old customers emailing me delighted that I ‘found’ them and they are all signing up on FB and via email to the blog.
- I asked good and trusted friends to like my page and to spread the word. I figured if I asked 15 friends to ask 15 of their friends to like my FB page, then I would have a decent shot at getting a few more fans. It was the old fashioned ‘word of mouth’ strategy. I try not to duplicate what I do on my personal page.
- And last but not least, during the last week of September Facebook sent me a €30 coupon to run an advert and I ran it for a week targeting a specific age range and nationality. Whilst it was great to get ‘free money’ for advertising, I did not think this was very effective. I believe the personal connections I have, in friends, families and co-workers has a lot more power.
Q 6. What do you think is the ‘secret’ to a good facebook page?
It is the exact same as the secret to success for any business. Take care of your customers. Engage with them. Nurture them. Give them something interesting to read or look at or buy. I am a communicator and will always respond to those who comment on my page or blog.
If someone comes into your establishment and wants to spend their hard earned cash, you need to take excellent care of them. If you do this right, every time, then you will gain a customer for life. We no longer have our restaurant but I treat my readers like they are a paying customer, because, someday I will want them to buy something from me.
Q 7. I know you write for some offline publications – did your online presence help to create that opportunity?
No. I will never be the writer that sits around waiting for the publisher to call me. When I initially emailed the Galway Now Magazine and asked them if they would be interested in any of my pieces, they said ‘No’. The hardest part of being a writer is the rejection. That same day I printed out a draft of my book proposal and drove over to their office and phoned the editor from the car park.
I asked her if we could meet so I could show her what I was working on and why I thought it would be a good fit for her magazine. She let me in for a meeting. She really liked me AND my writing. She also liked the fact that I had done my homework and knew my food angle would fit in to the magazine. That was six months ago and I am working on my Christmas contribution this week.
Q 8. Do you think attending blogging network meetings are time well spent for SMEs?
I am seriously considering setting up a Bloggers Network in Galway. For any business having open channels of communication is imperative. People read blogs. There is so much room to put a personal stamp on whatever it is you are selling and I wish more businesses would take advantage and blog about what they do. Having a social media presence means you can keep your name at the forefront of your customers minds.
As you can see, Móna is utilising two social media tools well to spread brand awareness so her audience will be ‘ready’ when the book is published.
Are you a small business using social media to spread brand awareness? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.