A year ago, almost, I decided to out my own and established Socialight Media Kenya, a company that would provide Social Media solutions to Kenyan businesses. This was a big risk first because nobody seemed to care what Social Media could do for businesses and secondly because nobody knew I was nor cared for that matter. I was faceless but a faceless resource. So how do I put my name out there was the question. And the answer was the very solutions that I was selling to businesses.
So come January 2010, I set out blogging. My niche was Social Media and every two days, I would chuck a blog post that dealt with one aspect or another of social media and Kenyan businesses. My focus was not even clients but rather creating content that expressed the need for businesses to appreciate social media. And a lot was happening that content was always at my fingertips. Everywhere I turned were content opportunities which I revelled in and wrote about.
After a couple of posts, I got that first comment which was ecstatic. I got indexed in the various search engines and the traffic to my site started trending upwards. I was showing up in SERPs for a myriad of keywords that I had optimized for and in the second month of blogging, I was already ranking first in SERP’s for Social Media in Kenya. Still I continued blogging. Social Media is something that traversed industries and I went across industries in my coverage of what social media could do for Kenyan businesses.
In the second month of blogging, my first major client contacted me. He had been in conference in the UK where they were told of the importance of social media. On coming back to Kenya, he searched for “Social Media in Kenya” and guess who was sitting pretty at the top of the Search Engine Results Page? So he contacted me and I began work for him. I have since been consulting for him on and off and he has become a really good friend as well.
In March, I was contacted by Kaburo Kobia from Kenya ICT Board to speak on Social Media at the second Tandaa Symposium on Film and Animation. In addition, the traffic to my site, while still descent, had skyrocketed in comparison to the first two months of blogging. The comments were now becoming a regular feature and so were the inquiries by potential clients. This then required that I move from Nakuru where I was initially based to Nairobi.
I remember sitting down for coffee with a couple of gentlemen who had invited me to give them insight on a project they were running after loving my presentation at the Tandaa Symposium. In the ensuing discussions, one of them shared something he had read that was interesting he had bookmarked it. I was smiling so hard (on the inside) because the content he was referring to was a blog post I had written a few months earlier. That was repeated a couple other times in different settings with different people.
Then I was contacted by a gentleman from the Business Daily who wanted me to answer a couple of questions with regard to Social Media. I became a little bit too generous with my answers and he quoted me throughout the Business Daily article on Local Digital Content. Then there is other blogs referring to my content, linking to my content, making my site look really hot to Google bots and hence making Socialight Media rank even higher for social media and related search terms.
Beyond the Kenyan borders, I was really excited when big social media names, people of International repute stopped by and commented on my blog. Amber Naslund, the VP Social Strategy for Radian6 and who blogs at Brass Tack Thinking made my day when she commented on one of my posts on Social Media and Focus Groups. It was also a real honour to have Chris Brogan comment on my post on Facebook currency. And for Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media to commend the post on Twitter was also very flattering.
On a different scale, I have been able to connect with Shel Israel, the famed author and social media influencer who writes at Global Neighbourhoods. Through him, I have been able to connect with some of the greatest minds in the social media scene at a global scale. I have also connected with John F Moore who runs Government in the Lab in Boston for which I signed on as a contributor (I need to do another post for OpenGov) which deals with Open Governments.
I also met Mikul Shah of Eat Out Kenya via social media. He is one Kenya’s brightest entrepreneurial talents with whom we have become really good friends and have a good working relationship. He really is one of the greatest resources and should be a mentor to many upcoming techpreneurs.
Come to think of it, is there anyone that I have connected with, done business with or consulted for, invited me to speak, and become friends with in the past year that I haven’t met via social media? I am really having a hard time figuring out whom. I will let you know if I come up with a name before I am done drafting this post.
Though I can’t really comment on this because these are still in the works, I have received over 5 partnership requests and going into the New Year. Those are what I will spend the next two weeks working on. Some of the partners are International, some are local and none of this would be possible were it not for social media.
I have made many friends. Some have kept me busy tweeting during the long journeys, some have made me laugh really hard because of the obnoxious hashtags the gave birth to really funny tweets, some have wished me well when the flu hit, some have wished me happy birthday, some have bought me a drink or two, some have given me good advice, while others have become really good friends they are now classified as family, and others still we hold great debates that stir the mind. Yes, I have made really good friends.
So yes, my social media year has been really good to me and going into next year with momentum I have today that I didn’t have at the beginning of this year, my social media year next year is bound to be exemplary.
And it all started with a blog, a comment, a tweet, a friend request, a connection request, and those set the stage for the rest of the things that happened.
How was your Social Media year?