Reading an excellent book called Socialnomics by Erik Qualman who shares a number of stories on how social media can have an impact on our lives.  I will be writing a review on this book shortly.

One particular story stood out for me as it showed how powerful social media is in terms of creating opportunities for everyone.

Here you have two guys from Seattle, Justin and David  who jokingly said, “wouldn’t it be great if there was a powder that made everything taste like bacon”.

David  started a MySpace profile and called it Bacon Salt.  They then looked for  people on Myspace who had bacon in their profiles which amounted to 35,000. They then tried to find out from these people what their interest would be in Bacon Salt.  There was lots of interest and they started receiving orders for a product they didn’t have.  Word of mouth took over and it became viral. Long story short they ended up selling over 600,000 bottles in 18 months, beginning with no product, a few cheap spice bottles, printed Bacon Salt logos and scotch tape. The bottle and brand was built entirely using social media.

Reading this reminded me a bit of my own business, when I first started.  I did not do any offline advertising, I still don’t do any, all my customers come via social media.  I am also currently exploring 2 joint venture opportunities with two people I met through Twitter  and I am flying to South Africa  to run a social media workshop called Africa Wired, I met Mariéme via an online social network.   I connected with Geoffrey Gordon from my home country in South Africa, we have a lot in common and looking at ways we can work together.

The other day, I connected with Antoinne via an online community site, and helped him get started on Twitter and discovered he has a very interesting community site for divers, called My Dive Album a place where divers can post their videos and log their dives.

There are many business owners who  have made connections with others which turned into excellent results.
Dakar Dragons a group of business owners who connected via social media to work on the Viola Vaughn, 10,0000 girls project.  Better Networking Surf the Web competition, business owners who put together an incredible prize to help a business owner to  kick start their business, again these people connected via social media and lastly.

The other day I needed a bio written urgently, I did not got the yellow pages, no, I immediately went to my Twitter followers and sent Nikki of The Wordwell a dm asking her if she would write one for me.

A shift has taken place, it has become an equal opportunities market.  Before web 2.0 and social media, to start a business was really quite difficult, having the idea, putting it together was the easy part.  The hard part was to market your business and get customers.  TV, radio and magazine advertising was over the top expensive, so only people or companies with a very large budget could afford to advertise.  The only way a small business owner could advertise was via telemarketing,  cold calling, flyer distribution, newspaper, notice boards which only reached people within your town or community and let’s be honest it was a lot of hard work for the return on investment.

If you had a special talent, like singing, music, dancing, acting, you had to go through a lot of red tape to try and make yourself heard.  If you lived in a country outside USA or UK, your chances of being discovered was zero, unless you went to the USA or the UK.

This is such an exciting time, sites like Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace,  BT Tradespace, MyGenius, Better Networking, etc. are creating an equal opportunities market.  For the first time,  customers are in control, new talent is being discovered and business opportunities are being ignited with people who would’ve never met  if they had not started using social media.

I would love to hear your story of how you found social media working for you and your business.

Romany Thresher

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