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Kick start diary: Month 5

It has been three months since we launched www.mumsonthego.com.au and we have achieved an enormous amount, but I still can’t shake the feeling we’re hardly progressing at all. As Linda and I are only working part-time, we need to be realistic about what can be achieved; the behind-the-scenes machinations of actually running the business seem to eat up a lot of our time!

Linda blogged last month about the “nuts and bolts” of what we are doing – such as working away at adding listings to our directory. This month I thought I’d share with you our experiences & the lessons we’ve learned with social media and PR.

Social Media

During the initial kick start session, our panel spoke about the importance of Social Media – but they also warned that not all businesses get it right.

We have blogged about how we used Facebook to connect with our community in finding a suitable name when we realized we couldn’t trademark Yummy Mummy Guide, which was a fabulous success for us.

Since then, we use our Facebook page to achieve 2 objectives:
1. Connect to our community in an informal way by starting conversations
2. Drive our community to our website by posting info about the latest articles, polls, and blogs.

A single post can sometimes achieve both these objectives, but not all the time. We have found that the women in our community do want to chat about the small stuff more often than the big stuff (so asking questions about favorite holiday destinations are more likely to get a larger response than asking questions about how couples successfully divide parenting & housework responsibilities between them). So we actively try to provide a balance of both.
 
Another lesson I’ve learned through our Facebook page/ social media is around the issue of give-aways. I thought if the give-aways were attractive enough, they would drive our likers through the roof. They didn’t!

Also, we didn’t have very many people enter the competitions (The criteria was ‘describe in 25 words or less). So next time we will simplify the criteria, and do a random number rather than ask the community to write something.

The giveaways were still valuable to us because it is a terrific feeling to be giving something tangible to your community, however, next time I won’t look at it as something we will necessarily get much out of in terms of new likers or numbers of people who enter.

The most successful way we have found new likers is from the reciprocal visiting and posting comments on other small businesses/like-minded communities pages. It only takes a couple of minutes each day, but it is a good habit to post on others’ walls interesting.funny/observational things – the trick is to not do it in a sales-y way.

PR

I’m sure you’re all aware that sending out a media release telling the world you exist isn’t generally the most effective way of generating publicity. (That’s why we have an advertising industry!)

The PR approach we’ve decided to take is to distribute media releases when we have something to say about an issue that is already generating coverage. I call it “re-ax” PR. (It is our reaction to the news angle/news item).

There’ve been a few “mum” issues lately and so we decided to chance our arm and see how we went. The first PR we did was in relation to a newspaper opinion piece. Fill-in Sky TV newsreader Jacinta Tynan wrote about how easy motherhood is, and how Gen X mums are complete whinging pains and should get over themselves. We wrote our own blog about it, arguing that it is wonderful she has found it easy, but many mums struggle, and her comments are insensitive to those women. We then posted a few sentences from the blog on other popular mum blogs and websites that were also discussing the issue. This was very successful in doubling our visitor stats for the week.

The very next week another celebrity model Giselle Bunchen decided to tell the world that it is should be mandatory for all mothers to breastfeed. We coined a phrase in the Jacinta Tynan piece – Mum-upmanship. So we built a media release around this term and the recent celebrity examples. We sent it to talkback radio stations and morning TV shows. We were lucky enough to snag an interview on 702’s James Valentine show. On the day of the media release, our visitor stats doubled (meaning journalists visited our site, which is terrific) and the following day the radio exposure was a thrill. But surprisingly, the Google Analytics stats didn’t spike the way I expected. However, I think that we can’t underestimate word of mouth from the interview, and this takes longer to see.
 
In the coming month, we will be putting more resources into our directory once again. We have been waiting for our web developer to bring online the ability for us to have star ratings and reviews/comments to our directory listings. Yippee – can’t wait!

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