April Social Media Star: Megan Calhoun
Social media has opened up many new ways for people to communicate and interact daily, and TwitterMoms.com has become the place to be for social media mommies! TwitterMoms.com started off with only four members, but quickly grew to 1,500 in three short weeks, and has since been featured in TechCrunch, Forbes.com, RedBookMag.com, Yahoo and more.
Megan Calhoun, the founder of TwitterMoms.com and master of social media, has grown this online community to 25,000 active TwitterMoms (including several of our team members here at Step Ahead!). Megan saw the importance of social media early on, and once she found Twitter, nothing could hold her back. She now spends between eight and 12 hours a day using social media to run TwitterMoms.com and scour the web for cool, exclusive opportunities for members, so we can safely say that she is one very well connected TwitterMom!
Here’s what Megan had to say about social media:
What is your job/company/profession/title?
Founder and CEO of Megan Media LLC. I started a community for moms who love Twitter called TwitterMoms.com.
What was the first social media technology you used?
Facebook, but I later found Twitter and fell in love with it. It’s a different way to keep connected with people who share your passions.
What is your favorite social media tool?
Besides TwitterMoms.com, I’d have to say Twitter and my trusty iPhone.
How did you come up with the idea for TwitterMoms?
As a stay-at-home mom, you sometimes don’t get enough grown-up interaction during the day. My husband introduced me to Twitter, and I discovered some amazing moms who I could really relate to and connect with on the service. The trouble was, there wasn’t a great way for moms to find each other and make connections. On Sept. 2, I roughed out an idea to create a moms-only directory site using Ning.com, a free “build your own social network” service. I added the URL to my Twitter.com profile and the next morning four moms had joined the site and started making themselves at home. Three weeks later, we topped 1,500 members, found ourselves featured in TechCrunch, and have been focused on serving the needs of this unique community ever since. Today, there are about 25,000 active TwitterMoms.
How have you used social media to promote your business/company and how has it benefited?
Everything about our business is social — from the members of our community to the platform we use to host our service to the communications tools we use to keep our members engaged and active. We have no engineers, no technical team, no board of directors, no investors, no marketing budget. We couldn’t build a community like this without leveraging the sort of “Web 2.0″ tools and services on the market today. While lots of businesses look at social media from a promotional angle, we view it as our DNA. It keeps our costs down so we can focus on giving our members more of what they find value in: connections, media opportunities, sponsorships for their blogs, advice from peers, tools for building their personal brands and more. Social media has allowed us to grow and offer new things.
How much time would you say you spend a day engaging social media?
I’m like a junkie who hit the jackpot: I’ve taken my passion for moms and social media and turned it into a small business. It gives me the freedom to be connected eight to 12 hours a day, although I find myself spending more time administering TwitterMoms.com and working to find cool, exclusive opportunities we can offer to our members.
How do you incorporate it into your day so it’s not a time waster?
Well, I don’t see social media as a time waster. To me, it’s a great way to network, meet amazing people, help others make great connections and discover who is really doing innovative things. Social media is a wonderful way to connect with people from all over the world you might otherwise never have met.
What’s your best tip for using social media for business?
Get to know people. Listen. Find out how you can help them. Even simply showing an interest in what people are doing is a great way to build relationships with customers. It’s a two-way street. Reciprocate. Think of social media like one big cocktail party. If you were just talking all about yourself and never showed any interest in what the other people were doing, you would be standing all alone. Same goes for social media – be social.
Is there a social media tool/technique that you think is underutilized that you would like people to know about?
There are any number of services we know, use, and love around TwitterMoms.com: Ning.com, tumblr and posterous to name a few.