Samantha is a leading social media strategist, speaker and trainer. Samantha owns and operates Tweeting Goddess. With the support of her team, Samantha plans and delivers effective social media strategies to businesses and entrepreneurs, harnessing the power of social media and the online community. She is passionate about teaching businesses how to leverage social media effectively and add real value to their business. She works with clients to progress brand growth, defining social media strategy with clear and precise targeting. Ultimately, increasing the correct audience reach for business.
She is a dynamic and engaging speaker and trainer, and has been sought after to deliver training courses to many businesses including Hewlett Packard, HSE and the Irish League of Credit Unions. Samantha is the founder of Social Media Summit Ireland. This is an annual conference which brought together leading Social Media Professionals, both national and international. Samantha is also the co-founder of the Women’s Inspire Network, a support network which connects and empowers female led businesses. Originally an online support network, Women’s Inspire Network now hosts bi-annual national conferences for female entrepreneurs and female led businesses.
HERizon: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you’ve ended up with 40,700 twitter followers?
Samantha: I started out about 5 years ago with a different business called ‘Funky Goddess’, a gift box for girl’s first period. It was a bit of a taboo subject, so it got a lot of media attention. I started that with no experience in business. I was at a real crossroads – I was a lone parent at the time, my daughter was just about to start school and my Dad had just died which was a real turning point for me. I decided to go for it and start my own business. I had no money. My sister put me up on Twitter. Between 9-11pm is the busiest time on Twitter so I would sit in my pyjamas talking to other mums and then lone fathers, aunties, grannies – I just started talking to people.
I didn’t realise I was building relationships. I was a bit lonely as well so it was nice for me to talk to other adults. Then I started talking to other business owners and I realized that I wasn’t alone. I started to get involved in communities. Really encouraging and supporting others along the way. Suddenly, my following started to rise.
HERizon: What do you think was your appeal that attracted thousands of followers?
Samantha: I was keeping it real and raising issues that were common to other people working from home. And I knew that I wasn’t the only one experiencing challenges like getting grants, getting media coverage as a small business with no budget. I had to find ways to get my product out there and get on TV. I ended up on Dragon’s Den which was a huge turning point. People could see the human behind the business. Honesty helped a lot and also the fact that people could see that if someone like me on their own can do it so could they. I started adding value by asking people about their own experiences.
HERizon: Were people sharing their business or personal experiences with you?
Samantha: For my business ‘Funky Goddess’, I asked a lone father with three teenage fathers about his experiences. I understood how important storytelling was and how important it was for people to tell the story of their own experiences so that people could understand and identify with it. I could see that the reaction to those blog posts was generating more PR. Kevin who wrote my posts was brilliant. Then he was contacted by The John Murray Show on RTE and he had a poetry book coming out. I could see how the chain reaction and the domino effect works on social media.
HERizon: Women generally have amazing networks and you must have an incredible one?
Samantha: I do and I’ve nurtured these relationships. I’ve met so many people for coffee.
HERizon: How did your business progress:
Samantha: When I went on Dragons Den, I was offered funding which didn’t materialize so I found that I was still in the same situation. I needed to buy in bulk – 30,000 boxes and get all the stock from China. I needed to start making a profit and when that didn’t happen I had to shelve ‘Funky Goddess’. I did sell that business later. But while I was shelving it, White’s Hotel in Wexford approached me wanting to know how I attracted so many followers on Twitter and could I show them how to do it too. So, they became my first client. I started running their account by going back to all their previous customers and having chats with those customers. Suddenly, White’s clicks to sale went up by 15%! That’s when I realized the power of Twitter and that most businesses were not talking to their customers properly. They were only using Twitter as an advertising platform. This is when I discovered the ‘secret sauce’.
HERizon: So, now you work on numerous digital campaigns for clients in many different industries. how do you fit all this work in?
Samantha: First of all, I have an amazing team around me including Helena Gilhooly, my community manager, Gill McKenna, my virtual assistant who’s wonderful and does all my paperwork: emails, invoicing, diary bookings. I would highly recommend getting a virtual assistant. It’s not expensive and it allows me to concentrate on the cool stuff that I’m good at. Marie is brilliant on my graphics and Facebook ads. Esther updates the website and emails the newsletters. I’ve just surrounded myself with a great team. We work on a plan and highlight what needs to be done each week. The team do the physical tweets and I have all the accounts on my phone. I do all the engagement, checking notifications.
HERizon: Why do people hire you?
Samantha: People in business often don’t want to do social media. They might be great at what they do businesswise but might be terrible on social media. We all can’t be brilliant at everything. I concentrate on what I’m good at which is engagement.
HERizon: How many different campaigns are you involved in on a weekly basis?
Samantha: 15 different clients, 2 campaigns per week typically though it changes every week. Summer is quieter and crowd casts are a brilliant learning opportunity so we have time for those.
We have clients who are accountants, hotels, food companies, event organisers, even banks have hired me to increase attendances at their events. I train clients on Skype and they can do it themselves after a month.
HERizon: You’ve also set up The Women’s Inspire Network. What exactly is that?
Samantha: I noticed that when I was speaking at events, I had missed talking to people. I was feeling isolated. I missed having that little coffee break. The people approaching me at events were my followers: women between the age of 35-55 which is the Twitter demographic. I used to run Irish BizParty events and most of those attending were women. So, I thought maybe I should set up a Women’s Business Network. I had some bad experiences attending women’s events. I found them intimidating. I was talking about social media, taking a selfie. I felt I wasn’t being taken seriously. So, I wanted to set up a business women’s network that was more laid back. Where female entrepreneurs that were creative could meet other people. It’s about women inspiring each other.
HERizon: How’s it going?
Samantha: It’s going great. 70 paid up members since June. We also have 7,000 members on our Facebook group. The trick is to convert those into paying members. People want stuff for free and people don’t always realise the value of learning. We are getting members from all over the world because they’re getting value from our tips about Twitter.
HERizon: You work a lot with women, what do you notice in the female business landscape right now?
Samantha: You don’t have to be a bitch to succeed in business. The more people you help and the more genuine you are, and the more you share your knowledge and how you’ve overcome certain things, the more people are going to want to be part of that. There are so many people just like you who genuinely do want to do good, they have a purpose, they are as passionate as you are and they don’t want to hang out with people who drag others down.
Don’t be afraid to ask and reach out for help. We all need a bit of help. Business is a roller roaster. It takes a lot of hard work.
Also, we all have a unique selling point. Hang onto that unique individuality. Be yourself. People try to copy me. They can’t be me. My unique selling point is I am Samantha Kelly.
If you feel something is wrong, don’t take part in it.
Ask for an introduction. Sometimes people are busy. Email a couple of times.
HERizon: Do you have Top 3 tips for women promoting themselves digitally?
- Write articles showing that you’re the expert in what you do. I write all my own blogs. My advice on writing an article is to list the five top tips and then if you aren’t confident with your article you can always hire someone to polish it up.
- I do Twitter polls and get people’s opinions on certain topics and then when you get the results you can use that as a blog post. Use surveys, for example, ask your audience ‘what’s the most confusing social media platform’.
- Express your opinion. Don’t get involved in controversy. Linkedin and Twitter are the most powerful platforms for Business to Business. If people like your article, they’ll share it and then people are doing your marketing for you.
HERizon: What do you think are the core strengths of women?
Samantha: Multitasking, nurturing relationships, taking relationships from online to offline. Supporting others. There are a lot of good men out there. Women can learn from men too. Some women are not good at asking for money. Knowing your worth is so important. That needs to be taught more. Women need to price their time better.
Herizon: What are your plans?
Samantha: I want to keep adding value. My members are female entrepreneurs. I can’t just build the membership and not give value. To make our event on the 10th October in Radisson blue in Dublin airport. I want international members. The magic is happening on line. We can have women all over the world sitting in their kitchens joining in on our crowd casts. We could have events in the UK and US, members supporting each other.
Herizon: Women’s Inspire Network isn’t just about business. it feels like a real community.
Samantha: Mostly we have female entrepreneurs some of our members are retailers but many are working online. Some are hobby businesses, charities. We have a blogging workshop tomorrow. It’s about meeting off-line and making friendships too. A big part of women’s inspire that makes us different is that we message each other about support each other in life.
For Women Inspire Network Information
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