Hi everyone. I have the urge to communicate my thoughts about this whole social media malarkey. I can't imagine I'm alone in my opinions about it so here goes.
I appreciate that social media is crucial, even critical, to businesses especially fledgling businesses like mine. I started my company, Angela Bunt Creative, in November 2014 as an interior decorator after working for 15 years in the financial services. As an employee of a large financial company, I dabbled in Facebook and Pinterest purely for fun and it was actually quite pleasurable to communicate spontaneously with family & friends on Facebook and to save images of things I liked into aptly named boards on Pinterest purely for the hell of it. I didn't do Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or any of the other channels.
But that was to change once I started my own business. The worst thing is that all the pleasure of using social media evaporated and it suddenly became a necessity, a chore, at times bordering on an obsession (sometimes I'm on social media in the middle of the night if I can't sleep!). Don't get me wrong, I totally get why social media is so important to businesses but boy does it take the fun out of so much that we do spontaneously. For example, once I signed up to Instagram I found myself wanting to photograph every meal that I ate in a restaurant or cooked at home, every nature scene, urban scene, cute baby/child/animal, water, buildings, nature and on and on. It is ridiculous, you can't look at anything without thinking "Ah ha, that would make a great photo on Instagram and might bring me new followers!". And Pinterest, well I use it for my clients and it's great - I set up a board (protected so that only the client and I have access) and we can share images which saves time and ultimately saves the client money. But filling up boards with photos just for the hell of it or to get followers and/or likes is crazy. And Twitter, I love this form of social media but I'm so rubbish at it and I find it really difficult to learn how to be clever, humorous and concise. It's like a whole lingo that you have to learn. I speak and write fluent Italian plus basic French and Spanish but Twitter, well I'm exhausted just thinking about how to learn the lingo!!
Social media is all about manipulating it in your favour to gain recognition and ultimately, hopefully, business or at a minimum, kudos. At worst it's a way to be worshipped and adored which a lot of people crave or need. But the majority of us just want to be normal people where we can be ourselves. I've learned a harsh lesson since I started my own business i.e. you can't be spontaneous and not always yourself as you are constantly thinking what you can do to promote yourself. I love my blog, Flair Fairy, as it's the one place in all of the social media channels that I use where I feel I can truly be myself. If I want to post a recipe of something I've just cooked then I do just that; if I feel the need to recharge my batteries by spending a few hours at Petersham Nurseries savouring the surroundings and food, photographing the beautiful styling in their glasshouses and then sharing that with you on my blog, I do it; or just posting something spontaneously that is dear to my heart or about which I'm passionate I feel I can do so. Unfortunately it is never the same on social media channels as there's always an ulterior motive.
Being successful on social media is all about your USP (Unique Selling Point). You need to come up with a USP that (hopefully) "goes viral" as they say. Here's a great story, I have a roofer who has been fixing my roof for 20 years. I discovered last weekend that he is passionate about reggae and 18 months ago his daughter started posting 15 second videos on Instagram of him singing along to Reggae tracks. He now has 16,700 followers on Instagram and over 14,000 on Facebook!! How crazy is that?!! Check him out OriginalPapaCrook. He's a normal, regular guy who fixes people's roofs; he's passionate about his family, is really humble and shy and has this magical ability to sing and dance reggae. He has more followers on Instagram than Maxi Priest!!!!!! So here's a guy that has a defined USP i.e. reggae, and the proof is in the number of followers he has on social media. I told him to ditch roofing and make a career of his music. I hope he succeeds as he's fantastic. Check him out.
As those of you who know me, by nature I'm very spontaneous. I'm passionate about a lot of things having been a national level competitive swimmer, a semi-professional cellist, a professional florist, a data integrity specialist (in the financial services). Pardon the pun but I have a lot of strings to my bow. Also, I continue to be a passionate cook, a health freak, working out at the gym, doing Pilates and I've always been crazy about style (fashion and interiors), colour and most of all nature. I'm a totally visual person which is why I love photography so much and having recently purchased my first ever DSLR camera (a Nikon D5500) I find myself framing photos in my head purely to be able to take the perfect photo and not so that I can publish it on social media. But of course I do publish some of my photos on social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) because a) I want to share them with people (that's my spontaneous side) and b) because it's expected of me as a user of social media.
Then I trained as an interior designer and started my own business, Angela Bunt Creative and everything changed. Don't get me wrong, I love my new career and feel that finally I'm doing what I truly love, being creative and helping people to transform their homes into spaces they can be proud of. I cannot avoid bringing the outside in so I always encourage my clients to style their rooms with flowers and/or plants. Sorry I'm getting sidetracked. What I wanted to say is that I'm struggling with this whole USP thingy. I don't consider myself to be a one-trick pony so I therefore struggle to create a USP. My motto is "you can't take the florist out of the girl". I haven't worked full-time as a florist since the early 80s (apart from helping out occasionally at my local florist, Jayne Copperwaite Flowers, when she's really busy. However I find that I cannot live without flowers in my home, I cannot resist clicking "like" to lovely photos of flowers and plants on Instagram or Pinterest, I cannot help myself from photographing beautiful flowers, plants or nature scenes and most of all I always style rooms for clients with flowers and plants. I'm all about colour. Maybe that should be my USP? Or should it be flowers, styling with flowers? I just don't know. What do you think? I would be really grateful for your feedback. Do you identify with any of what I state above? Am I showing my age by ranting about social media?!
Unusually this blog post is bereft of beautiful images; it's all about the words this time! I look forward to your feedback so PLEASE comment.