By September 18, 2012 Read More →

Social media: a lifeline for working from home

Staying in touch while working from home

Social media- a lifeline for working from home, Melanie Mackie, Scarletta MediaToday I’m delighted to introduce Melanie Mackie, whose first post looks at the importance of social media when working from home:

Social media is a lifeline for me working from home. Prior to setting up my own business I worked in a corporate office environment and was used to having a team around me to work together, bounce ideas around, drink tea with and chat about the latest TV shows. I was there to work but I felt part of a team and corporate tribe.

After the initial euphoria wore off that I was in charge of my own destiny, diary and day-to-day activity, it was a massive adjustment working from home and the biggest thing I missed was people.

The best thing I did to help overcome my isolation was using social media. It was and still is today my lifeline to the outside world. Social media helps me feel connected and part of a wider global social community and I know just how important this is to my well being, especially during the dark and cold winter months when I am reluctant to leave the house.

My business is to be social, so I am fortunate to spend a lot of time using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for my work. Social networking is a big part of my day-to-day activity and I use social media to connect with like-minded people so that when those moments of isolation hit, I spend some time on Twitter or Facebook to see what my virtual friends have been up to. And then get back to work.

My biggest tip for those working from home is to use social media to network and participate with on-line conversations and to avoid being anti-social. Sitting on the sidelines and lurking won’t create valuable connections for you. Take some time out during your day to strike up conversations with people you like the look of, reply to tweets, comment on Facebook and post a response to a blog post. This social activity aids your visibility and social proof, but ultimately just by being a little bit bolder you connect with your own virtual work buddies.

Your on-line community quickly becomes a very real and valuable support system, you will have opportunities to meet like-minded people, make new friends and find others who share similar trials and tribulations along the way.

However social media doesn’t have to be your only source of conversation while working from home. It is very beneficial to find a balance and remember to get out into the real world and meet new people at networking events when you can. I came to realise that however much I rely on social media, there is nothing quite like the buzz of real human conversations is there?

Melanie Mackie runs Scarletta Media, a social media marketing consultancy. She shows business owners, solopreneurs and SMEs how to be social and integrate social media marketing into their business.

Posted in: Social media

22 Comments on "Social media: a lifeline for working from home"

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  1. Liz says:

    As Judy knows, I’m a self-confessed dinosaur who doesn’t ‘do’ social media. This is partly because I fear being sucked down a rabbit-hole from which there is no return. I spend enough time emailing and reading and writing blogs when I should be working, without adding another distraction! It takes a real mental u-turn to see social media as part of working life rather than a distraction. Also, I tend to prefer face to face contact – probably because of the home-working isolation you refer to, Melanie. As an example, I met a lovely chap on the train recently and chatted all the way through an hour and a half’s (delayed) journey to London. There were useful links between our lines of work, though I can see that this was much more through chance than it would have been if I’d been using social networks properly, as they do help with the like-minded part. The irony was that he’s a social media consultant… I’m beginning to think it’s only a matter of time before the world pushes me in that direction!

    • Judy says:

      I think maybe the nudges will keep coming, Liz!

    • Liz, it’s about finding out what works for your style. That balance is also a constant adjustment rather than a destination that you’re aiming for.

      It’s about finding people and social media can be super targeted and super efficient. Where else can you do several targeted indexed comments for potential clients to find in only a few minutes?

    • I think the social world is here to stay and you are not alone in not “doing” social media. I try and limit my time, get on and share what I want to and then close everything down, get on with what some call proper work and then come back to it later on. A topic for another blog post possibly.

  2. For me social media is even better than the casual office chatter as you can ignore it wihout being rude! I dip into Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn when I want a bit of distraction and love the way I am often ahead of the news agenda as result. Twitter in particular is a great way of hearing about breaking news. But when I’m really busy I will ignore social media while I get the job done. OK- I will confess that sometimes I am dipping into social media when I should be getting the job done…

    • Judy says:

      I completely relate to everything you say, Michelle! Of course I always switch off social media while I’m working…cough, cough

  3. Candace says:

    I couldn’t agree more that social media is lifeline for homeworkers like us. Not only that, but I have picked up some work through LinkedIn, not by chasing it, but purely by being present and taking part in conversations in groups of common interest.

    The only note of caution is that social networking can become so diverting that it is tempting to dip in and out all day which can be distracting. I use some time management software called Rescue Time which keeps me on the straight and narrow!

  4. I plan my marketing around social media as it works well for my target market. It’s super efficient, fun, and trains my self discipline – which is always a good thing.

    I want accounting clients who work from home, I want one man bands, I want people who run businesses around their lives – Work From Home Wisdom is perfect – AND I meet so many great people.

  5. Sharon says:

    I love social media, especially Twitter. I call Twitter my “Starbucks” and I have (virtually) met so many lovely people through tweeting. I have also got quite a few clients which is a bonus.

  6. James says:

    I’ve been looking for ways to get into social media for a while. I’ve never really taken to Facebook and certainly not Twitter. I work from home and am starting to get “cabin fever” lol.

    Connecting with people is my new mission and I like the idea of using Facebook and LinkedIn for that. Whenever I have tried to use them before I would just sit and look blankly at the screen wondering what to say. However, with the idea of just to have a chat and make friends puts a new twist on it.

    🙂

  7. Judy says:

    I’m glad Melanie’s post has made a difference, James. Hope you’ve made some posts and some new friends since you wrote this 🙂

  8. Chitra Lekha says:

    Well said…The way you explained in detail the importance of social media was excellent.
    This article really helpful for those who work from home.
    Now a days social medial became very important to succeed online especially who works from home.
    Thank you for sharing this post!

  9. Lee says:

    Hi I was slow getting up to speed with using social media as a marketing tool but once you start you realise what a huge resource you have been missing out on. So couldn’t agree more about how important social media is.

    Thanks lee

    • Judy says:

      I think a dose of scepticism is quite healthy, but it’s always worth finding out more to make sure you’re not missing out. Can’t tell you how sceptical I was about Twitter until I went on a course and came out a convert!

  10. Lee says:

    Hi
    I still struggle with social media I am trying to incorporate it in to my marketing strategy for my site. Keep trying to work out where to start. But keep reading conflicting messages. What do you think.

    Await reply thanks lee

    • Sharon says:

      What conflicting messages? Twitter – don’t use to broadcast but to listen, help and connect. Facebook – I dislike but you can be more expansive than on Twitter. LinkedIn – like FB but for business, join a couple of useful groups and start commenting. Google+ – set up a page for your business and make useful contributions to your feed.

      Hope that helps a bit Lee

  11. Sharon says:

    May I just add here, everyone seems to be fine with Twitter, facebook & LinkedIn – however you may be missing out on a big help in your SEO especially – Google+

    I use it extensively on a personal basis but have been woefully lax in using it professionally. Google are the search giants and having a Google+ page for your business which you keep updated regularly helps in your rankings.

    Any thoughts anyone?

  12. Melanie says:

    I always advise clients to work out what their strategy is for using social media first, then look at which social sites are the ideal ones to reach clients and connect with like minded people. You don’t have to be everywhere, but where you are you do it well. I hope that helps.

  13. Judy says:

    Further to what Sharon and Melanie have said, I do think you’re best to work with your own strengths, Lee. Twitter works well for me because I enjoy succinct communication. It’s taken me a long time to bother with Facebook because I dislike how huge and nebulous it is. If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll never keep it going!

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