How to Build a Social Media Empire by Running with Scissors

Social Pros: How to Build a Social Media Empire by Running with Scissors

Jenny Barnett Rohrs, Founder of Craft Test Dummies, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss how successful social media is often a slow burn, staying authentic to a trusting and supportive audience, and building a social empire as a passion project.

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Full Episode Details

Just Get Started

When Jenny started her blog Craft Test Dummies 6 years ago, she knew she wanted to leave room to expand (that’s why it’s not called just Craft Test Dummy). It began as solely her voice, but ultimately she wanted to incorporate the voices of many crafters and contributors.

What started with a simple blog reviewing craft supplies has blossomed into a social crafting empire, complete with an active Twitter page and a YouTube channel full of tips, product reviews, and tutorials.

Not surprisingly, Jenny has found the visual social media channels to be highly successful for Craft Test Dummies, especially Pinterest and YouTube.

Visuals allow Jenny and her team to take products for a test drive and show the results. “It’s kind of a Consumer Reports for the at-home crafter,” she says.

Jenny admits that she neglected her YouTube channel for the first few years of the blog, but once she started dedicating time to it (and added an official “talking head” introduction), she saw her audience grow immediately. By watching other YouTube channels, she was able to improve the videos over time. But she started by shooting with the equipment she had access to (usually a phone camera) with little or no editing.

Create an Authentic Relationship

So how can brands and agencies best interact with bloggers like Jenny who have these passion projects? Jenny’s advice is to pay attention. Having a valuable blog and YouTube channel, Jenny consistently receives random, canned emails asking her to place links on her site. The worst part is that these emailers clearly have not actually looked at her content to find the mutually beneficial relationship that could be possible.

“I respond to emails that say, ‘Jenny, we liked this post and this post, and we think we’d be a great fit for either sharing content or advertising, and we’d like to speak with you further.'”

Bloggers need to remain authentic with their audiences, especially when accepting advertisements or endorsements. The ideal brand understands that “we can be brand advocates without necessarily being puppets.”

Social Media Number of the Week: 15,526,516,194

WordPress sites received over 15 billion pageviews in July 2014, according to WordPress’ stats page. Platforms like WordPress creating easy ways to create mobile content is causing a renaissance for blogging as people can view content anywhere and at any time. “Blogs continue to be the best way to aggregate that content if you’re a creator,” says Jeff.

Blogging is a way to use social media however the user wants because it’s a bigger sandbox and with less restrictions than any of the social media platforms like Pinterest or Twtitter. WordPress itself has also become a more powerful content management system so that it’s appropriate in more use cases than it was previously.

Holy Social!

During Shark Week this year, many brands jumped on the bandwagon to try to capitalize on the shark buzz. Nick’s favorite of these is Travelocity, which created Simply enter your location, and the site will tell you where the closest sharks are to you.

Based on the results, you can click in and book a hotel visit right inside the app.

The Shark Week phenomenon is particularly interesting because it was created by a television company, but now other brands are going out of their way to use their own social spaces to promote it.

See you next week!