How Ally Builds Her Radio & Website Following on Twitter

Interviewer’s Note: As I’ve been exploring ways to use Twitter for business, I met Ally of, which runs a radio show and assistance for parents who want to create home-based businesses. Since she was so involved in spreading her work through the means of internet radio & Twitter, I was excited to speak with her.

Hi Ally! Thanks for speaking today on the Pluggio Blog. So, your site describes you as “a national search directory of self-employed parents. It is also a community resource dedicated to helping parents who want to stay at home find financial opportunities and support.” What inspired this?

This passion came form my own experiences, and was something that I never saw myself doing- yet here I am. I worked for years in corporate America, never questioning the rules I was following or the faithfulness that was not being reciprocated. When I became a mother, I was sick to my stomach about leaving my new baby in a daycare while I worked at a job that didn’t appreciate me and seemed to suddenly resent the fact that I cared about something else more than my career.
So now you’ve got a goal of helping a million parents create careers that they can base out of their homes… how did that goal come about?

I wanted to make a large statement that would tell people that I meant business. I wanted it to be bold enough for them to watch and want to hold me accountable. I am very passionate about supporting parents and helping them to find the freedom to be their own bosses.

How did you get started in radio? Did you have prior experience?

My radio show found me. A group of women with powerful platforms wanted me to join them in their stance to have impactful voices leading a nation of doers. The show, just over a year later, has given me a platform unlike anything I could have imagined.

What impact or change have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing?

I learned to use Twitter to increase the number of downloads simply by tweeting the iTunes link. Internet radio is a new beast with a whole new set of rules than terrestrial radio. Although my show airs live each week, the majority of my listeners download the show as a podcast. They listen at their convenience, which makes the air time and sponsorship opportunities perpetual.

What roles does Twitter play in your business?

I wasn’t always a fan of Twitter. I found it loud and confusing. It seemed so impersonal. Facebook was more my pace and my style; easier to be in the spotlight and to connect with like-minded individuals. But Facebook, while more “social”, was not giving me the numbers I needed for my radio show.

Has Twitter come through for you, in terms of increasing your audience?

Yes, this “Twitter” method has resulted in an explosion of podcast downloads- which has raised my sponsorship value. While 5,000 downloads a month may seem like a small number, unlike terrestrial radio, its 100% targeted demographic and that makes my sponsorship dollars worth its weight. Not to mention the podcasts will be available to promote and download in a year or two from now- which keeps the value from depreciating.

How is the approach different between Internet radio/ and traditional radio?

In this day and age, its possible to start and run a business with a very small investment. Thanks to internet social media, I don’t have to set aside a marketing budget, and I coach my audience-

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also parents who run small businesses out of their homes – to do the same. What we lack in start-up costs, we make up for in time.

Are there any of your accomplishments with social marketing that you are particularly proud of?

Since my business is almost entirely virtual, I have had to build everything from social marketing. Also, I have not only grown my organization, I have created a movement of parents who share the same driving force: the love we have for our children and our desire to never ever have to work for someone else again. The launch of my organization more than 3 years ago came with more than 1500 business listings in the directory- and that was because we had launched a viral marketing campaign that had people buzzing about us 4 months before the launch – across the country. I am still very proud of that.

Who are your followers? Who are those people? Are they Clients? Your target market?

100% parents, 92% women.

What strategies did you use to build your Twitter following?

In the beginning I just followed those who I wanted to align myself with and hope that they would follow me back. There is a little bit of “strategic stalking” on Twitter and it helped to have an idea of who’s attention I was looking to get. I knew that if I could get someone with a large following to answer one of my tweets publicly that I would be able grab a lot of their followers as well. My Twitter base exploded when I launched my radio show. It seemed almost effortless after that.

In using social media, what has worked well for you?

I have been a big fan of Facebook because its easier to get personal and to thank others for supporting me and paying it forward. My best relationships have come from social media. The contacts that I’ve made in closed forums and online support groups that have made all the difference. Some were found on Twitter, some on LinkedIN, and some were private Google groups. My organization is its own form of social media by definition, so in a lot of ways we are able to build buzz in our very own community.

What didn’t work for you?

I am trying to think… I don’t think it’s a fair question, to be honest. Things that may not have given immediate results are still out there perpetually- that is the beauty of the internet. If I posted a blog that has yet to get a response, give it a few months. Someone is bound to find it and respond to it. Sometimes I will get a response to a show I did over a year ago- but someone new found it and it resonated with them. So the answer is… everything works. We just may not see immediate results.

What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?
The biggest thing that Twitter did for me is increase the live listenership to my weekly talk radio program. I exceeded my goal in listenership a few months ago by 500% and it just keeps growing from there. The result was immediate and very easy. I almost felt like I’d found a broken slot machine, or that someone would “turn me in” for cheating. I simply couldn’t believe how easy it was for me to get instantaneous followers by understanding how to reach the same people who were looking for me through Twitter! It was a magical moment.

What lessons have you learned about Twitter and online marketing?

It takes strategy and diligence- but in the end there is more than enough success to go around for all of us. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the growing trends and the competition- but we don’t always have to think about it like that. Twitter is out there to help us connect with those that are looking for us. All we have to do is use the tools that were presented to us to reach out and find our target market. The fact that all this is available to us for free means there are no excuses for us NOT to succeed.

Thank you so much- that was great information and very inspiring. We wish you all the best of hitting that mark soon, and I’m sure you will.

Follow Ally on Twitter here.
You can visit her homepage and hear the show here.

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