Social Media: Opening Business Opportunities for Women

Social Media - Opening Business Opportunities for Women I was honored to speak at the 9th Annual World Islamic Economic Forum in London.  It was the first time it was being held in a non-Islamic country which tied in with their overall theme of “Changing World, New Relationships”.

I was a little nervous to be talking about this topic to this audience because I didn’t know what women were already doing with regards to social media in Malaysia, Egypt, Pakistan, the Philippines, and other countries around the world.  And then I thought, yes I do.  I talk to people all over the world all the time.

The culture, traditions, and religion may be different, but women all over the world are just like me.  They are interested in options – whether they want to work in the boardroom of a company or have the opportunity to create a business at home so that they can be with their children (which is what I wanted to do).

I met some amazing people doing wonderful things, both in my session and throughout the conference.  But I’ll get to that.  I want to share more about what I covered in my presentation and the incredible event itself.

My Presentation

My topic was designed to be instructive so I shared some of the best practices for building your business on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, then talked about some social media do’s and don’ts and some tips on positioning yourself for the future.

 

Social Media stats women

 

Then we talked about how using social media creates top of mind awareness when you update your status in LinkedIn, send a tweet, or post something on Facebook.  I talked about searching for Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups to help further both your local connections and your business connections.

The biggest opportunity I see for improvement is to optimize your social profiles and to do more talking with others on social sites.  You want to make sure your Facebook page is optimized, you have a good Facebook About page, and your LinkedIn profile is attracting new business.

Optimize your social sites

 

I recommended using all areas of Facebook to post about your business.  I know some people are reluctant to mention their business on their personal page but your personal connections are your warm market.  Your aunt Edna in Iowa may never buy anything from you but she may know people who will and when you are reminding people about what you do, they then remember to recommend you.

I talked about how to make new connections on each platform.  Use these spaces to find new people:

We discussed some of the Social Media Do’s

Social Media Dos

 

And the Social Media Don’ts

Social Media Donts

 

I also mentioned some of my favorite social media tools which include

Finally we talked about taking your social media further.  You need to be working to get your social contacts onto an e-mail list because you own your e-mail list.  E-mail is still the most powerful tool for selling.

Images are also extremely important in social media with the rise of Pinterest and Instagram.  I mentioned a few of my favorite image creation tools:

  • Picmonkey for making existing photos fun
  • Canva a new tool for creating mini infographics and Facebook cover photos
  • Snagit for easily capturing and editing screenshots (and I even use it to create Facebook ad images)

Positioning for the future

 

You can view my whole set of slides here:

Andrea Vahl at WIEF

 

After my talk we had time for questions and answers and I heard some great stories about what people were doing on social media.  I heard from a woman who was running 8 websites and doing search engine optimization.  I heard the story of Sabia who had created her YouTube channel to talk about her fitness journey.  I talked to women who were selling crafts online, writing articles, and promoting women’s issues.  In short, pretty much like every where else in the world.  Inspiring and wonderful.

 Sabia

The Event

The event itself was amazing.  They had dignitaries from all over the world attending.  David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, spoke and made some major announcements about Islamic financial vehicles in Britain.

 

Prince Charles also spoke and everything tied well into the theme of the event “Changing World, New Relationships.”

Prince Charles at WIEF

I almost got the opportunity to meet Prince Charles at an event for the speakers and dignitaries but unfortunately he had to continue on to the next event before getting to our group.  I did get this picture with him nearby 🙂Andrea Vahl and Prince Charles The other parts of the event were amazing as well.  They had a showcase of artists from around the world including a “MOCAfest” where they brought in Islamic artists from all over to showcase their work and help them further their art.

WIEF Event

 

Event2

What I did like about the event is the fact they did have some additional dialog about empowering women.  They had a panel of women executives as well as my panel and there was additional discussion about the empowerment of women in other speeches.

 

But what I believe is that Social Media is opening opportunities for all people.  What women do with those opportunities is up to them.  Whether it’s taking the chance to create a home-based business and promote it via social media or if you make new connections that take you half way around the world to speak at a conference.

This is an amazing time we live in.  The internet has allowed us to do things we never would have dreamed of only 10 years ago.  If you have a dream and a vision, it’s easier than ever to make it a reality – if you are a woman or a man.  The world is our stage and it’s up to us to step up and take the microphone.