Just over a week ago, Mashable published an article about Wattpad, the company I work for, calling it, “the most active social site you’ve never heard of.” Wattpad, one of the biggest reading and writing communities on the web, got started way back in 2006 when our founder, Allen Lau, was searching for a way to read on his mobile phone. Like the birth of Wattpad, social media, too, has evolved. Today social media is the essence of how we connect, communicate and engage with each other. In many ways social media is synonymous with media, at least for most millenials.
In Canada, we have quite a few homegrown social startups that are tapping into the power of the crowd - some bigger ones are Rypple, Sysomos, Hootsuite and of course, Wattpad, where I work.
What is Wattpad? Wattpad is a community of 19 million people who use the platform to write, read and connect through stories. At Wattpad, the heart of what we do–and what sets us apart–is the mobile and social nature of our platform. It’s the unique way that people are able to socialize and build personal connections around stories on the go with their mobile device that makes Wattpad a game-changer. Available in 30 languages, Wattpad users spent over 4.5-billion minutes immersed in the 25 million free stories available on Wattpad last month; www.wattpad.com
Margaret Atwood, the acclaimed author and self described “fairy godmother” to Wattpad, is the queen of social media. She has 424,000 twitter followers who she connects with on close to an hourly basis. Margaret has been a long-standing, very vocal supporter of the social storytelling that Wattpad facilitates, and she maintains an active writer profile on the site. This social media engagement comes so naturally to her as she is a master of engaging her fans.
For entrepreneurs who want to connect through social media effectively, here are some questions I would think about when approaching this ever-changing medium:
- Are you fully utilizing the power of the crowd to achieve all your business objectives? Whether it’s using LinkedIn to hire the right talent or using Twitter to connect with customers, social media can - and should - be helping you support your business objectives. Don’t stop at just the mainstream social platforms, I bet there is a crowd powered service that can help you achieve anything you are looking to do - from connecting with other entrepreneurs right here at YouInc, to finding a graphic designer at 99Designs, to finding an accountant at Guru, translating documents at Duolingo, to raising funds through Angelist, to finding a cab through Hailo, to having to go on a business trip and finding a place to stay at Airbnb and to even finding a place for your dog to stay at DogVacay! Yep, anything you think about likely has a social crowd powered platform to help you do it!
- Do you know what people are saying about you? Social media never sleeps. Real-time conversations about you and your brand can happen at any moment, and you need to know about them. Monitoring the Great Big Internet can be a daunting task, but luckily there are tools like Sysomos and HootSuite to help you understand what people are saying so that you can engage and be a part of the dialogue when others are talking about you or your brand.
- Are you creating genuine relationships? You can push content over social media channels all you want, but it means nothing without authentic engagement. A good social media strategy involves both push and pull: asking smart questions that spark conversations and debate and responding to people who have taken the time to engage with you online. Social media is personal and remember, a one-way conversation ain’t all that interesting.
It’s the personal connections and the desire for authentic conversation that make social media so powerful.