In April 2021, in the midst of a global pandemic, I handed in my notice at my full-time job as Social Media Officer at Bletchley Park. It was a moment I had always been working towards. I didn’t expect to be taking the plunge into self-employment quite so soon; It was somewhere my ‘five year plan,’ but I had always anticipated it being a little further down the line, let alone when the world was so uncertain.
Over the past few years, the world has been turned upside down and many of us have had to reassess what we want from our lives. When I was put on part-time furlough in January 2021, I knew that this was an opportunity that I needed to seize. I was never going to be given this opportunity again, to be on a full-time salary whilst having the time to lay the foundations for my own business.
And so with enough social media management clients to sustain an income for a few months at least, I shut my laptop on employment for the final time ready to embark on the next adventure.
A passion for storytelling
I have always been passionate about storytelling. Ever since I was young, I have kept diaries and journals, written short stories, poems and conjured imaginary friends. I guess that is why studying for a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing was so appealing and consolidated that skill for storytelling.
When I began my blog, Sophie etc, in 2012, my storytelling went up a level. I was used to creating content for myself and with my blog, other people were reading it too. In 2016, I decided to rebrand and refocus my efforts on writing about the independent food scene and small businesses in Milton Keynes. Through this, I have connected with so many incredible business owners, each with their own story of how they came to start their business. For some, it was following a passion, for others a need to do something fulfilling and for a few, circumstances dictated it a necessity. I tell their stories through my own words, by creating blog posts, social media content and images to entice my audience to pay them a visit.
People buy from people, and I soon found myself becoming the ‘go-to’ for independent food and drink in Milton Keynes.
This demonstrated power in storytelling through social media that many people do not appreciate. By building an emotional connection with an audience, you can persuade audiences to buy into your product or service. It’s a basic principle of advertising but often it is the big brands that spin a storyline to keep you hooked. With small and independent businesses, there are real people behind the business and their stories are what makes working in this sector so truly rewarding.
Every business that I can think of that has a large social media following and a highly engaged customer base uses their platforms to tell their story. This approach does not put selling at the forefront. Instead, a connection is key. By being honest, open and almost offering a degree of vulnerability, audiences are more likely to invest energy in engaging with the business, both financially and emotionally.
Introducing Social etc.
And that is why Social etc. is all about telling stories through social media. Social media has become a fantastic marketing tool, but too often we are hit with faceless campaigns and agencies managing platforms on behalf, of brands. I wanted to offer a service whereby I still take the lead on social media and post on behalf of my clients, but it is their story, humanity and authenticity that shines through.
Since I started my business in April 2021, I have helped many small and independent businesses in Milton Keynes and beyond to tell their story through social media, be it managing their channels or offering 1:1 support through my consultancy services.
Storytelling is something so intrinsic to the human condition – Many of us don’t even realise we are doing it. Sprinkle in a strategy, and you have yourself a powerful strategy to nurture your community and engage new audiences.
You’ve just read my own story of how I came to start my business, now what’s yours?