Can the internet make you rich?



ITV’s tonight programme this evening explored how the internet is opening up new avenues for budding entrepreneurs to make their fortunes online  in these recessionary times.

Most of the entrepreneurs in the programme simply had a good idea and used the web and social media to exploit it. Take Lauren Luke’s You Tube video make up tutorials – Brilliant! – I’ve subscribed and i didn’t even realise i needed to.

When the internet first came around it was synonymous with porn, online dating and dodgy websites that sucked. How things have changed, nowadays  :-

• there are 42 million online shoppers in the UK
• 71% growth in the last 2 years
• Now 17p in every pound is being spent online (almost twice that of the US).
• £68.4 billion UK trade is expected to be done on the internet in 2009 compared with only £87m in 2000

What strikes me is that the people who are successful are authentic, real and practical. Social media channels simply enable entrepreneurs to promote ideas, products, messages or behaviors and spread them like viruses –  as Malcolm Gladwell so eloquently describes in The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Image the potential that Crowd Sourcing brings for business and social change…



Facebook users in Brighton

flickr-986548379-imageHow many people use social media in Brighton? I thought i’d do a bit of research to find out the statistics  – harder than i thought! So i’m making a start with Facebook.

Just for info …the resident population of Brighton in 2001 was 247,817.

Facebook users in Brighton

I used the Facebook “advertising” option and these are the results based on facebook’s estimates (not entirely sure these are great estimates). The following statistics are based on the search criteria:

  • people who live in the United Kingdom
  • people who live within 25 miles of Brighton or Hove

Age group

  • Under 25 – 192,120 people
  • 26- 40 – 205,440 people
  • 41 – 55 – 82,720 people
  • 56 plus – 17,600 people
  • Men – 255,580 people
  • Women – 292,800 people
  • All age 18 and older – 477,760 people

Facebook isn’t the only social media tool, but it does provide a good example of the level of people locally who you could reach, and who are likely to have not been reached before other than through traditional marketing channels.

Social media usage statistics in Brighton & Hove – Part 1

Sometimes its hard to convince people of the impact that social media is having on peoples lives. Is social media a fad? Is social media the new cigarette? Or is it the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution? View this video and make your own mind up…

Blogging for beginners

blogging4beginnersBeen showing a colleague today how to set up a blog. It’s so exciting to see people dive in and explore the wonderful world of the blogosphere. There are lots of blog hosting services (places where your blog will live) to start blogging on. The most popular ones are Blogger, WordPress and TypePad but there are many more. I use WordPress, it’s easy to use and get started, just sign up and experiment. I am not a expert blogger but here are some tips i have come across recently that i have found useful …

– Keep it simple – Start with an easy to use blogging tool like WordPress

–  Pick topics that you are passionate about –  you’ll find people with similar interests to connect with.

Interact – Make sure your blog has a comments feature – when someone leaves a comment email them or leave a reply.

Think about the purpose of your blog – Decide what you will and won’t write about and stick to it.

Read other blogs and link to them – Blogging connects people thinking through similar issues.  Link to them, add your own ideas, leave comments. Technorati is the place to start – have a look at the top 100 list and subscribe to feeds you find interesting.

I use my blog as an online reference library to note posts and links that i love. Here are some links to blogging resources that i have found useful …

SEO : keyword discovery tools

T1 golhe first stage in search engine optimisation is keyword discovery. Nothing works better than a good ‘thought storm’ to choose target keywords and phrases and plan your strategy. Keyword planning ensures that you focus your resources on valuable keywords – not targeting keywords that are ineffective.

Mike Moran and Bill Hunt call this the Goldilocks principle. Try to find keywords that are not too hot, not too cold but ‘just right’. The next stage is to use keyword tools to find out words heavily used by searchers, reveal variations and find out keyword demand. I use several keyword tools to make better decisions as over reliance on one tool can be misleading. The most useful  keyword discovery tools i have found are  :-

The first sabctage of keyword discovery can be very time consuming and represents 20% of seo work. Solid understanding of the ‘just right’ keywords and phrases is the most important aspect of search engine marketing. There are many seo resources on the web. The best ones (in my opinion) are on my blogroll so check them out for more information.

The best books i have read on seo and search engine marketing are:-

Social media sites for mums and mumpreneurs

Super_MumAttended the annual event of the year in Portslade’s social calendar today – the village fete! Aside from home made cakes and bagging a bargain Whistles red dress (v savvy) i bumped into lots of local mums. So… feeling inspired tonight to blog about some fabulous social media sites for mums and mumpreneurs.

According to a Rapleaf study, while both sexes still use social networking sites in huge numbers, women are the ones holding down the fort. There’s been a lot of exposure for mummy bloggers, so Sony have decided to get the dads involved through the ‘here come the dads’ digidads project. So what online resources are available to social  mums?


Mums in control – is a new website for mums who mean business. It’s the UK’s fastest growing support and advisory service for working mums. The aim is to create an area for mums covering all aspects of what it is to be a working mum or mum in business (mumpreneur). How brilliant!

She’s connected – One woman two busy lives… sound like you? Does me. This is twitter for women with personal and business profiles, a blogging directory and lots more.

Supermummy – mumpreneur network, podcasts, radio show, groups, forums, magazine blimey this really is super mummy!

Everywoman – connects women in business. Online community all about female entrepreneurs helping each other to excel.

Essential business guide – From the amazing Julie Stanford the essential business guide is the best small business guide on the planet. The award winning Essential Business Guide is the only business book ever to win a Plain English Award and Business Book of the Year. Perfect if you are already running your business or just starting out.

MomLogic – Great videos and articles for parents

Blogher –  for women in the blogosphere. Lists nearly 10,000 female-authored blogs – a must read for anyone interested in learning about women in social media and joining the community.

Mom bloggers club – Where all the moms or mums  gather to blog.

ClubMom – is a place for mums to connect with other mums to ask questions and get answers from other moms on which they can rate and comment on.

iVillage – started in 1995, is one of the oldest sites for women. A bit too girly for me.

There’s lots more  Top 10 social media sites for women on Mashable and mommy bloggers  galore at alltops blogs for moms by moms but that’s all for now folks – motherhood calls!

Social media tips for journalists

newsRobert Peston the  BBC’s business editor has recently blogged about the future of news journalism. In his  Richard Dunn Memorial Lecture post he says

“Rather than total journalists, perhaps we are becoming Denis Waterman journalists as per “Little Britain”, i.e. we write the theme tune, sing the theme tune, and so on.”

Apart from making me smile the point he makes is that  in national and international news, convergence has already happened for TV, radio and newspapers. We all do video, audio and the written word. I had a chat with a journalist colleague recently about the best way to monitor news releases and blogs on the internet. It got me thinking about how journalists can use social media to reach other news hounds and how to measure the impact.

The web has changed the rules from communicating with the media to communicating directly with consumers, the primary audience is no longer ‘journalists’. There are many influential PR bloggers – see Steve Rubel’s micropersuasion blog for example, and resources like Gina Chen’s top 10 tips for journalists who blog.

10 Tips for reaching journalists through social media


  1. Optimise news delivery for searching & browsing – key words and key phrases have become more important
  2. Place links in news releases to deliver people to landing pages on your website
  3. Make sure you have RSS feeds on your website. Some journalists love rss feeds. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” – it’s a format for distributing and gathering content from sources across the Web, including newspapers, magazines, and blogs
  4. Create an online media room
  5. Muck rack – follow journalists on twitter
  6. Pitch bloggers – being covered in important blogs will get you noticed by mainstream media
  7. Does your local reporter have  blog? Read it, comment on it, track back to it and start your own blog!
  8. Target one reporter at a time and pitch to the particular journalist direct
  9. Follow up potential contacts promptly
  10. Use social media monitoring tools to track conversations and mentions (see below)

Social media links for journalists

Social media monitoring tools for journalists