International Professional Women of Istanbul

Why Social Media Is Perfect For International Professional Women

Speaking about being a foreign correspondent in Turkey to Project Istanbul American journalism college students, Bahcesehir UniversityI sent this list to the group International Professional Women of Istanbul in advance of the social media panel I am conducting for their membership.

Social media is all about making personal connections, fostering them, benefitting from them. Women excel at this type of interaction.

If you think you’re ‘too old’ to learn you'll be surprised to hear women over 40 dominate social media!

If you feel limited by life abroad: using social media’s networks to meet your career development needs and pursue your interests is a natural fit.

If you feel disrupted by numerous location changes, social media can provide consistent connection with your communities worldwide.

If you're a professional person, knowledge of social media offers you a relevance unmatched by any other skill or tool available today.

(image is from the IPWIN social media workshop I conducted with Tara Agacayak)

Here's the announcement for the event

BUILD YOUR PROFESSIONAL WEB PLATFORM: (Saturday, January 22nd, location TBA, 75TL/person)

If you want to test the social media waters beyond your personal Facebook profile, consider this two-hour interactive event about creating your professional path online.

Using the principles from their “Mastermind Program for Creative Entrepreneurs”, Tara Ağaçayak of Turquoise Poppy and Anastasia Ashman of expat+HAREM will demonstrate how social media, web technology, and a community of globally-diverse creative professionals can help you design a location-independent career.

In the first hour they’ll walk you through the growth process of a local entrepreneur building her personal brand on the web. In the second hour, *you* will each become a case study as Tara and Anastasia moderate a live mastermind session.

What you’ll take away from this event: a better connection to your professional passion and a clearer understanding of how social media tools and techniques can be used to develop this passion through the web.

In order to best benefit from the session, participants should have at least two of these: social media accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook), a blog or website, or an email newsletter.

 

Here's our write up of the event for the Lale magazine:

IPWIN MEMBERS FINDING THEIR GLOBAL NICHE -- ONLINE!

 

On January 22nd IPWIN hosted a social media workshop:  “BUILD YOUR PROFESSIONAL WEB PLATFORM” for women interested in building a serious online presence. Tara Agacayak of web consultancy Turquoise Poppy and Anastasia Ashman of expat+HAREM, the global niche gave excellent support and advice to 20 participants on how to grow their professional selves on the web.

 

We started with a round of introductions and got an overview of the various enterprises run or being developed by IPWIN members. We heard distinct stories, and overlapping concerns. “How can I sell my service when the local market doesn’t value it yet?” “How much of myself should I expose?” “I had to take time off to raise my family, and we moved a lot but I want to get a career started in Istanbul.” “How do I present my company, my product, my idea, my brand?” “I run multiple businesses, should I merge them in one site or have separate Facebook pages?” “Which language should I blog in, how do I decide if French or Spanish is best?” “I’m trying to figure out what new business is going to last.”

 

Here are some of the issues we discussed during the meeting.

 

Why is social media important today?

Social media used professionally is an unrivaled way to become visible to a global audience at very low cost, by building a virtual network and sharing your expertise. People now want to do business with people, not faceless corporations. Even big companies are now trying to appear “more human”. Solo entrepreneurs everywhere can thrive in this new online environment.

 

What does the ‘social’ part of social media mean?

It means user-generated web content -- as opposed to static web pages -- that allows us to interact with each other through various web technologies. Think of “liking” a Facebook page, or tweeting a blog post, or even commenting on a blog. We can get feedback on our work, we can respond to customers in a public forum and demonstrate the quality of our service, we can meet and learn from others who are interested in the same things, and we can share our best discoveries on the web with our own networks.

 

What is creative entrepreneurship?

A successful business provides a product or service that solves a problem or fills a need. Creative entrepreneurs design offerings based on their personal inclinations, skills and talents. Often these develop out of a need to live and work in non-traditional situations. Social media is a wonderful vehicle to build professional projects on the web regardless of your location, time or language constraints. Creative entrepreneurship is a perfect solution to the problem faced by people who move around a lot or live in cultures not their own. It’s how to “bloom where you’re planted,” as Tara’s Turquoise Poppy catchphrase suggests.

 

What is a global niche?

Coined by Anastasia for global citizens to feel at home,  a global niche is where you uniquely belong in the world, both personally and professionally. Your sweetspot. A place occupied completely and perfectly by you -- so naturally there are no competitors, there are only neighbors. It’s where you can operate to your potential, and embrace all the worlds you love to belong to. Finding your global niche is part of being a successful creative entrepreneur.

 

How do I define my profile on the net?

Building your global niche -- in this case, a professional web platform --  involves uncovering your place in the world and defining that place on the web. Inevitably one of the first steps in establishing your digital profile is communicating who you are in a way that others can relate to and may include using text, images, audio or video. For those who are in the process of self-discovery, social media is an extremely useful tool to explore and have conversations with like-minded global citizens.

 

Does being accessible on the web require extensive personal exposure?

Social media facilitates your interaction with others. People want to know who you are before connecting with you whether personally or professionally, help them find ways to relate to you. You’re not required to share private information that might compromise your security. By using a clear photo of yourself in your profile and including a link to your hub site people can learn exactly what you want them to know. (Don’t know what a hub site is? Find out in Tara and Anastasia’s free email tutorials.)

 

How can I find potential clients, customers and collaborators using social media?

Your ideal customer or client (or employer, if you’re a job seeker!) finds you by entering specific keywords into a search engine like Google. By entering these keywords yourself you’ll learn where you rank amidst the competition and you’ll also see where conversations relevant to your niche are taking place around the web. Social media enables you to monitor these conversations (with tools like Twitter and Google alerts) and participate in them with your own ideas, expertise and professional solutions.

 

How do I fit social media into my work day?

Social media is useful to creative entrepreneurs because it allows you to work in a way that suits your lifestyle. Setting your own schedule for publishing content as well as interacting on sites like Facebook and Twitter means you can work at your own pace. Keep your posts short and “mindcast” rather than “lifecast”. Share important thoughts, what you are reading, what moves you -- not mundane things like what you had for breakfast. Give your network value through the things you share. Use automation and syndication services to reach relevant audiences at key times around the world -- without actually working around the clock!

 

What is my ROI for the time I spend using social media?

Using social media to build your network and reputation is an investment in yourself. The time you dedicate will pay off when you want to sell your product or service - whether it’s a book, a necklace or a coaching program. Use social media to educate yourself and stay on the cutting edge of your field. In today’s market, trust and attention are valuable commodities that you can only develop by being well-informed, authentic and providing useful, accessible content.

 

What is the Mastermind Program for Creative Entrepreneurs?

Anastasia and Tara’s mastermind program brings people together into a virtual work group (conducted on LinkedIn over a few weeks), where each participant contributes to the solution of a problem; like a combination of a brainstorming session and focus group. The success of this technique for creative entrepreneurs relies on the diverse expertise of the group, and your connection to peers you can continue to grow with.

 

Artist, illustrator and writer Rose Deniz demonstrated the power of the mastermind program when she described how her creative business changed after participating in Tara and Anastasia’s “Build your global niche” program. She wondered how to effectively present herself as a multifaceted artist, graphic designer, writer, blogger and handbag designer. Rose was able to see that she needed a unified platform to integrate her work and audiences in one place. Within three months of completing the program she was able to craft her own solution at the site Love, Rose.

 

This IPWIN workshop was very motivational and informative and the spirit is still present. Our members have already asked us to organize a follow-up event! Tara and Anastasia provided the participants with free, on-going tutorials by email which everyone in IWI can access by signing up for their “Build your global niche” mailing list. They’ll also alert you to upcoming mastermind sessions and other resources that will help you get serious on the web.

 

Useful links:

EMAIL LIST for free web platform tutorials: on.fb.me/globalniche

Turquoise Poppy: www.turquoisepoppy.com

expat+HAREM, the global niche: www.expatharem.com

Love, Rose: www.rosedeniz.com

Creative Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/creativeentrepreneurs

 

 

Social Media As Self Actualization: How Has It Launched You?

I'll be speaking with creative entrepreneur Tara Agacayak on a panel about social media for the International Professional Women of Istanbul Network (IPWIN). The happy trends of Web 2.0 online networking, collaborating, and user-generated content seem tailor-made for pro women like us who often face a more difficult career path abroad. Whether "trailing spouses" lacking a local work permit like Jo Parfitt recounts here or in some other way being at a geographic or cultural disadvantage is a common expat woman experience.

IN AN ATTENTION ECONOMY WE'RE NO LONGER OUT OF SIGHT We're used to relying on technology to fill the gaps in our expat operations so social media has the potential to level the playing field for the most far-flung female professionals:

  • Social media works best the way women work best: it's about making and tending personal connections
  • Social media supports and consolidates the spread-out personal networks expats and global citizens have already initiated in their mobile lives
  • Social media provides access to state-of-the-industry practices, trending thought, and leading players in our professions

So, as social networking renders overseas women like us visible and relevant, it's a powerful tool of self-actualization. Our presence online becomes an advance calling card in life and work. We're driven to fine-tune who we say we are, and how we behave, and where we appear online and who we choose to interact with, who our target audience is and how we do business. If we commit to social media, we evolve.

How has social media launched you?

++++

On another network an expat woman writer asked me what the benefit of social media is besides meeting other writers. She also wondered why she might need it before she has a book to sell.

Social media networking is something you can do long before you have something 'to sell' -- in fact, 3 years in advance of a product is the period I hear from the kind of people whose book goes straight to the top of bestseller lists. It takes that long to get a meaningful network in place before you really 'need' it. Building trust, credibility, presenting yourself authentically, being generous and helpful. That takes time.

I agree meeting other writers is an important component of online networking for women like us scattered around the globe, living among people who may not speak, let alone read or write, in our language. However, there are so many more people you can meet. Taking the writing professional as an example: Potential readers, agents and editors and publishers -- and with the massive upheaval in publishing right now being able to follow developments is more important than ever-- people in related fields. Living abroad, we can attend conferences virtually, or take part in live chats on women's issues, cultural concerns, literature, branding, social media, bookselling, marketing, etc. I wrote about many of these issues last April in "How This Author Uses Twitter". Becoming visible to the people in your niche -- finding out who works in your niche, that's priceless legwork.

How it helps me now: Social media has helped bring me up to speed on the trending/cutting edge thought in a variety of areas that affect what I do, as well as put me in touch with people I want to work with. It's like continuing education, cultivating a professional peer group, professional development.

+++

Here's a slideshow based on our presentation, including links to scores of the below resources we discussed during the event:

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?

TOP WOMEN IN SOCIAL MEDIA 2008 & 2009

TIPS & TOOLS TO GET STARTEDOPTIMIZE & IMPROVE YOUR PRACTICES

DOs AND DON’TS

BLOGS AND SITES OF PANELISTS ANASTASIA (microblogindividual bloggroup blogFacebook groupLinkedIn profile,Delicious bookmarksNing writers' network)

TARA (individual blogmicroblogLinkedIn profile, Facebook profileLadiesWhoLaunch profile, artisan training site-blog-microblog-Facebook page, bazaar tourssite-blog-microblog-Facebook page, web consulting site-microblog-Facebook page,women's microcredit site)