Who Knows You?
When people can see you put the time and effort in, decisions to join in become easier.
Never burn your bridges has always been good advice and a fine example of this happened in June. An ex-customer from 2000, Das Candler, contacted me about an event I shared on LinkedIn, that needed support. I called and gave him the brief details. He immediately said he would make the journey from Salisbury to Bournemouth, with his wife.
He was barely a customer for two years but said he learned a lot of the early technical workings of the Internet from us to start a digital business of his own back then.
The event mentioned is an example of the importance and value of strong relationships.
One of our friends, through the You Are The Media community, Chandy Green, is a disabilities rights campaigner. Chandy has had multiple surgeries for a brain tumour. I’ve admired how such a young person, who has faced so many challenges, presents himself and the work he does.
When he posted heart-felt videos on how he was getting verbally abused daily for the way he walks, it really affected me. I know from my own experience, in facing racist abuse in the 1980s, for just being who you are can have long-lasting effects without support.
People have remarked that over the past few years, I have magicked myself all over social media and the news. It’s only just been five years since I have come through the legacy of that impact on my teenage years. I am a grown 50-something person now.
I knew the importance of having Chandy’s back. Even more so as he is a campaigner, we all need him to progress that good work. I have held “walk and talk” events in my community to help introduce people that have newly moved to the area. There can be a strong feeling of kinship created by walking alongside others with a common aim.
That’s where I had the idea to walk with Chandy. At first, I wanted to do it along his route from home, as a show of support to those that have been shouting the abuse. It wouldn’t have been practical for the numbers. We decided to do it from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier and back.
Getting People To Care
Next was the rallying cry.
In business-to-consumer marketing circles Kevin Kelly introduced the concept of 1000 true fans. However, it is better to have 100 true meaningful relationships rather than 1000s of social followers as a show of prowess.
Some of those strong relationships will have built through in-person events, whilst some have been totally online.
We did well with the gathering, plus the wider media coverage. Darren Slade from Bournemouth Echo is a perennial supporter. He covered Chandy’s social posting highlighting the issue. He wrote about the forthcoming event and even attended the whole walk, directly reporting on it, resplendent in a shirt and tie on the hottest day of the year so far.
Richard Slee, a reporter for ITV Meridian, has also been another strong supporter of local community initiatives. A simple Facebook message explaining the event and passing him onto Chandy sealed the deal. On the day, it appeared ITV News wanted more “Hey, isn’t it hot today,” messages but Richard pushed back and made a case for covering this walk and the reasons why it was being held.
Richard knew me from the TV news item he featured on Pokesdown train station, and the song written about the lack of lifts that came about from a community online project I was working on. With that relationship established, it was an easy case of sending a message via Facebook for Chandy’s story and walk to get featured.
In Unison With Others
This progression of good relationships continued. I’m normally not one for doing videos of myself, I decided I need to make a start as that is the only way to get better, gain confidence and actually get stuff done. This is where English Wine Week takes centre stage.
The reason for this video-based social media campaign was to celebrate Dorset sparkling wine and so #DorsetFizzWeek was born. Working with a local wine expert, Maria Day from Dorset Local Wine School, we would go live on Instagram every night for six nights tasting through nine bottles of wine from eight different Dorset producers.
It was fun and a new learning experience for both of us, but it helped build relationships for Maria with new producers that she had never talked to or even known.
This was a project where we decided to do something that showcased the producers. There was no financial gain for us. I supplied the bottles. We did it for us, but, it could be the case that next year the producers come together to do something more connected for themselves.
Lessons For Us All
What I’ve learned is that you must get on and be there for others. It means a lot to be a strong supporter for someone else’s initiative. Also, don’t overplay those close relationships that you have so that when you do need to make a big ask, it doesn’t get lost in the crowd.
We can elevate who we are by being part of communities and groups, it’s why working hard helps you be seen and why people can trust you. You never know when the time to step forward is going to come.