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Social Media Tools And Me: A Little Success Story

I’ll admit I’m not good with all these social media tools: Facebook, Plurk, Plonk, Yelp, Yippee, Yahoowie and HarDeHarHar and all the rest. They can eat up an entire day before you know it. They can be worth it.

Here’s a little success story about how one of the most popular social media tools helped me more than I could ever expect.

There’s something I do every year at the same time of year that makes up for the rest of my year. It’s not paying taxes, but who doesn’t love that?? It’s raising money for autism research. My youngest was diagnosed with autism at an early age.

I’ve conducted the Wonderful WAHumor Internet Marketing Giveaway for Autism Research (WWIMGAR, to save your breath) for the past three years and the second one was the best of all…and all because of Twitter.

I decided that for that year’s fundraiser, I would not chase down everyone I knew or encountered online, but try using this cool new platform the Internet was abuzz about. Anything growing so quickly was either illegal or good for something. I’d waited the customary amount of time before joining and hadn’t seen any headlines such as “Twitter Shut Down! Founders Nabbed For Naughty Networking!!”, so I figured it was safe.

Did I devise a way to gain a million frenzied followers overnight? Did I employ a auto direct message blaster? Did I accomplish the impossible in mere minutes of my time?

(Answers: No, HECK No and I wish.)

I started with around 500 followers and I’d been active for a few months.

A couple of weeks before the fundraiser was scheduled to start, I contacted everyone I knew and most of whom they knew to ask for product or service contributions. I’m not very shy about this – I’ve contacted people I shouldn’t have had the nerve to contact, but I did anyway.

Once they’d confirmed their help in that area, I whipped out my secret weapon: the “Can you help me with this?” question. I literally asked “Would you help me spread the word about the fundraiser?”

Most were good with that. By just retweeting what I tweeted and doing the occasional tweet of their own, the word was spread better than butter on bread. Or whatever you prefer to spread butter on.

Remember, I mentioned some of these people were the kind that everyone gazes upon in awe and doesn’t dare approach. Not only did I approach them, I was able to enlist the help of most by telling them exactly what I needed from them. Sure, they were busy…that’s why I didn’t ask for a lot.

I had very few followers Twitterwise, they had thousands. They had people hanging on their every word on Twitter. Would enough of their followers notice those fundraiser tweets to make it all worthwhile?

$6500 worth, they did! Of course, what I was offering in exchange for their donations was top-notch Internet marketing products and services and worth a whole lot of money. Long winded blathering about the latest trends in autism research would’ve fallen on mostly deaf ears, even if it was retweeted by a bunch of awe-inducing types.

I’d tweet early in the morning, throughout the day, and late at night, I mean getting-out-of- bed late at night, for three days. Crazy, but it worked.

Unfortunately, the whole Bernie Madoff scandal broke before my next fundraiser, nobody trusted anyone, and all my efforts Internetwide raised less than $1000, even with an extra day of stirring things up. Fortunately, I’m a Red Sox fan, so I’m used to saying “Wait ’til next year”.

Maybe Facebook next time!


P.S. April is National Autism Awareness Month in the US, but research in autism spectrum disorders highlighting the latest trends in autism research are a worldwide need. If you have a child with autism or know someone that does, consider a donation for further research in autism spectrum disorders.

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