Never in a million years would I have known in the fall of 2011 that I would be reaching a major milestone in business and in life.
It was a simple phone call from a friend — an acquaintance, really — who called me to ask me to help in a campaign for the Beautiful and Bald Barbie movement. That friend, Wendy Tarlow, called me to ask if I could help them with their Facebook campaign, a campaign that is now nearing 160,000 fans and has been more than successful. I was more than happy to help and also donated the work from Ruby Marketing, to create a page within their page to drive fans, collect signatures for a petition, and to truly make an impact on the lives of those fans. Once Wendy Tarlow and I saw the difference we were making by using Social Media and the Facebook platform to drive traffic and to build a following, she then asked me if I wanted to be a part of her swim in July of 2012.
A swim? I do swim, but not competitively, so I was actually pretty hesitant to say yes. I learned more about Swim Across America, though, and realized it wasn't just about swimming. Swim Across America is an organization that raises money to fight cancer, they raise money to find cures, to support local organizations like Fighting Chance in Sag Harbor, and they build a true family community. It became much more personal to me, after learning that the swim actually raises money to help people in our own community.
I thought for a moment then that I wished I had known about some of these resources when my own grandmother passed of lung cancer in the summer of 2011. That was the moment I realized; that was a turning point for me in my life and my business, that I had to do the swim, I had to be involved in making a difference in the lives of others, and that I had to do it because my grandmother would say, "I am proud of you honey." Little did I know how much this volunteer work would also change my life.
What has since transpired, from the time I said "Yes" to the Swim, is a whirlwind of Social Media Magic. It's really the only way I can describe it. Wendy Tarlow truly understood the power of Social Media and Marketing, as she is aware of the power of marketing online, and we put into place several elements.
First, a Facebook page for our own Swim Team, Team Tarlow and Hand. We were able to design and install a custom page as well, to drive fans to a sign up page for the swim, for fans to have the ability to navigate through the Facebook page to the Swim page to make donations. We began to build an intricate web, connecting sites to pages, to posts, to blogs, where we built a following, a fan base, a community, a family — just like Swim Across America builds family.
A group was developed on Facebook, to make it even more personal, where we literally planned and put together an entire Gala, a Fundraising Event coming up on June 14 at in Sag Harbor, and to be the fastest growing team in the Hamptons Open Water Swim on July 7th, 2012.
To date, we already have about 50 swimmers, have raised nearly $30,000 of our team $40,000 goal!
Epic Martial Arts in Sag Harbor has also utlized the power of social media to launch their Kick-a-Thon they just hosted, where they raised $5,500. Young warriors, kicking for a cause, were able to raise that much to fight cancer. How? They utilized a simple YouTube video to drive fans and donations to their Kick-a-Thon!
How does all this Social Media Magic work? It's simple. It's just like how you connect personally with people, you build a relationship, a connection, trust — and voila, you realize the potential. You realize how important it is to be able to connect with someone like, Thomas Joseph Hand, who currently lives in Florida, but is truly a Sag Harbor resident that many know and love. That's what Social Media has allowed us to do, build a family of friends, build team energy, cultivate lifelong relationships, like my friendship with Wendy Tarlow, and to seriously Fight Cancer!
We are on a mission, now, as the web is built, the intricacies of Social Media are woven together, like the hand crafted pieces of a family quilt, handed down from generation to generation. We aren't stopping here. Team Tarlow and Hand has plans to make a major impact on the Swim this year and in years to come.
Join us, come to see our friends Thomas Joseph Hand and Wendy Tarlow, on Thursday, June 14, at B. Smith's in Sag Harbor, from 6 to 9 p.m. to help us in our efforts to Fight Cancer!
It's a free event, open to anyone, and we would love to meet you there and connect, to share our stories, and to enjoy the evening.
Meet me sooner, if you wish, on Facebook, and say hello. You never know, our connection on Social Media may be a connection that helps to fight a cause.