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If you want to build a business, embrace social media

A bricklayer/blogger? I know what you’re thinking and I agree it is a strange combination, but it is one I have found to be successful in its own right.

I started my blog The Apprentice-Ship four years ago simply as a working diary, something I could look back on in years to come — a site documenting my bricklaying work and my achievements along the way. Ever since that day it has grown and grown. 

I created The Apprentice-Ship using blogging site Tumblr, although after a couple of years of using the site I found its functions quite limited, more frequented by fashion and food bloggers that filled their sites with pictures rather than written articles.

Wordpress became my next option. Wordpress is a very easy site to use with a very popular help forum so it doesn’t take you long to get your head around it. There is a vast market for themes that you can select to personalise your website and make it your own. 

I used a web tracker tool called StatCounter to see if anyone was actually reading about my work or if I was just writing for my own enjoyment. Four years on since I started The Apprentice-Ship blog, I am gaining more than 3,000 hits per month.

It soon became clear that people —  amazingly — found it interesting enough to spend their precious time reading about my life. 

I decided to try and expand my reader base by creating a Facebook fan page, inviting friends and watching it grow. But it soon became apparent that Facebook wasn’t really achieving what I wanted and although I was getting the likes,  I really wasn’t getting any interaction. It would seem that unless you’re willing to pay Facebook to promote your posts it is really hard to get noticed, so I looked for a better option. 

That option was Twitter. Twitter gives you the opportunity to target your market and communicate directly with the people you wish to speak with,  which ultimately helps you no end. The directors of companies that once seemed so elusive were now just 140 characters away from hearing about me. 

I can’t express how much Twitter has helped The Apprentice-Ship since my first days using it — and I have  amassed a flattering amount of followers.

I spend a few hours a day on various social media websites — as well as Twitter I use Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Flipboard. Using these sites engage me with more people and teach me about the subjects I am interested in.

If you want to build a successful business, then embrace social media. I have been offered bricklaying jobs, I have been offered writing jobs, as well as radio and newspaper interviews. I first heard about my scholarship with The Prince’s Foundation , I have been nominated for several awards due to my lovely followers voting for me — all thanks to the power of Twitter.

Samuel-James Wilson is a heritage brick worker and blogger. You can find his blog at The Apprentice-Ship.

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