This 71 year old knows more about social media than you and I do.

While various social media apps can help you be more effective or more productive or more accurate, a passionate desire to connect is far more powerful than any software package. A brand that has a genuine willingness to engage with their customers will trump one that doesn’t, regardless of the budget, websites, widgets or tools used.

You want proof? Don’t talk to the 21 year old social media evangelist who’s busy building their Google+ profile in the corner. Talk to 71 year old Evelyn Hannon.

Back when putting brochures online was considered breakthrough, Evelyn decided to launch a website for female travellers called JourneyWoman.com.

That was 1997.
And she hasn’t changed the design since.

Seriously. There’s no flash. No video. No HTML 5. Or, in her words, “…there’s no fancy shmancy”. Check it out. You’ll be amazed. It’s so old school, it’s retro. Her site is the Polaroid in a sea of iPhone 4 HD cameras. One look and you’ll think you got to it by putting a punch card into a mainframe.

What it does have, though, is a massive loyal community of active contributors.

• She has an e-newsletter with over 75,000 subscribers.
• She has 13,000 Twitter followers.
• She built a global database of female mentors.
• She’s been an imbedded blogger on a ship sailing around the world.
• People from over 200 countries follower her, read her and trust her.

She has no heavily researched strategy, she’s never checked out Google Analytics, she doesn’t read up on what the experts say she should do and her approach to engagement, refreshingly, doesn’t even use the word “engagement”.

All she does is care.

She cares about the subject of travel. She cares about helping women. She cares about being genuine.
She acts like a grandmother. Not surprising because, well, she is.

Evelyn reminds us that real communities don’t live on Twitter or Facebook. They camp out there. Real communities live because of a passion that is shared by those who belong to it. And when it’s strong enough, that community can exist anywhere.

Have a listen. You won’t just love Evelyn. You’ll love her approach.
Success may be a journey but this woman has figured out what to do along the way.

5 Comments

  1. karma yoga and yoga community | linda's yoga journey
  1. Just imagine growing up with this woman as your mentor. Yes – I am the lucky offspring of Journeywoman. And as I ventured up the creative ladder in agencies, my mother would constantly question the stuff I was calling ‘strategy’ and come up with fresh, innocent and mind blowing ideas on how to get people to connect with brands – and she had no idea she was radical!

    What she’s built is a case study on why social media rules today. When I meet with clients who want ‘social media’ training, it’s my mother’s voice that says “Don’t worry about your ‘delivery mechanisms like Facebook or Twitter. Spend your time understanding your PEOPLE, what moves them, inspires and drives them. They will follow you if you lead them somewhere they really want to go – or better yet, let them lead you and make their journey a juicy one”.

    If anyone would like to rent my mother for a few days, just get in touch with me….

    • Jennifer S.

      I love your mother’s site I have been a member since 1998 after a friend sent me her page.

      I would love just to be a step-sister for a summer…don’t think I could afford her rent LOL

  2. absolutely agree with keep it simple google site works fast and delivers a simple message. That is what works.

    Viva la Women.

    Sophia

  3. One of the smartest things I have done in my life was to contact Evelyn when I was just starting my travel blog. I had already been a Journeywoman follower and newsletter subscriber for a couple of years when I realized we lived in the same city. I contacted her and she agreed to meet with me, and I will never forget the afternoon we spent on a patio drinking tea and talking. That afternoon set the course of my blogging career. She was so generous, so giving and so SMART!

    I agree with everything she says, and especially this: “Evelyn reminds us that real communities don’t live on Twitter or Facebook. They camp out there. Real communities live because of a passion that is shared by those who belong to it. And when it’s strong enough, that community can exist anywhere.”

    I have been building my blog and my community a lot slower than most people these days, but I believe i will prevail in the long run because it’s based on shared passion.

    Thank goodness I have had Evelyn in my corner, as a guide, mentor and friend.

    Mariellen

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