For this instalment of BEINSPIRED! we had the opportunity of interviewing one of our favourite Twitter friends, PR entrepreneur Ronke Lawal, who also has interests in food blogging, is a trustee board member (which she encourages everyone to do especially women) and has also started a YouTube channel as an exercise in sharing her skills with people. We hope you will learn something and also be inspired as we were.
What is a typical day (if there’s anything like that) for you like?
Most days are routine to be honest. Get to my laptop and fully charged phone and start responding to messages. As you can imagine if I have a client story that’s doing well I have to be really responsive to press calls and emails, so I have to be on my emails. Also make calls to media contacts and clients as planned through the day. Make some time for lunch then back to drafting press releases, looking through a client campaign, measuring success and responding to more messages. I tend to use social media as a promotional and networking tool. Twitter can be my “virtual water cooler” as I work from home so it’s nice to have a virtual space to keep up to date with the news and people who I have met on twitter but are now friends offline. I will also check my other platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook Business Pages and Instagram but I manage my social media, I do not allow social media to manage me, there are so many tools out there to help with this that it becomes like second nature. Depending on how the day is going I attend a business event or a client press launch.
Through the whole journey of being an entrepreneur what has been the greatest challenges you have faced and what have you learnt along the way?
The greatest challenge has been myself to be honest. I have often kept myself from seeing the greatness I am capable of due to my own lack of confidence or fear. Conquering those doubts and fear is still a work in progress but I know that with true self-belief I can do anything. I am capable of amazing things. I have also learnt to not be so hard on myself, I have made mistakes in life and businesses and it is so tempting to wallow in self-pity when you realise that the mistake itself can be used as part of a learning curve than great things happen.
‘ I have made mistakes in life and businesses and it is so tempting to wallow in self-pity when you realise that the mistake itself can be used as part of a learning curve than great things happen.’
What are some of the misconceptions people have of Social Media?
Many people think it is a waste of time but this is because they do not take the time to realise it’s value. They also let social media overwhelm them. I do not allow social media to control me as I stated earlier, I do not receive any notifications on my phone or via email (only if I am running a paid for campaign or receiving emails via LinkedIN) – the power of logging in when I choose to means that Social media becomes just that…SOCIAL.
‘Business happens on social media, news happens, even relationships happen on social media so there really is no longer an excuse to dismiss it as a waste of time if you’re in business.’
How does one manage self-promotion or self-marketing on Social Media without it seeming like bragging or flooding timelines?
This is tricky because I have learnt that I need to self-promote more, people buy people afterall and since I tell my client that they should be using it for promotion it really is a priority. However I have found that if you cross-promote, share other people’s good news and celebrate others you can strike a balance. Your timeline is yours to do with as you please so it is important to be authentic. If you’re not comfortable promoting yourself than consider hiring a social media manager to do it for you.
What positive impact and/or lessons has Social Media brought to you both professionally and personally?
I am who I am both online and offline, the only difference is I genuinely don’t feel comfortable sharing areas of my private life on social media – actually I don’t share my private life offline unless it’s with a handful of close friends and family. Social media has taught me how to communicate, if you can get a powerful message across in a 5 minute video or 140 characters then you should be able to get a message across in a business meeting. I have also learnt that people are both amazing and bizarre in equal measure! I have attracted some great clients and made some great friends.
Have you ever gone on a Social Media detox? If so what did you learn from it and how long did it last?
Only if I feel that I’m spending too much time on a particular platform. Because I don’t need to be tied to any particular platform I don’t have to necessarily go on a detox but I’ll try to spend less time on the platforms during work hours or on weekends. Once in a while I’ll go for days at a time without logging on, purely to state present to whatever I am doing.
What advice would you give any young women who are looking to go into PR/Social Media Consultancy role?
NETWORK!!! Believe in yourself, I cannot stress this enough, my own lack of self-belief blocked me for many years. Also don’t worry about what people think of you as your strive towards your greatness, as long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else you can do anything.
Practice makes perfect, if you have any friends who can be your PR guinea pigs then run a press campaign for them. It helps to build relationships with journalists too, social media can be your friend here. If you can engage with journalists, naturally without trying to force a story down their throats then you are more likely to stay in their good books.
Who inspires you and why?
Oprah Winfrey – she is a true example of what it means to never give up. Her tenacity and drive are so inspirational. She has also never lost sight of God in all that she does and all that she continues to do she is thankful to the most high.
Lord Alan Sugar – his authenticity is just amazing! What you see is what you get and I respect that.
Mellody Hobson – she is just a phenomenal woman who I admire.
Name 3 of your favourite books of all time and why?
Matilda – Roald Dahl – this is a children’s book which teachs us that no matter where you find yourself in life, what your circumstances you must never give up as your gifts cannot be dimmed regardless of the negativity that may surround you.
Marianne Williamson – A Woman’s Worth – it is full of so much power and wisdom about how we as women can and should reclaim our power.
Chart Throb – Ben Elton – this book is HILARIOUS and speaks into the scary reality of popular culture, such a great book!
Social Butterfly: Where to find Ronke on Twitter & Instagram
Photo Credit: Tunji Falana