Last week was big for me. I flew over to Sydney to receive my Finalist Certificates for the Social Media Marketing Awards Australia & New Zealand, the industry's biggest award in our region.
I was voted into the TOP 5 by a select group of international judges, in 2 categories:
The past few days have been quite intense, with of course, the Gala Ceremony being the highlight of last week! I am feeling a tremendous amount of excitement, honour and pride to be a finalist. Also, receiving lots of valuable feedback from my colleagues gave me an awesome boost and professional reassurance to keep continuing what I do in this space.
And then, when I arrived back home, a sense of tiredness rushed through me. It’s like, you know, when you are on a road trip, it’s amazing, you gain lots of new experiences, and then finally you arrive, ready to take a break, pause, and just contemplate on the memories while you look back on your trip. Now that’s what happened to me.
So I took a few days to reflect, look back, evaluate, and of course treasure the moments, the journey. The B!Social journey that started almost 2 years ago, right here, in Nelson, New Zealand. Born out of a new challenge, and with it, a complete new me was born.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have been following, were/ or are part of this journey.
Here are some of my favourite highlight moments of the Social Media Marketing Awards Gala Dinner. Thank you Social Media Marketing Institute, I will never forget! I am now back, full of new energies, inspiration, and lots of valuable new knowledge to share.
And if you are curious to hear how the B!Social journey started, just keep reading :)
4 chapters, a cup of me, and of course, best accompanied with a cup of tea. Grab it, and enjoy! :)
Live from the Awards Ceremony in Sydney:
1. The Big Move
It all started with a decision that we are moving to New Zealand. Yes, we fell in love with the country when we first came to visit as a tourist, together with my husband. At that stage of our lives, we were craving for change… a big change. The breathtaking nature, the beauty of the place and the relaxed lifestyle instantly stole our hearts. This was exactly what we were looking for. So we started dreaming… one day, we will live here. Those of you who moved to this part of the world can maybe relate? :)
2. Dream it, Do it. But what then?
Yes, the story goes - be careful what you ask for, because it might turn into reality. You ask for change. You get it. Well, I got it. And what a change it’s been. It set me off on probably the biggest journey of my life. Not just in distance and time zones if you know what I mean… (New Zealand is actually on exactly the opposite side of the world compared to Europe, so you can’t really get any further…)
A journey where I got to learn much more about myself than ever before.
Parts of this very personal journey became part of a photoblog I started writing for my own pleasure. It went on for approximately two years. A very rewarding process through which I learned not only how to build my own website, write a blog and post on social media as I have seen it from talented travel bloggers and so called digital nomads from all over the world…
But I also learned how to accept and express myself along the journey. Little had I known that this experience and the enormous amount of knowledge I gained though it will be so useful that one day I will be able to use it to help my own clients get over themselves and give them the courage to share their own stories.
Yes, we all have a story to share. But long story short… The move to New Zealand and the transformation that came with it set the basis of B!Social, and without this backstory, it just wouldn’t be complete.
3. From professional to digital diplomat
Deciding to leave professional diplomacy, my career, and actually, the way I used to live behind… Definitely one of the biggest consequences of our move, and a choice that wasn’t easy to make. I could take some time off. But the time came when I had to make a decision.
The reality was - there was simply no way I could continue working as a diplomat from Nelson. It may be the centre of New Zealand, and the middle of my universe in many ways, but definitely not too many embassies or international organisations around here. So I had to look for new opportunities. And it was very much in line with my personal journey, too.
The move from Paris to Nelson at this particular point seemed very enormous, and very challenging, though.
From Paris to Nelson. From global to local.
I just didn’t seem to be able to find something that fitted my experience, my vision and my needs. So I decided to launch my very first business, ever, after being an employee in huge organisations, in many different roles and fields, for over 10 years.
Learning & starting everything from scratch. While building on strong bases and diverse international experiences. Repurposing my knowledge and skills, as I adapted them to the world of social media.
Turning into a self-made digital diplomat. As I created a business where I can do what I love and what I am the best at.
I think one of the biggest successes of B!Social is that I really tapped into my strengths, my needs, what I truly enjoy and fulfils me, and of course, I realised there was a need for a service I was able to offer.
As a professional diplomat, most of the days I was contributing to representing and promoting my country of origin, Hungary, raising its profile, getting it a lot of visibility. While being posted to other countries, on various missions.
I was seeking and building partnerships, fostering cooperations, doing lots of networking, preparing lots of so called reports. In a way, a form of storytelling. If the report was good and engaging, it often created an opportunity to build more partnerships, seek more cooperations, and of course tap into more information that again lead to even more cooperation. The perfect ROI.
When I look at what I do today, through leveraging social media, there is not too much of a difference. It is a very similar thing to diplomacy. It’s social. It’s about the people. And instead of travelling to different countries on a mission, I am now on a different mission whenever I work with a new client.
I help them raise their profiles and get visible. I help them promote themselves, network, build relationships. Connect with the right people. Their clients and customers. Helping them tell their stories. That again, creates more opportunities. To relate, to engage. The perfect ROI. Because people do business with people.
4. Getting over myself
One thing that I never had to face as a diplomat though - I never had a “real” voice. In a sense, that I was always representing the official point of view - of the government, of the ministry, an institution. Whether I liked it or agreed with it, or not, I had to voice it, had to represent it, and negotiate along those lines. It wasn’t my own voice. My own perspective. My own story. I was on a mission. It fitted my personality perfectly. And I could do my job in an excellent and genuine way.
But when I decided to launch my business, that is all around social media - the perfect place to show up and share, through pictures, videos, etc -, I had to face a very big personal challenge. I had to own my style. My image. My voice.
The image was relatively easy. As a former dancer, spending hours practicing the moves prior to the competitions, perfecting them as you watch yourself in the mirror, definitely helped a lot to make friends with my own image. But I will leave that story for another day.
The voice though…It wasn’t anymore about representing someone else. I had to stand for myself. I knew I had to show the real me.
It was also a matter of efficiency and strategy. If I show the real me, I will attract the right people who are interested in the real me. In doing business with the real me.
Because realness resonates. It creates an opportunity to connect. Connect with the right people. If they don’t resonate, they won’t keep reading my posts, watching my videos, reading my stories. They won’t engage with my services. We both save time. If they resonate, they are more likely to enjoy working with me. That will lead to happy clients. Good recommendations. More opportunities. And a happy me.
In order to achieve this, I had to actually find my voice. Accept and make friends with my voice. Tap into the tone of my voice. My realness, my humour. Own my voice. Use my voice. So I can show up for real and tell my own story.
I learned how to get over myself, my fears, self-judgements. I learned how to embrace who I really am, what I truly love, and what I am really good at. I let go of things that don't serve me anymore - hard - and I kept things that I excel in - hard, too. Big steps as I walk through the journey of this fascinating life.
And big learnings that I can use today to share with my clients so they can tap into the opportunities. Opportunities that are literally at our fingertips.
B!Social is coming up to two years soon. The #SMMA2019 Awards, the lead up to it were the perfect occasion to reflect, and the days after receiving my finalist certificates made me pause and put things into perspective.
It’s been an exciting journey. I am feeling grateful for it. I honour and trust the process that comes along with it. The journey, along which I had to basically reinvent myself in this new environment, in a new role. A journey that made me learn and grow.
And through this journey, I can contribute to helping my clients, and the region I currently live in, grow, too. In so many ways.
Thank you for all your support.
Thanks for reading my story.
This is just the beginning!
As featured on Stuff.co.nz
About Bea Pole-Bokor
Hi, I'm Bea!