I recently had an opportunity to interview Ira Bowman on my “Out & About with Antionette” podcast.
Ira is the owner of Bowman Digital Media and founder of ProjectHelpYouGrow who has been happily married for 20 years, and is the father of eight children. Ira strives to help people build their businesses, grow visibility via social media management and website development. He is also a professional photographer who takes the most awesome pictures ever!
Ira is also a TEDx Speaker who recently spoke in Wilmington where we had an opportunity to talk about his love of photography, he, however, hadn’t planned on becoming a photographer. Although photography has been a major part of his family for generations; his uncle is one of the most famous photographers in the country and there are several other professional photographers in his family, including his dad this made him not want to pursue it.
Ira got his start in print media, but photography is where he spends most of his free time, it’s actually something that he would do for free. To him, it’s a mental escape, there’s something about being behind the camera and seeing some of those gifts that God has created, appreciating it and trying to tell a story with the photos.
Working in the digital print media realm for more than 20 years, starting in his living room in Las Vegas, he worked for the largest reprographics print company in the world. They had famous artists who would bring in masters of their artwork and they wanted them reproduced.
Many of these artists really needed the income but Ira didn’t want to be held liable for ruining an artist’s piece of work so the best and most obvious solution was to take a photo of it to be sold without ruining the texture of it and so he learned a lot along the way.
2nd Level = Digital & Social Media
The love of digital media came from creating content about the prints that he was reproducing, The company didn’t have a marketing department or a graphic designer so Ira talked to them about increasing their visibility and that is how he got into social media, a vehicle to spread the brand awareness especially to the smaller Mom and Pop Shops in the area.
Ira moved from Las Vegas to Texas then to the Bay Area in San Francisco and used social media, specifically LinkedIn as the way to stay connected with his clients. His following has grown to over 199,562 followers today.
Leveling Up on LinkedIn
Michael Connor helped Ira understand how LinkedIn really worked. He got a better understanding of the levels, how to increase visibility and gain more followers.
So over time, he launched PojectHelpYouGrow which is a non-profit dedicated to helping connect job seekers to employers and recruiters who are hiring. Ira joined LinkedIn in 2009 with the initial 500 Connections like those in his Rolodex for the first couple months, but started growing his followers by 100 people a year.
However, after making a post about the ProjectHelpYouGrow, his connections grew by 400% and by the end of 2018, he had over 500,000 visitors and now has twenty-five thousand connections, and by February of 2019, he reached the limit on LinkedIn, which is thirty thousand connections and now is at a hundred and ninety-nine thousand followers.
Linkedin is more than posting jobs or resumes, it’s about making connections but much more than just posting and running, it’s commenting and contributing.
If you are ready to start a podcast and are looking for pointers, check out my other podcast, The Delaware Blogger Podcast which had new episodes every Saturday at 10 AM.