Interviewier’s Note: Today’s interview comes from Kemya, who talks about marketing, social media etiquette, and her approach to building relationships with her followers.
Hello Kemya! What does your business do?
My business functions as a virtual marketing department, specializing in marketing strategy. I’m a solopreneur at Phisco Marketing, and I take your marketing from zero to sixty in no time.
How did you get involved in the industry?
As an undergrad business student, I considered all the business-school majors. Then it struck me: no matter what industry you’re in, you need marketing. So marketing became my undergrad and graduate major, and I never looked back! Social media is just a new component to marketing.
What made you decide to start using social media as a professional tool?
It’s because of my profession that I really started using social media. I was apprehensive because I didn’t see the value in it. People would ask me to join networks and I’d politely ignore them. But I knew in order to develop my business, I had to understand and utilize the current tools of the trade, and suck it up, so I joined the social media party. It wasn’t an option to stay behind. Now I’m all in.
What role does Twitter play in your business? Do you foresee it changing in the near future?
I’m a Twitter groupie! It’s my number one social media platform for sharing and engaging. I keep in contact with marketers, competitors, current and prospective clients via Twitter. I started Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pretty much simultaneously, and Twitter just grabbed my attention and interest the most. I really don’t see this changing much in the near future, I’m still hooked on the ease by which I can access so many industry movers and shakers.
What impact or change to your business have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing?
I’ve seen a huge impact in business. I’m constantly answering questions, sharing content and developing relationships, and I take the conversations offline as well. Just the sheer number of people you can reach with social media is mind-boggling. I can reach people with no geographic boundaries and that is one of the most beneficial opportunities a business can have. I tweet with people across the globe on a daily basis. I’m making the majority of my business connections via Twitter now. I can continue to market myself as a virtual consultant, which up until these last few years wasn’t really an option. The home page of my company website is now my blog feed, which I couldn’t have predicted a year ago. It just reflects my priority to provide dynamic content as the best means to engage my audience.
Are there any of your accomplishments with social marketing that you are particularly proud of?
I’m proud that I figured out how to utilize the social media environment as a new component of marketing. It was extremely challenging at first because I was in the marketing profession before social media came about, I think I might’ve been working in marketing before the internet! So it’s a completely different environment and understanding of the business climate when your colleagues are not face-to-face and you can’t read their body language or watch their eyes. Social marketing is so unique in this regard. I’m proud I’ve built connections and friends all around the world using social media in a professional capacity. That’s pretty impressive to me!
You’ve got a pretty big following- 1,500 people. How did you build that?
At first, I had no strategy and I was winging it. That got me to less than 100 followers in over 4 months. Then I realized I needed a strategy. So I figured out what I wanted to tweet about, which is marketing since that’s my core business. Then I looked for the industry movers and shakers via searches and hashtags and started following them. Then I looked at who they followed, and found more tweeps to engage with. I use the Twitter search function because it makes researching the right tweeps to follow based on content that much easier. I also use Twellow from time to time as well. I made sure I retweeted people, said thank you, answered questions, tweeted original content and participated in tweetchats on a regular basis.
Sounds very disciplined, but still quite manageable.
It really comes down to setting quantifiable biweekly goals and keeping myself accountable. I can’t grow my business virtually without growing my followers. I still use this same strategy because it works.
How do you choose who you will follow? What do you look for in a follower?
I look at a few criteria, and I will say right off the bat I don’t autofollow and I don’t follow people with egg pics or empty bios. I look at a person’s bio to see if it’s in line with my industry and/or my audience. I look at the followers we have in common. I read their latest 10 or so tweets to see if they grab me or are applicable to marketing in general. I do this for 99% of the people I follow. My time is too limited to simply autofollow people and have them clog up my timeline. My criteria is a bit more relaxed for local tweeps simply because we’re neighbors, but the same general criteria still apply. I follow people that are technically my competitors, prospective clients, people that make me laugh, people that post inspirational messages, and people whose attitude I love!
What strategies did you use for social marketing?
Lurk, learn, consistency and patience. That’s the basis of my strategy, being very observant of what people are interested in, what they comment on, and the content that’s being shared. I don’t just jump into a new platform; I’d never sleep or get any work done. But I read about upcoming concepts and platforms and I keep my eyes and ears open. I look at what captures people’s attention, how many times content is shared, who shares it, and which content goes viral, which still fascinates me. I make sure I consistently post relevant content and remain engaged with my followers. Another important component of my strategy is patience. At first I thought I’d get tons of followers right away, because of course I think what I have to say and share is important. It took me a while to realize there are millions of us floating in the social space with just as much significant content to share, so I have to continue to be patient in watching my social fan base grow. It’s fun to see those numbers climb.
Regarding social media as a professional tool: What worked for you?
Using social media as a research tool has been huge for me. Research is a big part of my business, whether it’s researching my competitors, clients and prospects, events, organizations. Blogging has also been extremely beneficial for me. My blog has developed into my social media core; when people ask for my website I give my blog address. It’s the one place you can clearly see my passion and my personality. Tweeting relevant content has been the clear driver of my following increase, and as an avid writer Twitter has forced me to become a creative wordsmith in 140 characters, whether it’s rewriting a tweet or posting a quick comment, it’s helped me develop my writing ability.
What didn’t work for you?
Auto follow hasn’t worked for me. I tried it and it stunk, especially in the beginning when I had so many spammers and non-professional people following me. Trying the latest platforms hasn’t worked either, it’s too time consuming for too little ROI. I would register at a site and never go back. So I finally stopped doing that. Everything else I do on social media has been deliberate, and now I experiment with new platforms as they develop and as I see being able to spend some time using them.
What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?
Twitter gives me the easiest access to millions of people. It’s also the fastest way to get an answer to any question. I love the speed and attentiveness of the users. If I have a question, or need something, I just ask my tweeps. I like reading sound bites, and when you tweet you have to be blunt, which is just my speed. It’s social media on steroids.
What lessons have you learned about Twitter, social media, and online marketing?
Wow, that’s a good question. I’ve learned everyone should not be on Twitter, I think you have to be dedicated to engaging to be successful. Everyone can’t do that. I’ve learned social media is a part of an overall marketing strategy, and if you’re using it for business, it should be treated as such. I’ve learned everyone has their own unique social media voice, and they should learn how to channel their knowledge into an interesting conversation in order to successfully engage here. I’ve learned blogging is the way to publish dynamic content and stay relevant in this fast-paced climate. I’ve learned you can’t sit on the sidelines and expect people to know who you are. Social media has removed all the boundaries of income, class and geography, and the small business owner can firmly stand toe-to-toe with the big guys. Finally, I’ve learned social media is here to stay, whether you like it or not.
Follow Kemya on Twitter here.
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