Interviewer’s Note: In today’s interview with Shara Lawrence-Weiss of Mommy Perks, she mentioned how much she enjoyed chatting with people, and that it was a key to successfully using Twitter. I’ve come to agree, especially since Twitter has become the child of the old chat rooms, which seem all but dead. For old time’s sake, I recently visited one of the Yahoo! chat rooms, but was disappointed to find myself spammed relentlessly by bots. Do those EVER turn into business? If Twitter is Chat’s direct descendent, then it holds that businesses should remember: bots, spam, and pushy advertising do not translate into sales; they only turn off your potential chat-mates to being your friend. But enough about that- let’s talk with Shana!
Hello Shara! Welcome to the Pluggio Blog! In a nutshell, how do you describe your business?
My husband and I run our business, Mommy Perks, together. We offer web design, development, hosting, graphics, SEO, marketing, social media packages, content writing and more.
How did you get started?
My husband started his own business back in 1997. I started my first business in 2007. Rick began his business because he was unable to find work for a period of time and decided to stop looking and rely on his own ability to produce an income. I started my business because I was bored. LOL.
Haha! Quite different motivations, eh? So what role does Twitter play in your business?
Oh, gosh – Twitter has been so good to me! I tweet every day. I’ve met wonderful and SMART people on Twitter – teachers, business owners, educators, moms, dads, friends and more. Most of my clients find me through Twitter now; generally through word-of-mouth.
What impact or change have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing?
I use Twitter as a way to engage with others. I chat, answer questions, ask questions, post content, tweet articles that are helpful to parents or business owners, etc. People have gotten to know me on Twitter and we have built relationships. That has greatly impacted my personal life AND my business life.
Are there any of your accomplishments with social marketing that you are particularly proud of?
I run a campaign a while back called Twitter Charity Hats. Business owners donated money to a charity of their choosing and in turn I worn a logo hat as my Twitter avatar for one week. The business got free marketing/PR and the charity got a donation!
How do Twitter/social media help you achieve your goals?
I love chatting with people, learning and teaching. I find that Twitter helps me with each of these goals – I chat with folks daily, I learn from others and I teach others what I know. I love it!
How did you build your following? What kinds of people/businesses are they?
Funny story. I had someone else start my account long ago. She thought Twitter was great and I thought it was silly. I told her to run it for me. I then took over when she needed to work on other projects. Soon enough I found that meeting people on Twitter was something I really enjoyed. I’ve only followed a few people first. The others have all followed me first and I simply follow back (anyone family friendly).
How will you choose who you will follow? What do you look for in a follower?
I try to follow back anyone family friendly and anyone who isn’t “spammy” looking. Some folks won’t follow others if they are new to Twitter. I love following back newbies. I can help them learn to use Twitter and hey – we may even become friends!
If you could go back to when you first began using social media, what is one thing you would have done differently?
Hmm… I am not sure I’d change a thing. I was patient about my following and didn’t try to rush anything. I tweeted about information that I found helpful, hoping it would help others. I built things up slowly but surely and I’m glad that I did. I don’t think I’d change anything, to be honest.
What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?
I can view content very quickly and I can tweet quickly. I can use hashtags to reach a particular audience and within seconds, thousands of people can see an article tweet, etc. It’s pretty amazing, eh? Twitter reaches so many eyes in no time flat.
What lessons have you learned about Twitter and online marketing?
Give. Give. Get. That’s the biggest lesson. If you re-tweet others, they will usually re-tweet you. If you engage, others engage. If you give, you get. On the other hand, if you demand sales or attention from people on Twitter, you fall flat right away.
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