Learn Before You Tweet: Jorge’s Approach to Using Twitter

Interviewer’s Note:  I love how the internet allows us to be be so many different things.  How many times a day do you find a Twitter bio of somebody who, in the words of Walt Whitman, ‘contains multitudes’?  Today’s interview is with one such person: Jorge Salazar, a social media expert, a veterinary consultant, and more.

Hello Jorge, welcome to the Pluggio Blog!  You seem to wear a lot of hats- social media consultant, veterinary consultant (what does that consist of, by the way?)

Yeah, variety is something I’m attracted to and enjoy.   We at Veterinary Consultation Services provide our clients, who are predominantly animal hospitals, with client communication, veterinary dentistry, and practice management expertise that stimulates their efficacy and bottom line. VCS’s services range from dental x-ray trainings to communication coaching to standardizing service charges into packages. Its fun stuff. And the best part is by helping our clients, we’re helping pets.

How did you get into that line of work?

After getting barred in Florida (attorney), I worked at a Legal Aid providing free legal services to South Florida’s low income community. While I found the work to be extremely rewarding, I needed something more business focused, more entrepreneurial; so I joined my brother, Paul Camilo (@vetconsultant), and became a partner and consultant at VCS.

What role does Twitter play in your business?

It’s a vital one, of many functions. First, it’s a platform or channel where we provide a presence for our clients. Second, its our primary connection to the social industry. Third, it’s an effective marketing outlet that connects to potential clients and strategic relationships. And those are just the Top 3 roles.

What impact or change have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing?

It has revolutionized business-client communication. Facebook forced forward-thinking businesses to humanize themselves through their community’s “likes” and provided an unparalleled opportunity to spread its brand/message through digital word-of-mouth. Twitter capitalized on that paradigm shift and took it five steps further by creating a mass culture based on communities, mobile, and instant information. As a result, consumers now share their brand experiences as they occur providing businesses with invaluable information on what their product or service is and what it should be. Furthermore, businesses now have the opportunity to convert a consumer’s negative brand experience into a positive brand experience worth sharing. It made business-client communication more personal, engaging, and meaningful.

Also, social marketing generally has leveled the marketing playing field substantially by enabling small businesses to project their brands to the masses at a fraction of the cost that TV and print demands. Its given David a few more stones to hurl at Goliath.

Are there any of your accomplishments with social marketing that you are particularly proud of?

We got our first client strictly through social media communications. You can hear all the amazing statistics, understand the opportunity, and know others who have reaped the benefits from social marketing, but until you experience it yourself you’re inherently skeptical. So when it all came together and provided a tangible benefit to affirm our faith in the social industry, it was a special moment.

How do Twitter/social media help you achieve your goals?

How does it not?!?  Not only is Twitter integral to our provided service, marketing, and education, it also introduced us to social media as a business tool.

How did you build your following? What kinds of people/businesses are they?

I started slowly. My first few months; I was just listening. Observing and trying to get a sense of what was happening, why it was happening, and how it was happening. After developing an understanding of the veterinary industry, which was my initial targeted community, I became an active participant in the conversation. I began sharing a constant stream of entertaining and educational articles, industry resources, and a window into my personal brand, my life. This constant stream of content, coupled with the following of tweeps who share similar interests and leveraging of different social media tools, is what grew my following.

How will you choose who you will follow? 

As a business, there’s two different types of tweeps we follow: accounts who share quality content and businesses who have great untapped social media potential, yet are, at best, sporadically active. The former allows us to stay on the educated on the various industries we’re involved in and the latter provides potential clients who stand to gain a great deal from our service. As an individual, I sprinkle in some travelers, athletes, and inspirational tweeps for my entertainment.

What do you look for in a follower?

When it comes to followers, I want passion! In my experience, tweeps who are passionate about a topic will engage more often and share their honest views. This gives rise to more meaningful exchanges, which in turn leads to real relationships.

If you could go back to when you first began using social media, what is one thing you would have done differently?

Listen more actively. While I feel I did a decent job of observing before jumping head first into the conversation, I would ask more questions and follow conversations more closely. Asking the right questions facilitates a deeper understanding of the conversation and creates meaningful exchanges. Its a sure way to build spirited relationships and a more engaged community.

What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?

Provide access! It connects me to people and industries who I would otherwise be inaccessible. On a business level, it allows us to reach decision makers who we normally would be screened from. On a personal level, I allows me to summon near immediate customer service. If I’m not happy with my experience with a product or service, I can simply tweet something out and minutes and I can have my issue addressed. Its amazing! Its changed me from a person who never left reviews or feedback to somebody who openly shares most of my brand experiences as they happen.

What lessons have you learned about Twitter and online marketing?

Its an ever-changing environment. While this is true with most things, Twitter and the rest of the social media industry is in its infancy stage and is continually transforming itself at a rapid rate. You must continue listening, learning, and evolving. Becoming comfortable and static is a sure way to miss the boat.

Follow Jorge on Twitter here.