This section of our site is called “Expert Interviews.” It features interviews with top experts who will reveal ideas, perspectives, and methods that will help you take your business to the next level.
Today’s interview is with Janet Fouts.
1. Tell us a little about who you are and what you do.
I’m a social media coach, author and trainer on online marketing and social media for individuals and businesses. I own Tatu Digital Media, a San Jose, Ca based web development company and manage a team of designers, programmers and community managers.
I call myself a “Social Media Coach” rather than a consultant because for me it’s important to enable a client with the knowledge to make their efforts useful and worthwhile. We don’t just “do social media” for a client or tell them what they need to do and walk away, we help people understand the concepts, create a strategy that fits with their unique needs and resources, then help them implement it. The client can have our team assist them at whatever level they like, from community building/management to high level consulting and team training.
One of the really fun parts of my job are those “aha” moment when someone really gets the value. I do corporate training for teams from 1 to 500 as well as workshops for larger groups.
2. How did you get involved in social media?
The internet was developed to allow people to build communities around their interests, so hasn’t it always been about “social media”? That said when I built my first online community in 1996 it was SO hard to put all the pieces together. We built blogs with guestbook scripts cobbled together as “blogs” and forums were hand coded! Nowadays it’s so much easier to communicate and that’s why social media has flourished. The tools are finally in place for us all to easily create and manage networks that really mean something to us.
3. What do you feel is the common mistake business owners make when it comes to social media?
Not thinking about who is receiving their messaging. Many businesses 9and individuals for that matter) blast messaging indiscriminately across networks without focusing it for who they want to hear it. Worse yet, they don’t even pay attention when people DO hear it and want to talk back to them. If you’re going to broadcast go buy a billboard!
4. What are 5 things business owners can do to see more successful social media engagement?
Listen first. Find out what people are talking about you can relate too and see how you can help them solve a problem. The greatest businesses in the world are built by people who see a problem and a way to solve it to help other people achieve their goals. Do that.
Pick your networks carefully. Nobody can be on all the networks out there, so pick the ones where the people you want to talk to are, then focus down to 2-3 and sincerely engage there.
Engage. Look for people to share information with. Share the information put out there by other really smart people too. Talk back to potential clients and help them.
Be generous. Give away as much useful information as you possibly can. Answer questions. Be the go-to for answers and people will turn to you with their business too. Even in my business, where I might want someone to hire me for training, I give away a ton of information that is hopefully useful to an array of businesses. They still hire me to distill it for them and customize a strategy or training course to suit their needs.
Be consistent and patient. Social media takes time. There’s a snowball effect and you have to give it time to build. Expect to work hard for 3-6 months before you really see significant return on your investment. But then, all of a sudden you’ll see real success. The thing is; people get discouraged too quickly and they don’t realize results. Create a social media calendar for how often you’ll participate and on which networks and then commit to it.
5. You have a book called “#Social Media PR.” Can you explain a little about the potential of social media for PR?
I actually have 4 books. Social Media Success!, #SOCIALMEDIA PR, Google+ for Businesss, and #SOCIALMEDIA NONPROFIT. In the PR book, I give a lot of tips for reaching out to create a network of evangelists for a brand, rather than broadcasting a press release and hoping for the best! The traditional PR methods are expensive and demand an extensive personal network for a PR person. In the book, I show them how to extend that network for themselves as well as their clients.
6. Is there any final thing you’d like to share?
I’d like to encourage people to think before they dive into any social network. Listen, listen, listen and determine if that network is a good fit for your goals. Then create a strategy around what you’ve learned from listening instead of “spraying and praying’ the right people will find you.
- Interview With Twylah.com Co-founder Kelly Kim: 5 Things You Can Do To Get More Traction And Impact With Social Media (baybusinesshelp.com)