I wrote about Anne in this column almost two years ago this May. At that time she was focusing on her dream work, her blog and writing for Huffington Post and her radio show, “Dream Talk Radio.” In a year, much has changed in Anne’s amazing career.
What Anne discovered was that people were asking her about the importance of Social Media in their own lives and their businesses? Dream consciousness segwayed into Social Consciousness and then into Social Media Consciousness. Through a number of interviews with important experts in this field such as Eileen Clegg, Anne found that she was being asked to assist these people as they grew their own social media presence. Using her unique technical skills and experiences she gained building and using own social media presnece, Anne was able to provide the missing link. All this was a perfect match, one that one could say was “made in heaven.”
I asked Anne a series of questions. Here are my questions and her answers, which I think you’ll find very illuminating, especially if you are asking or beginning to ask these questions yourself.
-Why do you see Social Media as being important?
Social media is not an end to itself, it is a way through which we can expand our network of friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. It is especially important if you have something to say and want to be heard by more people for very little cost.
-What is the main reason that people in business should be concerned about Social Media?
Everyone is looking for an advantage, a way to create stability in a still-jittery economy. Social media is not a “thing” you build, like a standalone website. It is a developing form of communication that really will define the 21st century. There are lots of social media channels right now and they’re growing and changing rapidly. Businesses that want to expand their reach and influence—or even stay at their current level of operation—need to understand how social media can enhance their business model now, and especially going forward.
-And what is the biggest mistake people in business make when working with Social Media?
There is a tendency to try everything all at once, and I’ve seen more than one client tangled in a “digital jungle,” with half-finished profiles everywhere on the web, a Twitter feed they never use, all these approaches they’ve tried but never with a grand plan guiding it all. My job is to slow the train down, make sure the foundation is there and that their online presence is congruent with their business goals. With all the hype out there about social media, the basic principle is still about content. If you’ve got great content on one platform, that’s more important than having shallow content on several. In the end, social networking is the same as face-to-face networking: you gravitate to those who really have something to offer.
-Why it is important to have someone like you in developing and implementing a Social Media strategy?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social media. I spend a lot of time researching the various social media channels, and can sift through all the hype to find very practical but also far-reaching strategies for all different kinds of businesses. It’s really a fun process for me, because as an educator I love showing people how they can move forward and helping them learn new skills.
-What do you see as the most cutting edge of Social Media right now?
Local search directories, definitely. People are really giving up the phone book in favor of search tools like Yelp and Google Places. If you’re in business, you need to spend a day making sure you’ve got a profile on at least those two sites and all the information is current—in some cases, you may find that customers have already reviewed your business there. Being able to interact with customers where they already are is essential.
-How has your martial arts training in Aikido informed the work you are doing?
Being in business is a constant randori practice. There is incoming energy from all directions, and staying centered, aligned and focused through it is very challenging. I use the technique of expanding my awareness past my “attacker” and the confines of “the mat” all the time—whether the incoming energy is really positive, like a great new offer, or whether it represents a major conflict I have to deal with. I practice aikido in this way every day—I just wish it gave me the great physical workout that you get from training in a dojo!
-What advice would you give to someone thinking about putting their toes in the Social Media pond for the first time?
I talk to groups about platforms, which is a helpful way to think about social media. What platform do you have for your online presence right now? For some people it would be their LinkedIn profile, maybe Facebook or a website. Whatever it is, start there. Improve your content, do the obvious things to help clarify your message and improve visibility. Don’t take on too much at once because the most important thing is to be consistent with what you put out over social media.
When you get one platform optimized, then go search for another that’s a natural fit for your business, and can help raise the “authority” (a Google term, meaning how relevant and reliable your site is) of what you already have. Incremental strategies over the long-term are highly successful, but not many people will tell you that.
Anne still writes for the Huffington Post. Here is the link for Dream Talk Radio which is now on the web. And for information about Anne’s social medial work and her professional services with social media questions, please contact her at Creative Content Coaching.
Congratulations Anne. You’re making a big difference!