Q: Tell us about the time when you decided to “Press Reset” and start your own Social Media agency?
A: I was working at Ketchum PR as SVP of Ketchum Digital. In two years I had created their first true Global Social Media practice and I was having a lot of success selling clients like FedEx, Weight Watchers, Conagra, and Newell Rubbermaid social media services and billing a ton of money for the agency. I knew that I was doing something groundbreaking and had the luxury of working for a company that allowed me to innovate on their dime. Working in the music industry taught me a lot about hustle and I wanted to bet on myself. I knew it would be a lot of hard work but I just decided that the time was right to leave Ketchum and start my own agency. We landed Delta as a client before we even had business cards and in the first year in business we did over $1 Million dollars in sales. Today Social People has offices in LA and Atlanta and we employ 8 people with clients in the US and London.
Q: Is it better being in business for yourself than working for an employer; are there some advantages of being an entrepreneur?
A: I absolutely love being in business for myself. Yes building your own business is a huge risk but I felt very prepared for the opportunity. My biggest advantage is the ability to dream big and think completely out of the box. We also are always innovating new ideas for client service products. When you are inside of an agency it’s very difficult to stay creative. I built my agency with the idea that “staying creative” is a part of our DNA.
Q: How has social media and the internet changed the landscape of how we do business?
A: Unfortunately you don’t have enough room on this blog to allow me to answer! Seriously, the internet and digital communications is affecting EVERY business I don’t care what it is. For small and large companies it has given them the ability to hear directly from their customers and make REAL TIME brand management decisions. Digital communications and social media is the most disruptive force in business and it’s no longer enough to just stand on the sidelines. Lack of implementation and understanding will cost you your business.
Q: Having worked in the music biz, you understand the importance of a new artist “branding” themselves; how can new artists use the internet/social to their benefit?
A: New artists should think of the internet as the greatest opportunity to talk directly to their customers and hear directly from them. It’s real time feedback and analysis. No longer do you need to wait on the traditional media outlets to cover your story. YOU ARE A MEDIA outlet and need to broadcast your story. Mastery of the tools means mastery of your marketing communication and image. The best thing a new artist could do today is begin to build a one to one relationship with the social media tools and digital communication outlets available.
Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting out or someone looking to make a career switch into social media?
A: Learn how communities work ASAP. It is vital that you have mastered managing a community online. It could be your family reunion page on Facebook or Seesmic Spaces but in the end the understanding of being the “mayor” of a digital community is a skill set that you will need for a brand. Secondly, a baseline understanding of analytics and metrics is pretty important. One of the fastest growing positions in corporations is the role of a “Social Media Community Manager” and several of the Fortune 500’s are building teams.