Janet works for OrangeSoda Enterprise, a company that has a website as fresh as its name, and with her we launch Featured Experts – a category that will bring you advice from the best of the best in public relations and social media.
I met her via Twitter – where she goes by @NewspaperGrl – follow her and I promise you will not regret it. My first impression was that OrangeSoda made the best move in hiring her. After she graciously answered all the questions in the interview below… well, I’m even more impressed:
Everything PR: What is your professional slogan and which are the most important values of your profession?
Janet: If I had a slogan it would be about the long term value of trust. Since I don’t, I’ll steal one from my friend Nate Moller: small success leads to big success.
I started small, never expecting anyone besides friends and family to read my blog or follow me. When you have passion for something it attracts people. I started blogging because the minute I heard about internet marketing I knew it’s what I wanted to do. I spent two years reading, talking, thinking, and writing about it all the time. Then I started to apply what I’d learned, which is what I’m still doing. My blog was the jumping off point.
In this profession steady progress is rewarded. Google doesn’t index all new web pages and search engines don’t trust sites with a million links overnight. Instead over time search engines and people reward you for consistent value over time and for being authentic. Also by the company you keep (who links to you, writes about you, etc). Good marketing is really giving good information and providing value to others rather than focusing on what you can get out of it. Most of the time it’s an investment over time, not a silver bullet.
EPR: What practices are off-limits for any social media consultant?
Janet: Spamming social sites by putting up a lot of links and hardly any real information or value. If you try to take a lot more than you give it will turn people off and they’ll ignor you.
I’d rather spend effort on a few sites and learn them well than try to be involved on every social media site. You can always put up profiles on social networks using keyword phrases to link to key areas of your web site or blog. Go ahead and create a profile on several social sites with a link back to your main profile where you’re most active. There is SEO value in just having the links, even if that’s all you do.
Most businesses get overwhelmed trying to do too much – they want to be everywhere and they want instant results. They underestimate the amount of hands-on work it takes to customize and build a strong presence on a social site. It can be very time-consuming or expensive to pay someone else to manage this – especially at first. Then there is maintenance. If you love it though, it will be fun to do.
EPR: Why OrangeSoda Enterprise?
Janet: I was working from home running a blogging business and my largest client suddenly disappeared with no warning. I hadn’t diversified and relied too heavily on this client. Suddenly I owed a lot of people money (a large check bounced) right before Christmas. I looked for internet marketing jobs and interviewed with OrangeSoda in January of 2007 – a year ago.
I was impressed with the executives and the fun atmosphere. It reminded me of my days working for Internet startups and I was glad to be working for a company that was centered online and had an Internet culture. OrangeSoda has expanded and recently created the Enterprise division to service larger clients. It has lost some of the startup feel now but it’s still a great place to work and I have a phenomenal team. Since I am a social person, I would rather be at a job than work at home (I know that for many people in my field, it’s the opposite).
EPR: What are your predictions for the future of social media and which business sectors do you think that would benefit the most from the use of social media?
Janet: Social media will continue to expand because people love to get to know others who share their interests and to communicate. There is already a social network for just about any group of people or interest. I predict more social sites will be created around other groups online. For example, Twitter has spurned some of its own niche social networks like Twitter Moms.
I also think more large brands will launch creative marketing campaigns through social networks and tie them into their other marketing efforts. The beauty of them being involved in social media is there is always a place to give feedback to a business and get a quick response. Most corporate web sites don’t do this well.
Most sectors can benefit from social media – if they’re willing to be social (participate). If you don’t update consistantly or don’t contribute, then social media won’t add that much value. To really be part of a community takes work and if you’re not willing to do it you won’t see the results.
EPR: What advice would you give to a job seeker to find employment in your field?
Janet: It depends on the level of job you want, but I’ll speak to someone just starting out. If you write and have something to say, start blogging about and share your expertise. Always keep learning and follow the blogs or tweets of people who are trusted as good sources of information. Learn from them – what works, what doesn’t. Most of my original blog posts were summaries like that.
There are people who do what you want to do, in just about any city. Get to know who they are. Go to events where they are speaking or attend online. I found a local college class and audited it. That class opened up a lot of opportunities for me. Talk to people, ask them questions, and participate either in real life or online. Be sure to leave comments on blogs you read, and have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
I have an RSS feed of internet marketing jobs in my area on Indeed.com so I can keep up with what is going on locally. You don’t need a job to start consulting (taking projects) or building your own online business so you can apply what you know. Potential employers should Google your name, so be sure what comes up is professional and qualified. The worst thing is if they find nothing about you at all.