The Journey of a Social Media Marketer: Q&A with SMT Influencer Deborah Sweeney
Here at SMT, we're always thinking about how to put the social in Social Media Today. From our #SMTLive Twitter chats, social media groups, and other interactive social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) we get that social media is at its best when it brings people together.
Being that our influencers are one of our very favorite parts of our community, we decided sharing their stories, tips of the trade, and advice with you would be a fun (and very social) task. They’re the leaders of our SMT contributors, and they’re excited to share their perspectives with you.
This is the fourth in our series of interviews with our Social Media Today influencers.
Today we’re talking with SMT influencer Deborah Sweeney. Sweeney graduated from Pepperdine law and business schools, and writes in her SMT bio that she, “is the CEO of MyCorporation. MyCorporation provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation and Deborah at @deborahsweeney and on Google+.”
Social Media Today: How (and when) did you get started in the social media marketing world?
Deborah Sweeney: I got started in social media in 2008. I started blogging that year on my company blog and wrote short posts about our offerings and services that addressed frequently asked questions from customers.
SMT: What major impacts has social media had on your career and the marketing industry in general?
DS: Social media has made me, and my business, incredibly visible. It has allowed me to connect to new audiences and stay connected with partners in a way that might not have been possible otherwise. With partners, we work together to cross-blog and promote one another's businesses on our respective platforms. I meet new people through Twitter chats and am able to connect with other like-minded businesses and tell them more about what we do and who we are simply because I visible through participation.
SMT: What do you believe is the most challenging part of working in social media?
DS: I think this is a common issue many in social face, but one of the challenges is fighting against the need to be everywhere. You don't need a social presence on every possible platform. Some sites are genuinely not the best fit for you or your business. My advice is to try sites out, but do not commit to constantly posting if they aren't doing anything for you or your business. You have to go where your audience is and where you know the platform can provide a fair amount of ROI back to you.
SMT: What are the best parts of working in social media?
DS: Engagement! No two days are the same because every day is full of new conversations. You get to be a Jack/Jill-Of-All-Trades — acting as a problem solver, following up to resolve an issue, or enjoying kind words someone has to share about you.
SMT: How do you expect social media to evolve in the business world over the next 10 to 20 years?
DS: I think social over the next 10 to 20 years will become increasingly personalized for the individual's experience. There is so much out there that is demanding our attention that the savviest platforms will learn how to cut through the clutter and give customers what they want right now. Platforms will offer customers more ways to engage and discover their personal preferences (see Instagram's ability to follow certain hashtags, for example). Businesses collect this data to learn more about their target customer base and reach them accordingly.
SMT: What’s your favorite social media platform today and how do you expect that platform to evolve over time?
DS: I still love Twitter! The platform is currently updating its desktop layout, and is still just as easy to navigate, engage with, and build a following on now as it was five years ago.
SMT: What’s the best advice you would share with someone new to the field?
DS: Ask yourself what makes you, and your business (if you have one) unique and work to differentiate yourself. Post content that provides value to fans, but also has a bit of your personality and perspective in it.
SMT: Follow up: What’s your favorite article that you’ve written for SMT and why?
DS: One of the very first articles I ever wrote for Social Media Today was about whether or not you can legally own a Twitter hashtag. It has been seven years since this post was published and it's still one of my favorites. Not only did this post allow me to get my foot in the door on the site, but it combined social media with what I do each day at my company — helping entrepreneurs file for and understand trademarks and whether hashtags fall into that category or not. The best of both worlds!