This year recognised as the second most influential person in the industry by Forbes, Ann Handley is a true social media expert. Known for her writing for Entrepreneur Magazine, Mashable, and MarketingProfs, she is widely regarded as an one of the best in her field.
Ann, tell us a little about what it is you do?
I'm the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which means I head up the content that MarketingProfs produces. MarketingProfs is an training and educational company that produces tactical know-how for more than 423,000 member marketers. Also, I embarrass my children on a regular basis.
Tell us about the journey you have undertaken to be where you are now? Where did you start?!
I'm not a marketer by training - I guess I play one on the internet. I am a business writer, editor and former journalist who followed a circuitous path into Marketing - like a lot of us! Prior to joining MarketingProfs 10 years ago, I was the co-founder of ClickZ.com.
How important would you say having a social media presence is for businesses these days?
To me, the question for business owners is: Why wouldn't you? Social media offers you an enormous and unprecedented opportunity: To connect with prospects and customers directly in a more personal and relevant way. Why wouldn't you want to take advantage of that opportunity?
What three bits of advice would you give a business that is taking their first steps into the world of social media?
1. Wade in. Before you do anything, spend some time interacting on social channels as a person, not on behalf of a brand. See the potential before you create a roadmap.
2. Create content as a cornerstone of your social presence.
3. Have fun! Have a sense of personality and express your humanity in your social media marketing - this stuff is fun!
What do you think the future holds for social media?
I hate this question! Frankly - so many businesses are struggling with creating content and maintaining a vibrant and human social media presence, that I think we should be focusing on What's Here vs. What's Next. But that's just me... I'm not really one to chase the Next Big Thing. I'm more about demystifying where we are now...
What is the coolest fact about Giraffes you know?
If you mean the animals: Loosely translated... their name means "covers a lot of ground". If you mean you guys, the coolest thing about you is that you guys 'get it'!