You could call this my journey to social media.
I started my career as a marketing administrator in the mid-80s. My company bought something called a PC, an XT to be exact, and on it was one program: Ventura Desktop Publishing. So, I studied and became a graphic designer and eventually lead a team of designers who were producing about a quarter million in print collateral in house. Our agency of record didn’t like me. They never said so, but I just got that feeling, you know.
In the early 90s, I designed my first website. A pet project with a colleague who hosted it on his personal webspace. The URL looked something like:
It got noticed by our parent company and everyone cooed over the fact that we were on the information highway, the world wide web. Our IT department decided this might take off and took it over. I went back to designing print collateral.
After a few years, the web was fully entrenched in our business and I began working with it to develop user interfaces. I trained as a Lotus Notes Domino Developer (our website was a Notes site) and queried my way through the development of databases and business tools, always with an eye for the user and how they would interact with the finished product.
We moved away from Notes and my html skills became important again to tweak the code and make the page look just right.
It was then that understanding both the technical side and the business side of a project became useful. So, I became an e-marketing analyst and worked to develop even more online tools and experiences.
Along came e-mail marketing and boom we were actually talking directly to people; albeit, en mass, with a personalized salutation.
My company was acquired.
I worked on my own as a writer, web designer, developer and e-marketing consultant and loved it. Working from home is what I miss the most about that experience.
I heard the word blog and wanted one. A la “Just a Moment”.
In my next role I was an on-line marketing officer in an academic setting. I had over 10,000 static html pages to manage, great niche content, zero usability and a site that received over 4 million visits a year…with a 70% bounce rate. Imagine what could happen if those pages were actually linked back to the home page. I ran my stats, developed a strategy, made my case and sold management on the obvious conclusion that the web was our best bet at attracting new visitors to our physical installations and re-energizing the brand.
My plan in place, I hired a rockin’ co-op student to help with the development and design of a few key stand-alone sites and got the ball rolling on the deployment of a content management system to bring a family of sites together under one roof. Then, I left for a better opportunity and the promise of more resources to do all the things I knew I wanted to do on the web.
I returned to the business world and my first task was to restructure the website to enhance its usability. I then demonstrated the power of the web to meet our communication and marketing needs and sold my peers on the idea that the web would take us there. Good stats always change minds.
For a year I managed the marketing department. I figured out that it was more enjoyable to help someone else do well than to actually do it myself. Leading others was where I wanted to be. I returned to my previous role with the leadership skills and confidence to make us even more reliant on the web as a key business tool.
I created a monster, but a good monster.
With a full pocket of ideas and the right knowledge and skills to execute a project, I was relied upon to fulfill webdreams.
Then, we Tweeted.
And, then we Facebooked.
We Google adworded, alerted and analyzed.
We internally blogged.
We built landing pages and measured.
Yep, a full suite of social media tools established and churning out connections and brand building ROI. It got lots of attention. Everyone wanted to do it and I was the key to their knowledge. But, they were scared, a little bit, so I built a strategy, guided them and lead them to the best places with the most return and helped them set up profiles with the right keywords and structure tweets that would get noticed and ran social media monitoring reports that made them shiver with excitement.
But what brings the most personal joy? Making connections. Scouring and searching for niches and verticals we can tap to generate leads, offering advice and building web presences that work. Demonstrating our brand, getting noticed and networking behind the safety of my computer screen with no heels or lipstick.
Helping people is what I do, and I do it well. I’m a fountain of knowledge, experience, ingenuity and resourcefulness. Throw a twoonie in and make a wish.
So what’s next? Well, have I helped you…yet?
People I follow to learn all this stuff:
Anyone who’s talking Social Media
Companies that are doing it right