July 8, 2012

Rachel Strella

Social Media: It’s A Matter Of HOW You Will Engage…Not If You Will Engage!

Every other month, we interview one of our management clients to ask them about their experience in social media. This month, we speak with Sylvia Hepler, owner of Launching Lives, an executive coaching business.  Be sure to check out her blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter handle, YouTube channel, and LinkedIn Company Profile!

There are still many business owners who have their doubts about using social media. What is your take?

I am convinced that any business needs a marketing plan that includes a diversity of approaches and strategies.  What appeals to one person may not appeal to another.  I created a marketing pie that consists of many different slices, and social media is one of them.  All of these slices work together to optimally market my business.

What made you decide to hire a social media manager? What qualities were you looking for?

I hired a social media manager about two years ago because, quite frankly, social media is “big” these days and millions of people are on the internet multiple times each day.  There is a lot of activity on various social media sites, and I decided that I—and my business—needed to become part of that activity.

The qualities I was looking for in my social media manager were:  integrity, creativity, commitment to the work, and steady follow through on tasks and projects.  I also was looking for someone who could educate me along the way about the best way to invest dollars into social media efforts.

How has social media impacted your business?

My involvement in social media has created a certain buzz about me and my business on a local level.  There are people who are regular followers now—people who obviously are benefitting from the rich content on my sites.  I also think my regular social media activity has strengthened my business relationships with quite a few folks.

How have you been able to blend traditional marketing with online marketing?

Most traditional marketing doesn’t work well in the coaching industry.  That is because people generally need to engage in meaningful conversations before they invest financially in coaching.  Purchasing a coaching package is very different from buying an ice cream cone or an iPad.  That said, I tend to put money, time, and energy into my website, blog, social media messages, You Tube clips, electronic newsletters, tips, articles, and specially created email messages to my list.  When talking with a prospective client in person or on the phone, I generally make it a point to invite him/her to visit all of my social network sites.

Tell us about your business and your industry, your experience with social media, and your thoughts on outsourcing the efforts.

I am the owner and president of Launching Lives, LLC, an executive company based in Mechanicsburg, PA.  My mission is to support business owners and corporate/nonprofit executives as they solve problems, develop leadership skills, and increase balance in their lives.  The experience of coaching is all about getting RESULTS to enhance professional and personal effectiveness.   People don’t buy coaching — they buy results.  When I am serving the right clients, together we get those results.  Often we get “surprise results” that clients didn’t know they’d receive at the outset!  And that feels like a bonus.

My experience with social media has increased over the last four years.  While I certainly depend upon my social media manager, I know that I have learned a great deal about the value of these efforts, how you build online relationships with people, and how these efforts can enhance your overall business.  I have learned enough to realize that I must NEVER pull the plug on social media.  I need to keep building social capital.  Occasionally I hear people say that they don’t like having to deal with social media every day — or even a few times per week.  My response to that is:  “We live in an age where we don’t really have a viable choice.  This is an essential part of marketing for every business.  It’s a matter of HOW you will engage…not if you will engage.”

I have chosen to outsource my social media work to a social media manager because I know that such a specialist is far more capable than I am in terms of knowledge AND ability to consistently engage on a daily basis.  Yes, I oversee and approve all content before it is posted.  Yes, I provide ideas.  Yes, we discuss the monthly themes and plans.  But ultimately, I am not at the helm of that ship.  This is a huge relief to me.  I can trust someone else to steer the social media ship, and that individual is going to do it far better than I can.

Anything else you would like to add about your experience?

If some who is reading this interview is sitting on the fence about entering the world of social media or hiring a social media manager, that person may certainly contact me to discuss it further.  I’d be glad to share my insights and experience:  717-761-5457 or Sylvia@launchinglives.biz

Past client interviews:

Mimi Reeves, Owner of Balloons and More

Susan Pera, Owner of The Cornerstone Coffeehouse

Ann Dennison, Owner of Advanced Physical Therapy and Fitness

Mike Kushner, Broker and Commercial Realtor® for Omni Realty Group

Cheryl Garman, Co-Owner of Pazazzz


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