For nearly as long as I have been working in the internet industry, I have taken on freelance work in addition to my corporate day job. Some years I’ve done more, some years I’ve done less, and all my work came in through referrals. This year, I have formalized my freelance work into a web consulting practice that I plan to grow.
Bossy Interactive is a web consulting practice that takes a holistic approach to a client’s digital strategy, ensuring that every aspect of their online presence is aligned with their business goals. Internet business isn’t rocket science, but it does take experience, and someone to show them the ropes. We teach a client how to maintain their own web presence going forward, so that all they’ll need in the future is an occasional tune-up.
This is what I love to do. I work online. I live my life online. I love that I can put my greatest skill set to use and help other people. At my day job, my efforts on behalf of the company help millions of consumers with a major purchase that is often predicated by a major life decision. In my consulting practice, I can have an even greater impact on the life of an individual. Turning a small business into a success, or taking an early stage start-up to the next level, can change the lives of those entrepreneurs. Being able to play a part in that is so gratifying.
If you know of anyone in need of a web consultant who can help them with their digital strategy and social media marketing efforts, please refer them to Bossy Interactive. Bossy is also on Twitter and Facebook.
I’ve been working in the internet industry since 1999. I’ve stayed so long in this industry because I truly love the internet. When people talk about needing to disconnect, I just don’t get it. The internet facilitiates so many amazing things in my life. Let me count the ways the internet has been amazing during my hectic morning.
One kid has recovered from a bad cold, the other is still down for the count. I was driving the older kid to school, while the younger one hacked up a lung. I received a call. I didn’t have my headset on and the car bluetooth picked it up. I contemplated answering, but it was a business call, so I let it go.
The caller didn’t leave a voicemail, but I knew who it was, so I checked my email on my iPhone (1) when I pulled into the school parking lot. There was an email requesting a callback time later that morning. I replied with a time (2), dropped off the kid, and headed home. I settled the little one in with Dora the Explorer, streaming on Netflix (3), just in time to take the call in the other room.
While on the call (with the CEO of an internet start-up , who was also working from home this morning), we discussed a particular Twitter account, which we both looked up immediately (4) since we were sitting in front of our computers. After that call, I connected to the VPN for my office so that I could access the network remotely (6).
I called in for a meeting, then I retired to the living room with my sick chick, and did some work online (7). While I was working, one of the tattoo artists I am considering working with messaged me on Facebook (8) to tell me she was going to sketch my piece today. We had a quick discussion about direction and color. Now, I am writing this blog post (9).
All that happened in the last 90 minutes. Once every ten minutes, the internet made my life easier.
Without the internet, I wouldn’t have been able to connect with my colleague so quickly. We’d still be playing phone tag. I would have had to use a day of PTO in order to stay home with my sick child, instead of working remotely. The back-and-forth with the tattoo artist would have had to happen in person, at her studio, twenty miles from my house. I could try to calculate how much the internet saved me this morning, but that would be a waste of my time. I need to get back to work, on the internet.
[T-shirt for sale here. I’ve never used that site, so I do not endorse it.]
I am surprised at the level of my sadness over the announcement that Steve Jobs died yesterday. I, like many people, first read the news on my iPhone. Then I used my iPhone to post this on Twitter:
This isn’t a big post about what Steve Jobs brought to my life or to the world. There is no question he changed both, but other people will write more eloquently about it than I could. To be honest, I started this post so I could share this funny screenshot from Facebook. There is a little snag in their topic aggregation algorhithm.
I finally used Foursquare the way it was meant to be used. I tapped the Explore tab and browsed the recommendations. There was a restaurant I’ve wondered about a couple times, but it’s in a strip mall I rarely visit. I read the tips on Foursquare and I think I might go this morning. It sounds like a hidden gem of a breakfast place.
I will teach you “How to Foursquare Your Face Off” on a panel for Social Media Week, Los Angeles 2011. The panel is called Secret Social Media Strategies, and is geared toward small businesses. I will probably only be able to hit the highlights during the panel, so I posted the full presentation on SlideShare.
Jim Durbin, of Social Media Headhunter, interviewed me about how I made the leap from Director of Product Management to Director of Social Media Programming, as Edmunds formed it’s new social media teams at the end of last year.
The last question is my favorite:
Does experience in SEO/PR/Marketing make for a better social media candidate?
No, I think a true social media lover makes for the best social media candidate. That person might have zero corporate marketing experience. I live for the internet. I have been in this business since 1999 and there is nothing else I would rather do. I was on the cutting edge of emerging internet technologies, not because my job demanded it, but because I wanted to be. Since I have been in this role, I have seen how my entire history in the internet industry in general, and in product management in particular, has contributed to my success as a social media strategist and marketer. If I had come up through a more traditional marketing path, I might have a better understanding of certain marketing aspects, but I would be lacking the breadth of knowledge about web business that is what made me uniquely qualified for this position.
The Silo-Ification of Attribution, by Kaila Colbin
Why is easier for me to buy t-shirts at The Gap than elsewhere? Why, when I want to buy something online, do I go straight to Amazon — even if it’s a specialty product that I know is only offered by one of its stores, rather than Amazon itself?
The value of these brand shortcuts is tremendously difficult to measure, at least the way we’ve grown accustomed to measuring things: with funnels, and rapid iterations, and lean development, and direct attribution. This Google-trained world is full of linear cause and effect: a dollar here flows through to two dollars there; this silo of advertising has no effect on the customers who have come through this silo.
But we forget. The world is not linear. It is messy, and complex, and adaptive, and emergent. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
My mother’s Ph.D. is in holistic nutrition. In her dissertation, she looked at the particle/wave duality of light. Historically, it was thought that things could only be a particle (elephants) or a wave (sound). But then quantum physics revealed that if you test light for particle properties, it is shown to be made of particles — while if you test it for wave properties, it is shown to be made of waves. It is both, depending on what you are looking for.
And now think of consumer behavior, and of marketing. We could just as easily say that there is particle marketing and wave marketing. Particle marketing is Adwords and funnels. Wave marketing is brands and synergies across channels. How do you attribute the fact that a cross-channel campaign will outperform the sum of the channels’ individual results?
If you are growing a global brand, you must consider the entire system. You must consider how online will enhance outdoor and how print will support broadcast. You must consider that being on the news AND in the paper AND on a blog AND in the supermarkets simultaneously will have a far greater effect than being on each of these channels separately.
At Edmunds, we approach branding using this same “being everywhere’ strategy. More specifically, within social media, my strategy is to “be everywhere our customers are.” If we have customers on Foursquare and Tumblr and Quora, it makes sense for us to be there and engage with our customers there. This was a shift from the strategy I inherited, which was more about driving users back to the main site, and focused on platforms with the largest audiences, Twitter and Facebook.
This leads back to the big ROI question. If we aren’t measuring success in followers and referrals back to the site, how are we measuring it? That’s another blog post for another day.
You might remember a previous post of mine titled, “Hire Me in Austin, Texas.” I am still interested in Austin, but I am expanding my search to Dallas as well. We have family and friends in Dallas, so that would certainly make it easier on my family. Plus, I do like a city, and Dallas is a big one.
You can check out my resume by clicking on the My Resume tab at the top of this page, and my other sites by clicking on the My Sites tab right next to it. You can check me out here: about.me/michellem, and on Linked In.
Because people DO want to know what I ate for lunch. I know they do.
I was in the Great Room, having Second Lunch (a cup of turkey chili from the sandwich shop in the lobby — the tiny salad I had earlier wasn’t cutting it), when a fierce ping pong war broke out between two Edmunds employees. I don’t know what the final score was. The battle waged on as I headed…
I encountered a nice usability touch on Facebook just now. I posted a comment, noticed a typo* and immediately clicked on the delete X. Instead of deleting my comment as would have happened in the past, the comment box opened up with my comment text still inside. I was able to fix my typo and repost my comment without having to type it over again.
*My typo was an embarrassing one. I accidentally typed “baby’s” instead of “babies.”
I realized we are really low diapers. With two taps on my iPhone screen, I ordered diapers from Amazon.com. They’ll be at my house on Wednesday.
The diapers I needed were showing in the Recommended for You section. (They aren’t now, because I just ordered them.)
I get free, two-day shipping with my Amazon Prime membership, which is free as long as I buy $25 worth of baby stuff each month.