Alumni Spotlight: Abbi Siler
Abbi Siler is a 2008 WBC alum and owner of the business, local2social. Her business provides hands-on training to local businesses on marketing strategies and tools online. Abbi currently works in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with a group of technology entrepreneurs at Jonesboro Coworking. She has helped to found and coordinate several community outreach events that provide training and resources that level the playing field for local business. Abbi is the Social Media Instructor at the Arkansas State University Small Business & Technology Development Center where she works to provide effective curriculum to local businesses in northeast Arkansas. Abbi lives in Paragould, AR with her husband Jordan and their cocker spaniel Buckley.
We recently had the opportunity to ask Abbi a few questions about local2social and the latest trends in social networking for business.
You have a unique vocation that involves training businesses to effectively use social networking as a part of their marketing plan. What led you into this market and what are some of the ways that you have been able to help local businesses in their marketing efforts?
Social Media Marketing started as a hobby, I have always enjoyed connecting with others online even when social media was mostly for personal use. When I worked at restaurants and non-profits during college, I started using Facebook to communicate with a large group of people more quickly. As Facebook began to add new tools, I learned them so that I could show those I worked with how to use them as well. After I graduated I worked as a hospitality manager in North Little Rock where I encouraged my staff to share specials and information about the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter--I studied up on some of the most effective marketing tools online and began to pass the information to my friends, employees and began writing about what I learned on my blog. Social Media has recently boomed and because of that I have had several businesses ask for my assistance, so it became a profession--which is very exciting!
How fast do the trends in social networking change and how do you stay up to date with the latest trends?
Social networking changes everyday – I stay up to date by listening to a large number of industries and other businesses that are using these tools to develop their marketing campaigns. I also stay up to date with Facebook, Twitter, and many other social network updates and announcements. If you are interested in keeping up with some of these trends I recommend Mashable and TechCrunch for a general day to day news reel for social media and technology news.
Are Facebook and Twitter here to stay or will they be replaced by another type of social networking and what is the next trend in social networking that will capture our attention?
Facebook and Twitter are simply tools to use in the world of social networking, it’s likely they will be here for awhile as they have grown and continue to grow in popularity both personally and professionally. However, social networking itself has been around for some time the concept of social networking is just the same as going to a Business After Hours or any community event that you are involved in – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Community Events are all simply tools. Social networking will exist even when the tools have changed. As far as future social networking trends, mobile and geo-social networking is definitely booming with mobile check-ins, and rewards given by businesses to their customers for pushing a button on their cell phones. That is obviously a simplistic view of geo-social networking but you should definitely watch companies like Foursquare, Gowalla, and GroupOn this year. For an example, if you head over to Chili’s (Paragould or Jonesboro) you can download the Foursquare ‘app’ for your smart phone (iPhone, Android, etc) and when you ‘check-in’ to the location via Foursquare you will receive a free chips and salsa appetizer just for stopping by and telling people about it via this social network.
What is one thing about social networking that casual users should know but do not?
One thing I recommend everyone using social networks, especially Facebook, whether for business or personal use is to update your privacy settings. It’s important to keep yourself safe online. Do not share anything you wouldn’t want on a billboard with your name and face next to--yes, they have social billboards! If you are not sure what your privacy settings should be or how to manage them, I would be happy to assist you as well!
Abbi Siler Contact Info:
“Williams Baptist College Alumni: Higher Learning beyond the classroom. Higher Purpose beyond ourselves.”