I need to preface this interview by saying that I am a bit in awe of Aviva. Not only did she create an amazing, thriving business from scratch, but she did so by creating a service that didn’t previously exist. Then far from resting on her laurels, she continued to promote her business and create additional revenue streams. To learn more about meal planning with the Scramble, visit her website. My respect for Aviva is actually so strong that I waited two months to launch this series because her schedule was too crowded prior to that to take the interview and I felt strongly that she would be a great first person to interview!
Now, on with the interview…
How much time do you spend on creating your online presence on a weekly basis?
As a caveat, I should point out that my business is completely an online business. Any time I spend promoting my business falls into that category of promoting my business online. In a typical week I spend between ten to fifteen hours a week creating my presence online. This includes creating content for my blog and participating on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
What advice do you have for those business owners who are just starting out and creating their voices online?
Funny, I was just talking about this with someone else so it is fresh in my mind. This isn’t a short process and you never really “finish”.
1. Figure out what your goal is in creating your online presence? What is motivating you? Is it money, is it a hobby, is it a passion of yours?
2. Research the other “voices” in your space. Listen and go to events to learn more about the latest developments online from peers and experts.
3. Take every opportunity to learn new things.
4. Images are really important. That is particularly true in the food/parenting/lifestyle industry. Whenever you can include an image on something you post, do so.
5. Develop a unique voice and perspective and post regularly.
6. Whenever possible, have someone else read your writing before you publish.
One of my favorite mentors once told me to always think “ready, fire, aim”. It means, don’t wait to get things perfect, get work out there and you can tweak it later.
Sometimes it is frustrating when you first start out and it seems you are shouting into a void, especially with social media. I know I had a hard time getting over that bump, sometimes I still feel like I am getting over it! What advice do you have for getting to the other side?
Imagine going into a cocktail party or networking event and you see someone there and they are just talking and talking about themselves. You really wouldn’t want to interact with that person, would you? Social media is like that cocktail party. You need to listen more then you talk. Be conscious of your audience and interact with them. Don’t just talk at them.
How do you use the various social media platforms differently?
I have found Twitter to be very beneficial for reaching other businesses, bloggers, journalists and other thought leaders and establishing relationships. It is like a networking event where everyone I want to interact with but I never have access to is attending. I identify people who might be strategically valuable to the Scramble. I follow them, listen to what they tweet or blog to learn what interests them, build a relationship by interacting with them and build to the point where I can ask them about whatever partnership opportunity I have in mind.
On Facebook, I have a direct relationship with my customers. For me it is a focus group. I can ask questions and see what people respond to and what interests them. The recent changes in the algorithm are making it harder to reach my whole audience though. It is a good reminder to not put all my eggs in one basket.
I am on Pinterest as well and am playing with it but I would say that is still a work in progress and I am figuring things out.
Any final thoughts you share?
Yes. Be involved in the details! Peek under the hood. Don’t ever think that something is too technical or too menial for your involvement. You will be surprised what you will find. Just recently I was able to solve a big problem we were having with SEO indexing just by poking around my content management system. Success means getting dirt (proverbial or not) under your fingernails.)
To learn more about Aviva and her Bethesda, Maryland based business, visit The Scramble, PBS Parents.org (where she is a weekly contributor to Kitchen Explorer, or connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.