Social media has taken over the world. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it has changed the way we communicate including socially and for business. And just like all things, there’s a way you can maximize your impact on and your use of social media. Kim Garst is a consultant and owner of Social Media Branding a website and consultant firm dedicated to assisting individuals and companies on how to navigate through this new phenomenon. Hear from Garst as she shares about the importance of social media branding in this People Behind the Brand Q &A:
Q. How did you get started with social media?
Garst: I had been using facets of social media years before it was called “social media”. Having owned a number of online businesses over the past 19 years, the social aspects of an online business were very familiar to me. Social media services evolved very naturally from there.
Q. Why did you believe this was an important area to consult in?
Garst: Social media has huge application to the small business owner. The problem for most small business owners is that they are not knowledgeable enough to capitalize effectively on social media. In some cases, they simply do not have the time to teach themselves the ins and outs and this is where coaching services can be invaluable to a small business owner.
Q. Why is social media important for small businesses?
Garst: Social media can help small business owners stand out in an increasingly busy and noisy marketplace. It will also help increase traffic and help build their brand. Other benefits are new relationships and partnerships that they would ordinarily not achieve. Additionally, the marketing costs associated with social media is substantially less than traditional marketing methods that are no longer working as effectively as they have in the past.
Q. Are there any hindrances to social media?
Garst: I think the biggest hindrance for most as it relates to social media is TIME. While many tout social media as a free marketing tool, the real cost associated with social media is time. It takes time to develop relationships online and those that take the time to build a community online will reap long term benefits for their company.
Q. Where do you see the future of social media?
Garst: I have been online for right at 20 years and have seen many marketing methods come and go but I have never seen a marketing technique invade our very culture as social media is doing. Social media has become a way of life for many of us. It is the first thing many do when they get up in the morning and possibly the last thing they do at night. People are using social media to communicate, connect with old acquaintances and form new ones. Social media is definitely not a fad; it is here to stay and will continually evolve.
Q. Any advice for getting started?
Garst: My best advice is to get started. Get your business involved in social media as quickly as you can because this is where people are. If you do not have the knowledge to do this yourself, hire someone to help you and/or to coach you at a minimum. It will save you countless hours in the long run and your time is valuable. Focus on what you can create income with and let someone else lend their social media expertise to your business.
Q. What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?
Garst: I love the excitement that a client has when they see results from what I have implemented on their behalf or what I have taught them to do themselves. It is very exciting to know that you have impacted someone’s business in a positive manner.
Garst has been operating online businesses for almost 20 years. She lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband of 26 years and two children, Tyler and Logan. Tyler just completed basic training and Logan is a junior in high school. You can connect with Garst via her website, email and social media platforms: