Christine Gallagher is a relationship marketing specialist and social media business coach. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple University in 2000 with a Bachelors in Communications and Mass Media and received a double Masters in Information Systems and Information Science from Drexel University in 2003.
Through her consulting, coaching and training business, Christine helps entrepreneurs and small business owners maximize their business profits using an integrated social media and online marketing strategy with a particular focus on blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Christine also has a strong background in the world of Internet technology and is passionate about showing solopreneurs how to create powerful relationships using social media as well as teaching them how to stop trading dollars for hours by using online information marketing techniques. Christine was recently featured as a social media marketing expert in the book Get Scrappy: A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing On Less, as well as profiled as one of 16 Brilliant Business Minds on Twitter by The Huffington Post. Her blog, CommunicateValue.com was also just chosen as one of the top 50 small business blogs by Konector.com
After applying Christine’s proven online marketing methods, her clients typically experience a significant increase in traffic, subscribers, clients, affiliates and lucrative joint venture opportunities. Christine is an in-demand speaker both locally and virtually and regularly delivers social media and online marketing presentations and in-depth training. Christine lives in Southern New Jersey with her husband Sean and their 2 crazy cats.
SuperHero Marketing recently got Christine to tell us a little about herself and get her take on social media.
SHM: What was your “AHA” moment ? When you knew that being a marketing and social media coach was what you wanted to do.
Christine: I’ve always been interested in media, communication and technology. In college it was mass media—TV and radio. But I have really been an internet junkie since I was a teenager. I started my first blog in 2004 and have had several since then. About 5 or so years ago, as new media was really coming to the forefront—podcasts, RSS, social networks—what people refer to as Web 2.0—I became really fascinated with that.
Around the same time I started a couple of businesses and really became aware of how big of a role marketing played in keeping a solo business afloat. It wasn’t enough to be good at what it was you were doing. Since I was so comfortable with technology I really immersed myself in learning all of these online marketing techniques.
There started to be a buzz around this thing called social media and I was drawn to how this could be used to connect to all of these potential clients and customers. And be done in such a way that was very natural and not a type of “push” marketing which never sat well with me anyway. I really liked the whole relationship-building aspect of it and that at its core it was about connecting and conversation. I was seeing that the results could be phenomenal. And because I see so many solopreneurs struggling with marketing, especially because they feel it’s sort of disingenuous and “yucky” and the whole resistance to the early morning business card exchange type networking, I realized there was a real need to teach these social media/online marketing integrated strategies. To show them it doesn’t have to be such a struggle and that you can really leverage this technology.
SHM: What did you do prior to starting communicatevalue.com?
Christine: Prior to the launch of CommunicateValue.com, my career path was comprised of business, marketing and entrepreneurial endeavors including roles as an IT instructor, research analyst, media buyer, real estate investor and graphic designer.
SHM: What else are you passionate about besides marketing and social media?
Christine: Great food and wine, warm weather and the beach and animals. Oh, and I have a little bit more of an interest in celebrity gossip than I usually like to admit. 🙂 (But I guess I just did! Hey, it’s mindless fun…).
SHM: Dog or Cat?
SHM: Give us 3 quick tips for a business owners venturing into social media.
1. Don’t just broadcast and have one-sided conversations. Get in there and engage people!
2. You don’t need to be on every social media site under the sun. Start with one where you think your target market hangs out and focus on that first.
3. People don’t usually buy from you right off Twitter or Facebook, etc. Engaging people there is only one part of the equation. You need to drive people to your website/blog and build a list by offering something of value in exchange for people’s email address. Keeping in touch with that list is how relationships get strengthened and know, like and trust gets built.
SHM: What social media platform have you found to be most beneficial for entrepreneurs and small business owners?
Christine: Facebook if I had to pick one–it’s so easy for information to be spread and shared in the blink of an eye, among thousands upon thousands of people. I also love that it’s multimedia-rich and that not only text updates can go viral, but photos, videos and other types of updates as well. Entrepreneurs would be foolish not to grab a piece of the HUGE visibility factor there.
SHM: If a client or prospect asks “What is the ROI on social media?” How do you respond?
Christine: The short version? It’s more like “ROE.” Return on engagement. You’re planting seeds that won’t necessarily payoff right away but down the road the impact can be enormous. A shift in thinking is required there. Although when it comes down to it, it’s not so different than what business owners have been doing for ages, and that’s in-person networking. It’s not always cut and dry to quantify the ROI in that either, yet we don’t question it near as much.
SHM: What skill do you wish you possessed right now?
Christine: Right now in this moment, the skill to have more work/life balance would be great. I’m continually working on that.
SHM: Outside of the big 4 Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Youtube are there any other social media sites that are worth checking out for business owners getting started with social media?
Christine: I love Foursquare, although that’s more geared toward brick and mortar businesses. For fun, I’d say check out Instagram for iPhone–it’s an addictive photo-sharing app.
SHM: In growing your business is there one thing that you can point to that has really been a key factor to helping to get to where you are now?
Christine: Hard to keep it to one thing. I’d have to say mindset and having a coach/mentor of my own.
SHM: What do see as the biggest struggle entrepreneurs have when it comes to social media marketing or online marketing in general?
Christine: Giving up too soon and getting overwhelmed by all the moving parts.