Q&A with Kelly Olexa – social media, vlogging & the power of conversation
A few weeks back I was lucky enough to have the chance to meet and interview Kelly Olexa.
With more than 28,000 followers on Twitter, a successful YouTube channel that receives thousands of hits per entry, and a book on the way, it’s clear Kelly Olexa knows a thing or two about the power of social media when harnessed correctly.
Here she tells us how she fell into social media as a means of professional networking after losing her job. But the level of success that came out of “talking alot” as Kelly modestly puts it, could hardly have been anticipated. A member of the Ford Fiesta Movement, a consultant to Fortune 500’s, small businesses, and individuals, and a recognised thought leader in her fields of fitness and social media, Kelly Olexa has this to say:
“I can’t speak strongly enough to using video to either get your message out there, or increase viewers, or visits to your website.” – Kelly Olexa
After blogging for about a year and a half, Kelly Olexa saw someone else vlogging (or video blogging). She went out, bought a camera, and started recording herself and uploading it to the web. Within four weeks Olexa’s website traffic had quadrupled.
From there, brands started to find Kelly Olexa, and they’d ask her to get on board for them.
Finding the time
Kelly admits that social media in general can be a truly time consuming venture, if you’re doing it on a really regular basis. She takes her camera on the road when she’s away, because when you have an audience such as hers, you are being relied upon. The fact is, it’s a commitment. The good news? The opportunity for engagement of that scope simply can’t be paralleled.
Building a following
Kelly Olexa doesn’t use software to gain followers. She doesn’t have an “agenda”, and she never rules out talking to people, even if they aren’t remotely related to her fields of interest. The key then, is accessibility. She’ll “talk to anyone” – and as a result, alot of people want to talk to her.
Many might say, “what’s the point” of nattering away about unrelated topics when there’s work to be done? – but as Olexa perceptively recognises, “people connect with people” and it’s those connections that often end up being the clincher in building relationships of value – whether they be personal or professional.
Tip: Put agendas to one side, and have a conversation!
Small businesses can profit the most
You don’t need a big budget to have an effective social media presence, so in many ways social media has leveled the playing ground for small businesses. Olexa’s advice is to “get started” – get a flip cam or some other recording device and get amongst it – talk to people, engage with your customers.
Tip: “Don’t only talk about your business. Just go there to interact and engage with people, and inevitably the business is going to happen, I believe.”
“People want to know that you want to hear from them.”
According to Kelly Olexa, it takes alot to encourage your readers to start commenting on your blog. She advocates asking questions, and says that once you get people started on commenting, they’ll continue to do so.
Fear of the negative comment
Any negative comment is an opportunity, and with social, you actually get the chance to monitor and respond to that kind of feedback like never before.
“People just want to be heard” so rather than ignoring that kind of reaction, you are given the very public opportunity to apologise and provide help to your disgruntled customer. According to Olexa, showing you care like that is better than any advertising you could possibly pay for.
Apparently social media thought leaders are divided on whether or not you can talk about return on investment when it comes to this hard to measure media.
“Your ROI should be measured as far as engaging. Realistically if you’re out there and you start reacting to negativity, you start engaging with people that you haven’t talked to before, you start building brand awareness, you start building relationships and people are talking about your brand and learning about your services or products, that’s invaluable. How do you put a measure on that? If you’re actually doing your job which is getting out there and making those conversations happen, I think you’re succeeding. And as long as you keep doing it and keep growing the conversations and building those relationships and not focusing on a short short term campaign, I think you succeed…I firmly believe that getting the conversation going – that’s invaluable.”
Olexa says creating buzz is a beast of its own. You can’t just make it happen. But sincerity, connectivity, good intentions and great products or services are the ingredients that drive the buzz.
Kelly Olexa’s book
It’ll cover not just ‘how to’, but also ‘why to’ when it comes to social media and talking to brands. Look out for it in the first quarter of next year!
Got some tips to share? Know someone you think we should interview? Hit me up in the comments and I’ll endeavour to land the interview!