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“Business owners and corporations are calling us every day because they need to develop and implement social media strategies to reach “influencers” and engage a community of advocates.”

Robin Colner is the Founder and CEO of DigiStar Media. She is dedicated to helping businesses and professionals achieve a powerful and distinctive web presence that is complemented by a results-driven social media strategy. Robin was inspired to start DigiStar by the widespread confusion about the use of social media on the part of many companies and professionals. Drawing on her 20 years of strategic marketing experience working with advertising agencies and Fortune 100 companies, Robin provides senior managers, business owners and professionals with the digital and social marketing techniques to build customer loyalty and increase revenues and profits. Companies often hire Robin to provide on-site training in social media, mobile marketing and lead generation through inbound marketing strategies. Robin is also a frequent keynote speaker and seminar instructor on the topic of “How Businesses Drive Traffic and Profits Using Social Media and Mobile Marketing Campaigns.”

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BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the turning point when you decided to launch your own business?

Robin: After working for several years at an early stage media company that developed websites geared to the baby boomer demographic, I knew I was ready to launch my own digital marketing agency. In 2010 social media platforms were just beginning to gain traction among the general public and there were many senior managers and business owners who were intimidated and overwhelmed by the transformational aspects of open interactions with empowered consumers. As a marketing and communications professional, I realized I had the knowledge, skills, sensitivity and passion to provide a valuable service to this business segment. My expertise has enabled me to expand my client list to include young entrepreneurs who may be skilled in using digital platforms for their personal use but lack the understanding of how to implement effective digital marketing programs.

Business owners and corporations are calling us every day because they need to develop and implement social media strategies to reach “influencers” and engage a community of advocates. I am dedicated to creating and implementing integrated social media, search engine optimization, content and mobile marketing campaigns that help businesses and professionals drive traffic to their websites, enhance their online brand and reputation, acquire customers and attract sales leads. The social media services we offer include strategy development, content creation, blog management, video marketing, email campaign management and social advertising campaign management – all designed to help improve a company’s online visibility and profitability. We also coordinate the development of mobile optimized web sites, SMS text messaging, QR codes and location-based check-in marketing efforts. We customize our digital marketing services to the specific needs of our clients and help them integrate social media with their traditional marketing efforts.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are the most common reasons that a social media strategies fail?

Robin: The most common reason that companies fail at social media is that they use the platforms as a vehicle to broadcast information about themselves and their products and services. Social media succeeds when “other people” advocate for your business and do your marketing for you. This only occurs when a business or professional consistently provides content that is educational, valuable, entertaining, thought provoking and relevant to its audience of followers. A social media effort will also fail if an organization expects instant success without implementing a plan to create content assets over a long period of time. Social media works best when it facilitates conversation and engagement and fosters the building of relationships. A successful social media strategy is based on people, trust and authenticity not marketing slogans.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are the key components of building a strong online presence?

Robin: A strong online presence is built on 3 primary components: an interactive website optimized to rank well on search engines; an active presence on social media platforms that are popular with your target customers; and an ongoing focus on producing content that will answer the questions your customers ask most often. Content is the raw material that companies use to prove their expertise through the production of blog posts, videos, webinars, Google hangouts, whitepapers, ebooks and infographics.

These assets are distributed through social media and are designed to drive customers to a business through inbound marketing techniques. Social media activity will enhance the search engine rank for a website. In fact, these three components must be seamlessly integrated to create a visible and dynamic web presence that will translate into actual sales and conversions.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some common misconceptions about search engine optimization (SEO?)

Robin: Many people feel that search engine optimization is outdated and no longer important to ensure an optimal web presence. The truth is that Google is constantly updating its algorithms to weed out and penalize inappropriate practices designed to manipulate search engine rankings. However, the most effective way to optimize a website is to continually produce updated blog and social media content that addresses how to solve your customers’ problems. Following Google’s recent Hummingbird update, the best way to improve a ranking on a SERP is to optimize for natural language questions rather than just keyword phrases that prospects use most frequently to search for products and services. There are several additional factors that impact SEO. A site’s load time especially on mobile devices, the presence of appropriate title tags and alt tags on images and ease of navigation are among the most important on page factors that can improve a site’s optimization. High quality links from reputable, authoritative sites will also positively impact a website’s ranking. Search Engine Optimization is a dynamic process that must be monitored and managed rigorously on an ongoing basis. A common misperception is that SEO can be handled for a small one-time fee at a specific point in time.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some emerging social media trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?

Robin: The ability to reach customers through social media and local search on mobile devices (SoLoMo) is one of the most important trends in digital marketing. The popularity of Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube illustrates the power of using video and images to tell a compelling story about your brand or business. Brands need to express their values to the public by sharing stories that resonate with their customers across multiple platforms. Wearable devices such as smart glasses and watches will transform the process of producing content and enable more real time social media interactions. The ongoing emphasis on content marketing will lead to an abundance of noise in the system. Content aggregation and curation platforms such as Medium, Swayy, Scoop.it and Paper.li will continue to proliferate in the coming year. Snapchat, an app that allows a picture to be sent to an individual and then disappear within minutes reflects a growing trend for more privacy in this increasingly open world of social media.

BusinessInterviews.com: Congratulations on being hired by Fordham University to create a Digital and Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate Program to improve the digital literacy of the business and professional community throughout the New York Metro area. What aspect of this new role are you most excited about?

Robin: I am incredibly excited to be involved in what I believe is one of the most important trends in education today, which is the development of professional training programs to improve the competitive skills of the American workforce. My classes are designed to benefit students from 20 to 100 years of age. The business strategies supporting digital marketing are not often taught in the liberal arts curriculum of most universities. Therefore, the recent grads that are often attracted to jobs in social and digital marketing have no real understanding of how to create effective and profitable marketing programs. Middle and senior managers as well as professionals are also struggling to make sense of new media and understand how best to allocate resources and manage ongoing social media marketing efforts. I find that teaching this curriculum is extremely challenging and rewarding. The platforms and creative techniques are evolving and changing on a weekly basis. There are no comprehensive, up-to-date textbooks or instructional templates. I also find it very stimulating to meet the variety of business owners and professionals who attend my classes. I strive to customize my lectures to provide my students with actionable tactics that they can implement to improve the profitability of their businesses.

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