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“When you have the microphone, make sure and say something that matters.”

Ini Augustine is CEO of SocialWise Media Group. In 2006 she was named Business Woman of the Year for her work on the Business Advisory Council. Ini Augustine is also a professional writer for nationally syndicated news sites examiner.com and digitaljournal.com.

SocialWise Media Group is an online marketing firm with offices in Eagan, MN, and Des Moines, Iowa. We help you take control of your online destiny using social media marketing and online advertising. Social Media Training, Management, and Marketing.

MO: What inspired you to launch your company instead of working for an established marketing firm?

Ini: I have been an entrepreneur since childhood. I actually wrote a letter to Ronald Reagan protesting the fact that children couldn’t work. I wasn’t ready to wait for someone to create a job for me, so I created my own. I stared a puppet show and charged 5 cents a piece for entry. That mind set has followed me into semi-adulthood. To me, a job is just a paid internship, so after a certain amount of corporate experience, I was ready to do it on my own.

MO: Why do you think that online marketing is crucial for small businesses? Any tips for our readers who are just getting started?

Ini: The thing that attracts me to online marketing is the fairness of it. A small company can look and sound just as good as a multi-national company online, which helps to level the playing field. For example, no matter how much a company spends, they are not going to outspend McDonalds in TV or Radio advertising. That would be a foolish waste of money. Marketing online costs relatively little, and will be much more effective. My first tip for anyone just getting started is to take online marketing seriously, and invest in the best website you can afford before you start paying for online ads.

MO: Where does your passion for social media accessibility come from? Can you expand on why you’re focusing on making social media training accessible for the young, the old, the urban, and the rural?

Ini: 92 of the fortune 100 use social media to hire, and many HR departments do searches on employees before they hire. Yet most individuals use social media for fun and entertainment. Not knowing how to use social media, or not knowing how to use it as a professional will eventually become a social and economic justice issue, if certain segments of our society are excluded from employment as a result. That’s why social media has to be accessible to everyone, regardless of age or location.

MO: What are some of the most common mistakes you see clients make when it comes to online marketing and how can they be avoided?

Ini: Social media is a very informal medium. This leads many business owners to be a little too informal, like posting about politics or other controversial issues. Besides that, the biggest mistake would be not posting regularly or responding to questions and interaction from fans.

MO: Why is it so important to be social media savvy? What tips would you give to someone who feels overwhelmed by the process of getting up to speed in an ever changing landscape?

Ini: Social Media is the only tool I know of that can grow a company overnight. It is also the only tool I know of that can ruin a company overnight. For example BPI, the manufacturer of “Pink Slime” had a story show up on the internet, run rampant on social media, and literally within 2 days of it being on the news they closed 3 out of 4 of their factories. Understanding the importance of social media doesn’t mean that you have to do it all yourself though. Hire someone to do it properly if you can not do it yourself. You can’t afford not to.

MO: What’s a social media secret you’d like to share or a myth that you’d like to debunk?

Ini: Many companies feel like they can just set up a FaceBook page and people will like them. People are bombarded with email and social media marketing constantly, and there has to be something special about your page, and a real interaction for you to do well. Social Media only works as well as the people who run your platforms make it work.


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