Carisa Miklusak is the CEO of tMedia Strategies, where she works with organizations diverse in industry and size. Carisa’s clients range from global Fortune 500 companies to government organizations to local boutique firms. She also continues to consult with Careerbuilder.com. In addition, she is an Educating Member of the GLG/Bloomberg Consulting Network, consulting with investment firms throughout North America and an active board member of HR.com’s Social Media Advisory Board. The t in tMedia stands for transmedia: the art of telling a brand story in different ways, using several unique distribution methods. tMedia uses this storytelling approach to share clients’ brand messages to targeted audiences across multiple emerging media channels.
In addition to focusing on the art of storytelling, tMedia studies the science behind brand creation and audience reception. By leveraging diverse experiences as an emerging media thought leader, tMedia provides industry leading answers, advice and execution to its clients, readers and audiences.
BusinessInterviews.com: Do you think that every brand needs a story to be successful?
Carisa: Every brand naturally has a story that exists as part of the companies DNA. In fact, it is impossible to have a brand, without a story – or an evolution – of how it was originated. In that regard, I would say yes, every brand needs, or has, a story and to maximize success, sharing that story in a meaningful way is critical. However, just having a good story is not enough in today’s complex marketplace. A brand must also have a way to disseminate that story across relevant and productive channels to engage target audience members.
BusinessInterviews.com: How can a new business start to build and engage their customer base?
Carisa: There are countless ways for a new business to engage both existing and potential customers. Traditional marketing and sales, despite myths, is not dead. However it is often costly and hence prohibitive for a new company. Therefore, I will focus on two cost effective ways new businesses can begin to converse with target audiences.
1. Build a social presence on platforms that host the highest density of the companies’ target audience and share relevant, value-based content daily.
2. Search for and locate existing, relevant conversations that are happening online and join the conversations, sharing resources and positioning your organization as a thought leader. Both of these tactics result in client introduction and credibility for the new business.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some ways that start-ups can leverage their online relationships for offline results?
Carisa: Online, we have perhaps the largest learning opportunity we’ve ever had in the history of business. By “listening” to our audience, we can find out what is of value to them, what challenges they face, identify their business goals and more. If we take note of this information and relate it to our own solutions and products, we can approach our customers or prospects offline more prepared than ever before. This both enhances and shortens the traditional sales cycle. That is perhaps the largest opportunity. At the same time, as mentioned above, we can position ourselves as industry thought leaders online by sharing relevant content and resources with our audience. What we find offline, when we go to speak with a new client, is that this effort often translates into both awareness and credibility, empowering us to sell a larger solutions in a quicker timeframe as the client feels they already “know” us well.
BusinessInterviews.com: To blog or not to blog – that is the question.
Carisa: If you have time, blog! If you don’t, tweet and post. Your company’s presence will not be destroyed if you don’t blog but blogging does offer very specific advantages that other mediums do not. For example, readers expect to spend more time on a blog then they do on other mediums, giving your company the change to really make a point or tell a story. Sometimes, especially with complex marketplace challenges, this space is really needed. However, if times does not allow, simply break up critical posts into tweets, posts and/or video clips and share it with your audience in this manner. Both are effective.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired the launch of your new tMedia University, offering transmedia training in an online University setting?
Carisa: Organizations have enjoyed tMedia’s business-to-business training for the past 3+ years and have seen the results of this training translate into many areas of their business. However, these sessions are generally sold at a high-level and often prohibitive for the individual that is not part of a large organization and/or was not invited to the training. tMediaU empowers every professional to take their learning into their own hands and decide where they need to enrich their understanding to propel these business. We are passionate about helping people drive business results. tMediaU was born out of this passion with a focus on empowering both the organization and the individual.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some transmedia/ emerging media space trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Carisa: Integrating traditional offline storytelling techniques and visual search is a critical transmedia trend to watch for in 2014. Often, we focus on sharing our story, through multiple mediums online. However, the power of integrating the old school human aspect of storytelling with new visual search technologies is proving to be very productive for those on the cutting edge. Another trend to watch for is the art of mobile storytelling. It’s no secret that many of access online, digital and social properties mainly via our smart phones. However, corporate mobile usage has often been focused on sales and/or couponing. Watch for savvy companies that start to tell their stories in bits and pieces via mobile and all the platforms your mobile accesses. Or, better yet, pioneer the space!
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the difference between a social media policy and a social media strategy and why is it important to have both?
Carisa: There is a large difference and this is an important question! A social media policy, much like a communications policy, is designed to help employees stay safe in the social sphere. It is a living document that expresses what employees can and cannot do in social media and should reflect the nature of the organizations culture. It should also be integrated into existing employee guidelines and/or handbooks. Social media policies can also be outward in scope letting the external audience know what is allowed on a company’s social platform. A social media strategy, on the other hand, is not a document of guidelines but rather an expression of the company’s business goals and the tactical approach in the social sphere to help exceed these goals. Like a marketing or communications strategy, a social media strategy should correlate very specifically with broad company vision and short-term foci. What is similar between a social policy and social strategy is that they require frequent review and enhancement to reflect the current marketplace, they are not static documents. The only constant in the social sphere is that it will change quickly and therefore your policy and correlating strategy will evolve.
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