This is the second post in a 12-part series, TwitterPowerhouses, which focuses on the contributions of people who’ve helped to expand, influence, and redefine how we view social networking. I co-wrote it with fellow Huffingtonpost blogger Yasamin Beitollahi. This is cross-posted in the Huffingtonpost Media Section.
Twitter has evolved, and matured, into a tremendous source for breaking news. Co-founder Biz Stone seemed to recognize this last December when he started referring to Twitter as an “information network“. From award shows to natural disasters, it has become a permanent part of the global landscape. Media professional Rochelle Veturis has long recognized the power of Twitter, and, has successfully harnessed that power for clients seeking to better understand social media.
Having worked with hundreds of media outlets in 2009 alone, Veturis doesn’t entertain the false choice of Old Media or New Media. The choice, she explains, is to constantly work at improving how we source and present the news. As we move forward, she is very clear that Twitter will factor strongly in that process.
Veturis is a dynamic visionary and dream merchant, creating opportunities for herself and others, and adding tremendous value to whatever she endeavors to do. This interview below reveals her as a beautiful example of what is possible, and certainly probable, when you explore the depth and scope of your talents and skills.
It’s clear to anyone visiting your Twitter feed that you like having fun, and connecting with people. Tell us how your Twitter experience has enriched your life.
That’s a great question because before you know it, magic is happening with your followers on Twitter and it’s important to stop and appreciate that. I’ve met witty, upbeat people from all over the world whose tweets have the power to make me smile and on occasion, laugh out loud. These people and their-mini conversations have brought me such joy; no one really talks about that but it’s true. When I got engaged last November, I was able to share it with my tribe thanks to my sisters Haley Veturis and Chelsey Veturis, who captured the magic with a flip while hiding in the bushes. The outpouring of love, encouragement and well wishes was beyond heartwarming. Instances like these make you realize just how deep these 140-character relationships really are. I’ve learned to not underestimate this. It’s not about numbers, it’s about people.
In 2009, you worked with more than 400 newsprint, television and online media outlets. In what direction do you see media going, particularly over the next decade?
That’s an interesting question because while most media outlets have taken a hit, there are still these amazing success stories. I know it’s uncomfortable for journos to think about their own branding, but for those that have, they’ve benefited. How neat is it that with social media, you build up these networks of fans and followers who know, like and trust you and no matter where you go, what publication or station you work for, you always have them? You can take your influence with you from place to place. It’s a huge way to over deliver, especially if you’re looking for work. I’m a firm believer in dig the well before you’re thirsty; for media that have done this before they transitioned or were laid off, they’ve reaped the rewards.
You work with business and government organizations to get them to see the wisdom of participating in the “socialmediasphere.” How do you believe your efforts are paying off?
I see that my efforts pay off when I wrap up a workshop or coaching session, and see the fear lift off people. I’m pretty much a cheerleader; rooting people on and helping them focus on the things that if they were honest with themselves, they already know are true. For instance, government workers know that they should treat constituents as clients or customers who, in the private sector, are the lifeblood of any company. When you make this mindset tweak, it makes life easier. Suddenly, extra requests become opportunities to shine and you find yourself happier and less stressed. And with today’s climate, who wouldn’t want that? For an excellent customer service advocate in the government sector, check out Orange County’s TedNguyen. He’s ground breaking in this arena.
I’ve also seen these efforts pay off when a follower gets a piece of national media coverage as a result of a video my sister Chelsey and I create. When non-profits are recognized and financially supported as a result of your tweets or live coverage, it’s powerful. This game is all about influence and as you see the influence of traditional media shrinking, other sources, many of them social media related, sprout up in their place. What will you use your influence for, good or evil? It’s your choice.
What are the unique challenges working for a sustainable design firm (LPA, Inc.)? And how have you used social media to overcome those obstacles?
One of the challenges for any design firm is that often, you’re working with prospective clients who have never visited the buildings you’ve designed. Although this is crucial to hiring any team, it’s not always feasible. We use social and multi-media to get people as close to our work as possible. One of the ways we do this is through video. LPA’s YouTube channel is chock full of videos from projects, to culture videos with unscripted interviews from each of the firm’s principals, to client interviews and even an energy audit. Visitors can learn the behind the scenes stories on projects, more about our client and why certain design decisions were made, all from the comfort of their computer. We’ve seen our brand awareness increase dramatically because now people from all over the world are being given the tools to connect with our work, in a way like never before.
Our blog has also been key. As leaders in the sustainable, now integrated sustainable design movement, it was important for us to own that role online as well. Because LPA works with many different clients (government, corporate, K-12, colleges and universities, developers, etc.) through many different services (architecture, planning, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, signage and graphics), the topics were endless. In a world of ‘greenwashers,’ we want to be informative, helpful and available to our readers; and give them the content to help distinguish the apples from the oranges so that they can make the best decision for their situation. After all, it’s all about them and when you have this attitude in life and social media (i.e. It’s not about you, it’s about others needs first), that’s when the magic happens. And that’s what we’re seeing now.
For entrepreneurs that are just getting started with their business, do you recommend they integrate social media into their marketing strategy or should they wait?
Yes, entrepreneurs absolutely should integrate social media into their communications and marketing strategies as soon as possible. Because social media involves various levels of outreach, which, for the most part, all connect to each other, it’s important to take the leap and just start somewhere. I recommend, begin where you’re most passionate. All of your networks should connect to each other and make it easy for visitors to know they’re on your official page, whether that’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube channel, etc.
Remember that social media is the Wild Wild West; anyone who tells you they have it all figured out needs to take a humility pill. Especially when you’re using social media for company brands, be creative. Don’t settle for mediocrity (aka setting up your accounts and using them merely to promote yourself). Walk the walk, and be interested in others. Ask your tribe questions; play around and give them more of what they’re most receptive to. Leave room for spontaneity and fight the urge to automate. I know it’s tough, but you’re not going to get the best results. Remember, experiment until you find that sweet spot where the magic is happening. And don’t settle for anything less.
How would you define yourself in 140 characters or less?
Incredibly blessed woman. Founder of the #LoveFest tribe. Enthusiastic, driven, lover of children, animals & people in general. Mac Snob too. (Laughs)
To read more about Rochelle Veturis’ awesome approach to social media, log on to her site RochelleVeturis.com. You can also follow Veturis on her Twitter feed, and connect with her on her Linkedin page.
Authors’ Note: In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 of the series: Flipbooks and the Power of Twitter.