Meet Shantel Khleif, founder of Imagine Media Consulting based in Atlanta, Georgia. Shantel founded her company based on a “light bulb moment” in which a trip into a local Atlanta Pie Shop aptly named: The Pie Shop; sparked an idea that has turned into a full fledged, growing business. Having recently moved Chicago, Shantel was initially seeking to expand her wedding business into the Atlanta market. As an important aside, serving pie instead of cake at weddings has become a growing trend and Shantel was seeking a boutique pie shop to work with and of course, to try the pie.
Despite the incredible tasting pie, Shantel noticed that the owner had not done anything to justly advertise her amazing pies, especially on social media. Shantel asked if she could help the owner communicate her brand in a different way so that other people could discover the pies. Almost overnight, Shantel’s social media experiment took off and Imagine Media Consulting was born. Shantel has since expanded to add a team of social media experts who focus on helping small business communicate the core tenets of their businesses in an entirely different way on popular social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Listen to Shantel share her experience as in entrepreneur in taking a true “ah-hah” moment and turning that into a full-time growing business that focuses on building relationships, not profiles. Shantel shares wonderful insight that is applicable to any aspiring entrepreneur interested in starting a business from a simple, well-founded idea.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Twitter – @ImagineMediaCon
LinkedIn - Imagine Media Consulting
Facebook - Imagine Media Consulting
Pinterest - ImagineMediaCon
Instagram - ImagineMediaConsulting
WHAT DO YOU DO? [03:01]
My…I guess answer for that is that we are a boutique social media marketing firm specializing in content creation, customer management and strategy online.
ON YOUR WEBSITE IT SAYS: “BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, NOT PROFILES.” WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT? [03:22]
So, a big part of social media is engaging with customers, captivating potential customer’s attention through what you are posting on social media and what we found a lot of businesses are doing is they’re trying to be so pushy and “salesy” and customers aren’t interacting or engaging with that by any means and it’s actually doing the opposite effect for a lot of these businesses. So, a big mission of ours is to really start to build those relationships and that community and have a strong brand voice online that people feel engaged with and in turn they want to become your brand ambassadors.
WHAT DO YOU MAINLY SEE AS PEOPLE’S PERCEPTION OF HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS TO BE DONE? [04:33]
Shantel explains how most businesses really want to push their products online and instead of being their sales department, Shantel and her team focus on building an authentic brand presence.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? [05:34]
Shantel shares how she was originally focused on wedding planning and discovered how being interactive on social media and creating meaningful content was important. She moved to Atlanta to start a second office. As an aside, in the wedding business personalized wedding pies are now trending.
In seeking a good pie shop in Atlanta, she immediately stumbled upon an opportunity where the pie shop owner was not overly engaged with her customers on social media despite her incredibly good pies. Shantel asked the owner if she could help the shop owner out and through her involvement, the pie shop’s customer base really began to increase and more importantly, the pie shop’s brand awareness began to increase. From that experience, Shantel jumped full time into helping other small businesses do the same.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF SOCIAL MEDIA AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER? [10:12]
Shantel shares that while there is not a “cookie-cutter” formula for every business because every industry and customer target customer demographic is different, social media is most effective in understanding where where a business’ target customers are most likely communicating. For example, Instagram is highly effective for a food and beverage business because customer’s can see and share photos of the overall offering and dining experience. Other businesses that promote content might be more effective on Facebook and LinkedIn to target their customers.
Shantel also shares the importance of beginning with the right social media strategy and not trying to get on all social media platforms at once. Quality is definitely better than quantity. It’s really important to ask: “What is the best for my business and how can I most effectively communicate my brand with my target customers?”
She recommends to really get comfortable with one or two platforms to begin with and focusing on creating good content and identifying the best time of day/week to post that content. In most cases, lunchtimes, evenings and weekends have a better chance at getting seen because most people are naturally more active on social media during those times.
WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE ABOUT A REALLY GOOD POST? [14:08]
Shantel explains that it’s important to really establish yourself as an expert in your space and position yourself or your brand as the source and inspiration for that.
AT WHAT POINT IN TIME DID YOU REALIZE; “I CAN DO THIS FULL TIME?” [15:23]
Shantel shares that very early on she wanted to put in the time and found that she was passionate about social media. She explains that:
The ah-hah was kind of comprised of a lot of little small moments that shaped that big moment but most recently I guess within the past two years of the business it’s been all of the client’s success that we’ve seen and really being a part of those moments that have made the whole big picture come together and extremely rewarding for me personally…
WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES STARTING UP? [18:38]
Shantel explains that each day is a learning curve because there is no traditional manual on how to run a business. Her biggest challenge is learning when to say no and not respond to every interruption or opportunity. She also shares that a big challenge currently is learning how to appropriately structure her business to scale.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE BUSINESS DO YOU LOVE? [23:43]
… I think probably the biggest one is those clients’ successes. It’s important for what we’re doing to work for our clients because when they grow we grow so that’s really exciting each day. You know to hear of those success stories and to see that interaction online and to see that return…
WHAT WEREN’T YOU PREPARED FOR IN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? [27:08]
I think it kind of goes back to that scaling. I didn’t have the formula nailed down before so I wasn’t prepared to grow so quickly. What I learned from that though is to have people in place for when that growth does happen that they can support it.
HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY VIEW FAILURE? [28:00]
Seth Godin actually just pushed out an email I think earlier this week about failure that people can inhibit that feeling as “I’m a failure”’ but it really shouldn’t be tailored like that at all and failure is, you know you learn from every mistake, every “failure”. I don’t even necessarily like that work to be honest with you.
Failures happen, changes happen but change is a big word that comes to mind with failure. So, you have to shift and with every thing that happens in your business you learn something from it and as long as you can chart that and talk about it and be very transparent you are going to grow as a company and grow as a team. So, it’s not a big scary word and something that people have to be afraid of. I think in any business or any setting there’s always risks and failure is a part of that, but it’s not a bad thing.
WHO INSPIRES YOU? [30:00]
I think honestly my team. They are extremely creative and knowledgeable and well-spoken and hard working and the fact that they believed in me and the concept and the business is very inspiring…on the same spectrum that motivates me. I want to grow with them and help them grow…
IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOURSELF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? [31:49]
Shantel shares that in coming to Atlanta, she was running three different businesses to make ends meet and looking back, she would have quit sooner and only focus on her current business to be be able to devote more time.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE PERSON WHO HAS A GREAT IDEA RIGHT NOW? [34:26]
Start with a passion. I think if you lead a business with passion and empathy and compassion I guess toward whatever you are working on, the business will come…
Quite frankly there’s so many but few that pop up to mind is again surrounding yourself with people who have what you want or have the knowledge and skill set that you don’t have…
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Here is the article On Feeling Like a Failure by Seth Godin that Shantel mentioned