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Women Branching Out: Sammi Johnson

I’m very happy to have Sammi Johnson of Sammi Is Social here on the blog today as part of the Women Branching Out interview series.

Sammi rocks social media with a fun, just do it attitude and straight forward advice for both online entrepreneurs and brick-and-mortar businesses.

Her new Kickstart service helps businesses grow their online presences with custom social media content.

Here’s Sammi…

Tell me about Sammi Is Social. Who do you love to help and why?

Sammi is Social is about teaching, inspiring and encouraging. I love to support people and see that little light bulb go off when I teach an entrepreneur something new. I mostly work with women who have an amazing message, and the drive to get it out in the world, but they just aren’t sure what steps to take. I have an uncanny ability to come up with marketing strategies that aren’t always mainstream. 

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When did you first start to recognize the impact social media could play in your own business?

Years ago, about six or seven, I used Myspace to blog and post pictures for family and friends. Then I became the social events director for a singles group at my church. Immediately I put up a website but I quickly learned I had to direct my audience to the website pretty frequently or they would forget to check out the upcoming events. I started using a newsletter and yahoo groups to keep everyone involved and to get feedback — and a crazy seed was planted inside me for all things social media!

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I’ve seen you vlog in pink curlers and talk about social media while putting your makeup on and you always seem so at ease. What advice do you have for women just starting out in their online businesses about putting their “real” selves out  in the world for everyone to see?

I was not born with that self-conscious gene I see so many women have. I love to be on camera to share my message and I’m always trying to think of ways I can relate to the women I’m trying to reach. Sometimes a crazy marketing stunt can be just what you need to help your message reach more people.

If you really have trouble with being on camera I always tell my clients: Here’s the deal! (I say that a lot!) People in your life see you all the time. This is not a big deal – it’s only new to you! No one else sees that weird zit on your forehead or that your right eye is bigger than your left. If you are really passionate about your business and helping as many people as possible – use video.  

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What is the biggest stumbling block you see women having with incorporating social media easily into their businesses?

When it comes to social media I see a lot of women sweating the small stuff. They worry about saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and somehow ‘messing up’ – although there are some general guidelines with social media – it all moves VERY fast and one post or tweet is not going to make or break your biz. Keep learning from other people in your industry (just by checking out their social media) and ASK your clients! They will tell you exactly what they need from you. Maybe they love inspirational quotes or tutorials or contests. Don’t guess – ask!

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What is your favorite social media management tool?

I’m a huge huge fan of Hootsuite! I use it to bulk schedule promotions and my friends promotions – it’s been a huge time saver and stress reliever. I always know I can stay offline for a day or so and I still have messages scheduled to reach my peeps! 

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Where do you tell social media newbies to start first? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest?

I’m a huge Twitter fan but I know it can be super overwhelming and confusing to a lot of people. Most everyone already has a personal Facebook account and generally know what’s going on over there. So start with that! You can even start by telling friends and family about your biz if you don’t want to open a business page. Don’t stress about content or wording or timing – just tell people – hey I am selling sports memorabilia – anyone interested! 

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What is your favorite aspect of your running your own business?

I love, love, love being home when my kids are home. I can meet them for lunch at school and drive them to the bus stop when it’s raining. The whole reason I work from home is so that I am home. It’s unbelievable to have the freedom to set my own schedule.

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Who are your business role models and why?

My most recent inspirational business role model is Leonie Dawson. I’ve only just started following her a few months ago but she has helped me so much with encouraging me to build my own business model and not just copying someone else.  She also seems to have started working from home for many of the same reasons as me – freedom to raise my kids and be there for them when they need me – not just when I can schedule time off work.

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What did 7 year old Sammi say she wanted to be when she grew up?

I always said I wanted to be a school teacher. I would make my sister play “school” all the time. She was super smart by the time I was finished with her but I think I was pretty bossy which she didn’t like. I also remember laying in my bed at night fantasizing that there was a secret door in my closet that led to an underground office where I ran a company. Seriously? What kid wants to sit in an office? I think from a really early age I knew I would run my own business – it just took me a few decades to have the guts. 

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Is there anything else you’ve like us to know about kickstarting social media for our businesses?

The best thing I’m finding out by working with so many women entrepreneurs – is that they just need a plan. I’ve been writing 30 days of content for the past month or so, and the relief and excitement about receiving pre-written Facebook posts is unbelievable! Once they see it all, the whole marketing thing seems a lot less cumbersome, and maybe a little bit FUN! Although I would be more than happy to help you with taking that first step, it really is something you can do on your own by creating a spreadsheet and just filling it in with links to your blog posts, quotes from your own writing or someone you find inspirational, links to your products, and questions to your audience. You can do this, start creating your biz buzz now!

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Sammi Johnson is in love with mind maps, launching, and strategizing social media coups. She lives in Middle America with her three kids but travels all the time. When she’s not working to help entrepreneurs grow their biz, you can find her with a plate of Mexican food or at the soccer fields screaming her head off! Right now she is creating custom social media content so head on over to Kickstart! You can find her at Sammi Is Social, on Twitter, and Facebook.

37 Responses to Women Branching Out: Sammi Johnson

  1. Karen September 19, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Yes, my right eye IS larger than my left AND who cares 😉
    Social media is a great vehicle that offers us all yet one more challenge to connect with one another from the heart.

    • christie September 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

      Ha! Love that Karen. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

  2. Patty Tanji September 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Great Interview! Sammi is very inspiring.She makes Social Media look easy. I also know, that she is a very generous spirit helping us bloggers all the time. I think I’ll look into that plan thing.

    • christie September 19, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

      She does make it look easy, doesn’t she Patty! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      • Sammi Johnson September 20, 2012 at 9:36 am #

        Social Media is super simple. But it’s not easy! It takes time and planning – You can do it! xoxo

  3. Kelle Sparta September 20, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    I love the idea of doing vido but the editing is such a hassle and I don’t get the same SEO as I would for a blog post that takes the same time so I’ve avoided it. But I know I’d get more people to feel connected to me if I did more. Is there any way to make it easier?

    • Sammi Johnson September 20, 2012 at 9:26 am #

      I don’t know the exact stats but I think it’s something like “people are 438 million times more likely to watch a video” – ok so maybe it’s not that high 🙂
      But it is high – and to get the same SEO as a blog post is super simple Kelle –
      1. Put your keywords in your headline, your category and your tags.
      2. Start the blog post with a screen shot/image of you in your video – optimize that image by name it and adding a caption all using keywords.
      3. Next write a 4-5 sentence paragraph as a ‘teaser’ to explain the video and peak interest. Of COURSE use a keyword (or two) in that paragraph.
      4. Post video. When using youtube – be sure to tag the video with keywords and NAME the video with keywords and write a description with keywords.
      I’ve even seen many people “outline” the main talking points in the description. I’m just guessing but I bet youtube has more visitors than you site – which leads to more possibilities of peeps FINDING your video in searches and on google.

      Tadah! No more excuses! Get that camera rolling! 🙂

      • christie September 26, 2012 at 8:55 am #

        Awesome advice Sammi!

  4. Lisa Claudia Briggs September 20, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    I love all things Sammi.. and thinking of 7 yr old Sammi fantasizing about a secret office beneath the bedroom is very poignant (no problem picturing the bossy part!!). Great Interview and great advice.

    Many blessings..
    Lisa/IntuitiveBody

  5. Jessica September 20, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I love the question about what she wanted to be when she was 7, and it made me laugh that she wanted to be in an office — that’s what my 3-year old does with the play structure at the park! This was a terrific interview. Sammi is already one of my business heroes, and this new insight solidifies that even more.

    • Sammi Johnson September 20, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      I want to clarify.
      I wanted to be in. my. own. office. 🙂
      I did the whole “working in other people’s offices” and it did not work out for me! 🙂 Unfortunately it took me a long to time to leap into my OWN office! xoxo

    • Sammi Johnson September 20, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      …and thank you Jess – I’m so honored you would say that! xoxo

  6. Bri Saussy September 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I love Sammi! I love twitter! I love her v-logs-she has taught me SO much about social networking and made it much more accessible and less scary-excellent interview!

  7. Julie Geigle September 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    Sammi is a wealth of knowledge and information and so incredibly generous with her time and talents. She is truly an entrepreneur with great heart and great spirit. I had to laugh when she said she made her sister play school all the time because that was me with my sisters. Too funny. Great interview!

    • Sammi Johnson September 25, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      Let’s make sure our sisters don’t get together and compare notes! 🙂

  8. Michelle September 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    This is a great interview! I love the bit about the office too – that’s hilarious. Sammi was obviously destined for entrepreneurship 😉

    Also, to the earlier point about SEO with videos, I don’t know the stuff as well as Sammi, but remember, Youtube is the second biggest search engine on the planet. I’ve done a series of video reviews of productivity tools and I get a pretty good amount of residual traffic from them because people search Youtube or Google for reviews & it pops up.

    • Sammi Johnson September 25, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      I 400% with that Michelle – youtube is a mecca of lurkers and stumble upons – you have no idea who might find you over there! xoxo

      • christie September 26, 2012 at 8:58 am #

        Thanks Michelle – I still have to tackle YouTube! I’ll get there!

  9. shana September 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    love the interview sammi! you are such a natural. you distill the info into nice bite size pieces. and i’m so glad you distinguished between simple & easy. still trying to figure it all out.

    and those glasses?! LOVE

    cheers from shana

    • Sammi Johnson September 25, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      These glasses are latest thing didn’t ya know? (not)

    • christie September 26, 2012 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks Shana!

  10. Danielle Dowling September 24, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    All I have to say is: Who doesn’t love a little Sammi Johnson?! She’s a pro! Happy to be see her celebrated here. xO

    • Sammi Johnson September 25, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      Who doesn’t love a little Sammi Johnson? lolol I’m quoting that everywhere!

    • christie September 26, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Exactly Danielle! I’m not sure why it took me so long to interview Sammi!

  11. Mindy Crary September 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Wow, Christie, thanks for the great interview on Sammi! I am totally motivated to go and kick some social media ass! And, of course, I am totally going over to her website to lurk a little a see what’s what. I actually already do the pre-written posts thing and load them through Hootsuite and they have been a lifesaver for me!

    • Sammi Johnson September 25, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Mindy do you bulk upload into Hootsuite – let me know if you have been getting some bugs (lots of errors) when uploading – I have a little trick! xoxo

    • christie September 26, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      I know Sammi has some more time saving tips for Hootsuite. She knows how to get the most out of all the social media channels!

  12. Heather Thorkelson September 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    oh my god I love this. Sammi you are so rad, and I LOVE that you’re providing such great advice even in the comments! mwah!

    • Sammi Johnson September 25, 2012 at 11:33 am #

      I can’t help but keep sharing! lol

    • christie September 26, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Thanks for stopping by Heather! So many talented b-babes!

  13. Sarah September 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    USE VIDEO?

    I hear you Sammi. I am moving in this direction but dip in and out of feeling comfortable. I LOVE how you authentically show up and do your thing online!

    Rock on!

    • Sammi Johnson September 26, 2012 at 8:02 am #

      Sarah – what would make you feel more comfortable? I want to reach people like you and I’m not sure how!

    • christie September 26, 2012 at 9:44 am #

      Thanks for stopping by Sarah! Feel free to reach out to Sammi and answer her question! 🙂

  14. Jenn/ HaveHimYourWay September 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Loved this interview… I am a big Sammi fan! I also have a love hate relationship with social media… It is simple…but definitely not easy and oh so time consuming for some… Sammi’s kickstart program is a genius idea.

  15. Tina Pruitt September 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    OMG – I love this interview! Sammi, I knew we had a connection gurrrllll!! I always wanted to be a school teacher too…and used to play “school” all the time…I even had my own library that my friends could check out books. Love it! I too, had a vision of me at the desk of a special office…in charge. Shocking.
    I am so excited for your new biz model and am looking forward to working together in October…
    You rock lady!
    Tina

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