I only know a few people who TRULY live the spirit of social media.
Marsha Collier is one of them!
She's an amazing speaker, author & educator.
She's also one of the most genuine people you'll ever meet. I got to know Marsha in 2011 when Rick Bakas recommended that I read some of her books.
I thanked Rick on Twitter & Marsha was tagged in the conversation. She quickly replied!
She & I have kept in touch ever since. And Marsha still responds to every tweet -- even though her following has spread like wildfire!
I recently caught up with Marsha to find out what makes this dynamic woman tick.
Below she reveals how she finds time to write amazing books while also staying constantly engaged with her audience.
Social Media Author & Educator Drops Wise Tips for Beginners
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1. Share something about your background & what you do.
I started my marketing business back before the Internet had taken over.
In 1990, we received the "Small Business of the Year Award" from the California State Assembly. I also remember (unsuccessfully) trying to convince clients (regional shopping centers) that they had to have a website.
My career took a turn in 1998, and I started writing books to help people flourish and grow their businesses online.
2. How did you get into writing & how many books have you written?
In my spare time while running my business, as a hobby, I started selling online. First in AOL chat rooms (they threatened to throw me off the site for that), and then on Auctionweb (later to become eBay).
Since I was one of the early adopters of the site I was asked to be on the "Today" show to talk about eBay selling. That led to my first book contract for "eBay For Dummies".
"eBay For Dummies", the beginner's book, was followed up with a series of books for every level of the eBay (or online) seller's business. The most successful in my series are updated approximately every 18 months to stay up with trends in business & online innovations.
In 2007, my publisher gave me a huge party to celebrate my 1,000,000th book sold. The eBay series has been translated into 5 languages and updated for regional editions in the UK, Canada and Australia.
All the while I observed that customer service was the key to business success online, just as in brick and mortar stores. Early in 2009, I started the Twitter #custserv chat to see if others felt the same way. It seems so; because the chat still happens every Tuesday, almost 5 years later.
In 2010, I wrote the first book, "The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide", about how online outreach would be the wave of future customer service (I guess I was right). I followed that up with a book on social media commerce, to show businesses how they could handle customer service and boost sales through social media.
I also saw a need (considering the wave of Baby Boomers), for a "seniors" series to help those over 50 stay up to date in the online world. My first edition of "Facebook & Twitter For Seniors For Dummies" went into 9 printings.
I don't know how many there are, but most of my current editions can be found via my page on Amazon.
3. What's the topic of your latest book?
My most current books are "eBay For Dummies", 8th edition and "Facebook & Twitter For Seniors For Dummies" (in large print). "eBay for Dummies" is the perennial best selling, go-to book for anyone wanting to get started on eBay.
I have personally continued to sell on eBay all these years (I'm a Top-rated Seller), and study the online markets and changes for the newest editions.
4. Describe one of your typical days.
Every morning I get up and catch up with my Twitter feed over coffee on my tablet.
Then I go into my office, answer some email and perform the tasks for the day.
Lunch is at 2pm and after that I begin writing.
I hit social media again in late afternoon and the evening. I don't want any comment to go unanswered.
5. What inspires you to get up each day?
My family and my readers. I started on social media to connect with those who read my books in a more transparent fashion. It has allowed me to answer questions, help people and meet many who might also benefit from my works.
I get emails from readers all the time. I first put my email address in my books in 1998, and I love reading the stories of how many have succeeded.
There are success stories like Sophia Amoruso's million dollar Nasty Gal: "In 2006 Sophia Amoruso bought an 'Ebay for Dummies' book and used the site to launch a vintage store out of her studio apartment."
Knowing I make a difference helping people reach their goals is what carries me forward.
6. You engage on every social platform -- what's your secret?
There's no secret. I really care about the people I engage with.
I learn from some and want to help others with their work.
I read every bio before I follow someone, so I know something about them. Social media is personal for me. It's not a broadcast medium.
7. Do you have 3 tips for those just starting out in social media?
- Go for quality. Whatever your end goal is, you're building a community. Find people and interact with them. Say hello, tell them you are glad you found them or comment on one of their tweets. When people interact back to you a connection is made.
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- Use Twitter search or WeFollow to find influencers within your industry and expand from there. There are leaders from every profession on social media, find your community and get involved.
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- Engage with people before you pitch them. Fill out your bio so people will know who you are and get to know the people you interact with. If you build relationships, other social platform connections will happen.
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8. Are there 5 people everyone should follow on Twitter?
That is a tough one, because recommendations would be different for everyone based on their interests.
There are brilliant thought leaders on Twitter in every profession and industry: doctors, lawyers, accountants, celebrities and authors who share great information every day.
Why reinvent the wheel? Click to see who your online heroes are following, read the bios and click Follow when you find someone interesting. That's an easy way to find people who will resonate with YOU.
That's a Wrap
Thank you for taking time to interview with us, Marsha.