Jennifer Shaheen is the founder and President of The Technology Therapy Group. She is recognized as an expert in planning, implementing, and translating digital marketing and technology. Over her twenty-year career, Jennifer has worked in a myriad of industries as a digital advisor: finance, banking, manufacturing, design, construction, luxury, retail, and travel. Jennifer is a digital transformation expert, user experience enthusiast, and data insights specialist.
How important is mindset when we think about digital marketing and today’s technologies?
I love this question because mindset has a big thing to do with being successful today. As you probably know, Lori, doing what you do, it’s gotten more difficult to do certain things. Why I say that is because oftentimes we’re looking at being much more personalized in our digital marketing and mindset is important to get you into that headspace of saying, “I am trying to do the best thing for my customer or client who’s trying to reach me, and not always the easiest things for us, as marketers,” and I think that’s a really important part of talking about digital marketing today.
Is it important to be on all digital marketing channels today?
Being on all of them can be somewhat overwhelming! I do think it’s important that you protect your brand and reserve your names, and oftentimes, depending upon the size of your company, I think it’s important that we are very specific about understanding the return on investment per channel. To be on all of them may mean that you’re on none of them, right? It’s kind of like if you spread all your money around, you don’t often have an opportunity to focus it. So depending upon what your budget is, you always want to look at protecting your brand, but you may want to think a little bit about how you’re putting your efforts into the channel based on who your audience is, and what success or return you’re getting. As you said it right at the beginning, Lori, you’re most active on LinkedIn and I would guess you’re probably most active on LinkedIn because that’s probably where you get the most return from your activity.
How can you know if your digital marketing channels are working?
One of the things that I think you need to look at is the metrics for those channels. So if you understand your audience, then if you look at that particular channel, let’s go ahead and use Instagram for a moment. If your account is set up as a business account, you will be able to see information about the demographics of your followers. The same is true for Facebook and the same is true for LinkedIn so looking at that information is extremely important to understanding if that the audience that you said you wanted to be talking to, if you are getting those followers there, and then what I often do is have people follow that through and see if it’s coming through any inquiries or outreach.
Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking experience that you’ve had?
So I used to teach a networking class and I had four keys to being a successful networker. The first was to listen and how we translate that into the digital world now is by reading the comments and the actual posts that people put in there. That is what I now call digital listening. Years ago, when I taught that class, we would listen to someone speaking verbally but it still works! The second tip is to ask thoughtful questions and the third is to give. What I mean by that is to give something of value or feedback, it doesn’t always have to be a lead with networking, but a tip, a direction, something that shows that you as the listener and the person looking to grow that conversation is engaged and paying attention. My fourth tip is always to record. Why that is so important is because when I started my business in the late 90s, I was very into keeping a record of all of my conversations and everyone I met in a CRM or customer relationship management database. That record portion was so important because it helped me connect the dots between the people I met and the referrals I received and I believe that those four tips are still really important today.
How do you stay in front of and best nurture your network and your community?
Right now I have to be honest because, after the holidays, you sort of feel like you’re in that holiday haze. But one of the best ways, for me, is digital listening as I mentioned before. So going down and thoughtfully looking through what people are talking about and adding that commentary for relationships. But the other thing is making time to at least reach out and build those one on one relationships. I do think that’s always important as well because I think we get so caught up in what we’re doing that we need to make that time to step back and say I need to be connecting with and spending time one on one with people.
What advice would you offer to business professionals looking to grow their network?
I think that growing your network means growing it intelligently. I want to go back to something we were just talking about a little while ago, which is our audience. So if you’re growing your network, be honest with yourself about what you need to grow your business and also those kinds of partners that you feel not only will give value to you, but you can give value to them. So you cannot be all things to all people which is why I think it’s really important and growing your network to be reaching out and working with those where you do see really strong reciprocal relationships.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less than or differently with regards to your professional career?
It’s interesting because I had those four rules and I had a really good process for networking, but what I noticed as I grew my team is that I somehow lost that process-driven mindset and that is something I wish I had not lost because when I was working by myself, I had this idea of being very focused and disciplined and process-oriented. Then as I started to bring on more team members, I sort of let go and I do find that it is so important when you’re growing an organization and you’re bringing on team members, that you need to be very clear about your process, which will then dictate your expectations.
What final words of advice would you like to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
So I think in general, I want to go to something which is really important for growing and supporting your network and you really want to be mindful of what you’re putting out there and the message you’re trying to spread. I think that’s really important because you attract what you’re putting out there! Be yourself and you will attract those that come to you and that’s really how you’re going to build a loyal network and a great business!
Connect with Jennifer