The internet is teeming with millions of potential customers, so where else would you want to advertise? Social media isn’t limited to millennials — people of all ages are connected instantly through the power of social networks. And brands are taking advantage of this, too.
Andrew Ford runs the digital brand agency Social Star and is a lecturer at RMIT and Monash University. Andrew says social media marketing success relies on your message, from words to pictures and right down to the way you dress.
Erin Kilpatrick runs Impact Marketing Services — the one-stop-shop for marketing services that she dreamed of when she was a marketing manager. Erin outlines the best uses for each social media channel and the best ways to use them.
Disclaimer: Transcripts may contain a few typos. Similar sounding words can lead to them being deciphered wrongly and hence transcribed likewise.
Serpil Senelmis: For WeTeachMe, this is the Masters Series where industry professionals share their secrets to success. I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded. How do businesses go about harnessing the power of social media? It’s a question for our two masters who specialize in digital marketing and using social media to grow business profiles. Erin Kilpatrick is the managing director at Impact Marketing Services, the certified practicing marketer incorporate social media strategy into her results-orientated approach to marketing.
Erin Kilpatrick: I have worked with a lot of businesses that have come to me and they’re like, I’ve been spending all this time writing blogs, and I’ve been posting on Facebook and posting on Instagram, and I’m getting all these likes, but it’s just taking up so much of my time, it’s not actually doing anything like it feels good. So what we call vanity metrics. But it doesn’t mean that that’s money in your pocket.
Serpil Senelmis: We’ll hear from Erin shortly. But first, Andrew Ford is the CEO of Social Star and describes himself as a corporate escapade. They’ve learned how to sharpen his social media tools, working on some of the world’s largest IT companies. After telling his boss to get staffed, he found himself helping businesses to sell an idea.
Andrew Ford: Thank you, thank you. So um, my job at Social Star on my role, Social Star is really centered around personal branding. But the thing that I really love the most is helping corporate escapees to start and scale a business. Because I was there, you know, for 20 years, I worked in big companies, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Telstra, I had some great experiences learned a lot went through the whole social media digital revolution, started the world’s first mapping application did MySpace campaign before there was Facebook and Twitter. The other thing that happened to me in my life and just a bit of a personal journey is that when I had kids I found that, you know, my time wasn’t my own. So I made the jump. And the jump was, you know, you might think by having an MBA and a masters of entrepreneurship, a nice, smooth, carefully planned out roadmap. Basically, one day, I had a fight with my boss and time to get stuff. Pick up my laptop and my phone and walked out and started my business. The next day, I was a little bit lucky in that I already started my business and ran it for a year and a half. Prior to now, like most good businesses, I started it because people just kept asking me for advice. And after they ask and ask and ask and they start giving me overnights and like hang on, I should be charging for this, right? So I started to charge. And I remember my first client was a friend of mine, who was actually the Social Media Manager for a gigantic company. But she didn’t know a lot about social media. So I built a brand and I made it look really great online. And I charged her $200 for a website and a photoshoot like everything took me about three months. And when there’s probably some some more I could charge for it right? And then she bogging me down right from what I wanted. So we charge a lot more for that now for the same sort of service. And we work with CEOs we work with entrepreneurs, we used to work with a lot of celebrities, but celebrities can be tricky sometimes to work with. But the people I really lovely the people who really want to make a change in their life, they’re doing for a meaningful reason. You want to do what you love to do now, not wait until later. Now, what I’m good at is helping you turn that into money. So we make it look good in order for you to run a strong and profitable business. Because that’s really what you need to, to leave corporate and have a good lifestyle. So we do powerful branding because we believe that this is the best way for people who first leave a corporation to get started. Because really, when you first start, you really don’t have anything. You might set up a company but a company doesn’t mean anything. You might have a company website, but nowadays you haven’t got any track record, I’m got a case study, new products around form they’re ill tested. So what we do is we work with you because you are the asset, regardless of whether you are the product is there in a consultant, you might be selling a product, but people only will buy from you because if you. Think of Steve Jobs, so when he first started, what do you do walk into a computer store and sold the guy behind the counter some computers and then went back and built the computers, right? He’s still selling technology, but it was his negotiation, he’s brand, he’s trusted, he could that makes this out. That’s what you’re going to go through and be eyeballing somebody and hoping that they will buy your product for a meaningful price. I want to reference a couple from people tonight that I particularly like and who is Amy Cuddy? She’s a Harvard professor. She had the revolutionary theory which you know, I’ve been telling people for a while but she’s proven that for someone to buy your product or someone to engage with you, they need to have trust and to equal trust, you need two things, they need to like you, and you need to have credibility. Some people think that is because you’re credible. But that’s not the truth, working in sales for a long time and know that people make irrational decisions, even corporates, people buy things, because they want them. So when we’re doing our business, we have to understand that we have two parts of the sale process, likability, credibility. And trust is the conduit for influence, it’s a medium which through ideas, travel. And if there’s one thing I want to leave you with today, it’s that you’re not selling your product, whatever that may be, you’re selling an idea. And the magic, that person will trust that idea is the amount that you’ll be successful in your business.
Andrew Ford: So an accountant, an accountant is not selling compliance or tax returns, they’re selling the trust that they’ll do a good job. So trust is really the medium for your small startup business. And most people don’t understand really what they’re selling. And so, therefore, they’re not successful, and they start out. And the thing that most businesses fail, they say that it’s, you know, revenue and poor product fit to the market. But really, it’s people give up. Persistence is the thing that entrepreneurs need to succeed, but they give up because they’re not making enough money. Generally, I can’t get their product out to market people don’t appreciate it. I’m really awesome at what I do, but no one wants it. Why? Because you’re not selling the right thing. So influence is the currency that we want influences build on this trusting. Let me tell you a story. So Elon Musk, I like him because he gets stuff done. I don’t miss I get shit done, but run a podcast. So you just bleep. So Elon Musk learns from the best and copies like everybody else does like Steve Jobs did, you know in his career and so forth, but he just improves, he’s selling cars. And you think, okay, selling cars, the cars need to be good to sell cars, right? That’s true. But he doesn’t sell cars like that. He looked at the best. And when Steve Jobs does a pretty good product launch, what does Steve Jobs does, goes on stage and get some cameras and does a PowerPoint presentation. So it takes that learning to cars and he does a 20-minute keynote. What’s the first thing you think he talked about? features and price and those are the things, no. He says we’re here to solve the problem of global warming. We are here to solve the problem of global warming. That’s our cars. He sold in 20 minutes, 500,000 cars. That’s not bad, right? Think about how people normally sell cars, right? That make the cars that cheap had to dealerships that have balloons and sausage sizzles that have specials, made millions of dollars on Superbowl advertising in the hope that you would get there, negotiate that you want to get floormats in October before you buy a car, maybe in about a month, and in a day sells 500,000 cars, the catches, you got to put down $1,000 now, and you may get the car in a year or so. That’s pretty good pitch. Right? You know, it’s a good pitch, because he’s not selling a car. He’s selling a movement, that we are on a journey, a common problem. So in your business, what’s the movement? What’s your mission? What are you doing? Because it’s not about what you think it is. It’s more and if you can connect on more, there might not be a customer today. But there might be some time. Is it gonna connect to you, as an entrepreneur doing something cool, rather than someone just pushing a product. Because really, if I wanted to stop global warming, I’d go buy an electric car today. That’s already built, they don’t have to wait for a year and a half, right? But he didn’t do that. People want to be connected to him and his brand, and his car. And these are the three brands in any business. And you’ve always got three, you need to build your brand first. And then you can have a company brand 50 to 100 clients testimonials, collateral, infrastructure, and then you can have a product brand that means something that’s the process of entrepreneurship, to have you be the centerpiece of the start of your business, you need to look good, you need to be branded. How do you do that? When branding is done well, we have this magnet this gravity, called etraction. We call it etraction. In fact, it’s my word. I like it so much. I trademarked it, because I made it up. If you Google it, you only find me, I hope. It’s efficiency. I don’t have time to call 100 people a day on the one person who’s interested in my product. I just want the one person to call me. Wouldn’t it be better on, you know, stand outside the haystack and get a magnet to get the needle don’t be ruffling through all day. It’s doing content, podcast, it’s doing social media marketing. It’s doing things like working on your mission and communicating that rather than your products. That’s the effort you should do when you first start rather than sales. That will get you more sales than actually selling and sort of counterintuitive, but it’s kind of true. All right. People call us and go, I’m buying from you because you didn’t try and sell me. You just trying to help me? Yeah, helping ourselves. 84% of the buying process starts with the referral. And we know this to be true. If seen on Facebook, can anyone recommend a good physio? You know, does anyone know someone who does so I’m looking to a podcast, who should I call? People asking other people and if someone knows got credibility, recommend somebody I’m likely to buy from that person.
Andrew Ford: To referrals like was one sale on average. 100 cold calls equals one client on average. And I which one I’d rather beyond branding, referrals, people go online, even if someone refers you, refers Andrew Ford refers a company refers podcasting refers whatever it is, you’re going to check him out. I mean, I was looking for a specific doctor for a specific thing and I still googled them. And I looked at their website, and I went with the one that or that person looks nice. This doctor looks friendly. It was my son. Okay, what does that mean? It was a meta, is he a good doctor or not. And I still went there for that reason, and I caught myself in the standard consumer thing is, I need to like him, and everything is critical for the thing that I want. But imagine if I couldn’t find him. Toast, I wouldn’t have gone any further. So you’ve got to have an online presence. So you invest in that first. Does anyone know Malcolm Gladwell? So blink is the concept of the theory, that people who are experts can judge something in the blink of an eye and make an accurate decision, as good as something that’s well researched. And he uses this great example of a statue. over in Europe, some have ordered in a statue and said, I just dug this up, it’s 10,000 years old, would you like to buy it? And they’re like, well, if it’s real, we’d be interested. Obviously, it’d be more complex than that. But I’m simplifying. So they’re bringing the statue and they’re bringing an expert to say whether it’s real or not, and he walks in goes, Oh, it’s a fake. Like, how do you know? Because I can just tell, no, that’s not good enough. So I got another team in that drill core samples and take x rays, and they do carbon dating, and they, you know, a couple of tests, and I spent six months a couple 100 grand, give him report and I say it’s real, and stuff like that. So Wow, people who are experts, you have 10,000 hours or five years invested or written a book about something or experts, right? So what are you putting online about you because that’s what I’m going to get? When I’m googling that doctor, I’m going to see his face. And I’m going to make a whole bunch of subconscious assumptions about that person. Based on that single image, get about eight seconds. No judge you and are you go Yes or No? Okay. Referral 50%, close, right? If your products $5,000, it’s two and a half thousand per referral, eight seconds, worth investing in some good stuff. Yeah. There’s three steps to our method, it’s pretty simple. You got to understand yourself. This is personal branding. Business branding is the same, but I don’t do that I do personal brand, I need to understand you, your values, your personality, your desires, your mission doesn’t come from out there, and we’re not filling a hole in the target market. We’re finding out what you want to achieve in your life. And we’re bringing that forth, and you got to represented accurately in digital. Because if you if you know what you’re like, and no one can read it, it doesn’t exist. You might be the most awesome person in the world if I can’t see it. I don’t know. All these people like you know, I don’t like Elon Musk, or I love Elon Musk. We’ve never met him yet. You know, perception based on online stuff we’ve read right? Little pieces of information will assembled in our brain to create a 360 degree brand of what that person we think is the exact same things for you. Once you’ve understood who you are, you built it in some technology, you didn’t learn how to sell it. How do you communicate it? How do you talk about it? How do you pitch? Pitching is so vital if you can’t communicate your value to the next person in 30 seconds so that they the next day can tell somebody else you missing a massive opportunity. So why did I leave my corporate job? Why did I give up you know the high-flying lifestyle the you know, the big money, all that sort of stuff? Well, as I say here boss I quit for two very important reasons. I teach young kids right at a big why. The reason I share this blog, see engagement I got from there people still come and see me guy remember that blog you wrote, like a man that’s four years ago, but it hit upon a nerve in people. The content prior to this was here’s my five tips to a great LinkedIn profile. Here’s how to do it for small business, and I got interest, but not engagement. Social media is so busy, there’s so much noise. I don’t care about the medium. I don’t care about the mode of how you do your content. It’s important to get it right. But what I care about is the message. If you don’t know your brand, and you don’t know your message, you really can’t do justice, for personal branding that is. Thank you.
Serpil Senelmis: Builds credibility and trust. That seems to be the key message for social media success. Thanks, Andrew Ford. We’ll hear from Erin Kilpatrick, right after this.
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Serpil Senelmis: Erin Kilpatrick is the managing director at Impact Marketing Services. Her advice to startups is to think about the problem you’re solving for businesses and to use social media authentically.
Erin Kilpatrick: Thanks very much. So I’m going to give you more of a tactical approach to how do you go about marketing yourself and your business on social media? Which platforms do you, do you go for? And what do you do when you’re on those platforms. I also am a corporate escapee. I’ve spent 13 years in corporate running marketing departments here and New Zealand, I found it really frustrating as a marketing manager to be dealing with external agencies and have to go to a different agency for all different things. So I had to go to a graphic design agency for graphic design, I had to go to a web design agency for web design and things like that PR agency for PR. And as a really time-poor marketing manager, I didn’t have time to keep telling my story to all of these different agencies and having to spend time building relationships and wait for them to understand our business. So I thought there’s a real gap in the market there for a one-stop-shop, I need just one person that I can go to, that understands my business. And I can get them to do what I need to do what we don’t have the resources to do in house. So I didn’t have a fight with my boss and leave the next day. It took me two years to actually extract myself from that business and get to the point where I was comfortable to be able to walk away and start my own. I left work one day, and I had my first client the next day, which was a friend also, paid me a little bit more than 200 bucks. But that’s kind of what started that journey and that was three years ago. I had worked in corporate and I’ve worked in business, I’ve worked in marketing, and I’ve got an MBA, and I’d studied it. But when I went out into on my own, I felt like I knew nothing. And it was really, really difficult. It was a really steep learning curve of when I how to run a business that started running, but how do I actually start a business? And where do I start? And what do I do. And I’ll try and hopefully give you guys the tools so that you can start a little bit further down that track than I did when I started. So social media, it’s designed to be social. And that’s probably the most basic thing about it. But the thing that people forget traditional marketing, before social media kind of took off was we were talking at people. So you would have a billboard, you would have radio and you were talking at your customer saying, this is what we’ve got, buy from us, social turn that on its head. So all of a sudden, you’re talking with your customers, it’s a two-way conversation, they can reply to you. They’re building relationships with you. And that is really powerful in that you now have access to all these people that you didn’t have direct access with before. But you also need to be mindful is they don’t want to be sold to. They want to feel like they know you. They want to trust you, as Andrew was saying. And you do that with social media. So yeah, creating personalized conversations and building relationships. Terminology around social media that you’ll hear is organic reach. So basically organic reach is unpaid reach. So when you post something, how many people are you touching? How many times is it being shared? And how many people are you getting in front of without having to pay for that? Now a lot of the platforms are cracking down and they’re, they’re monetizing their platforms. And they’re kind of diverting you into paid reach. So what they’re saying is, especially Facebook, people had a really good run for a really long time where they could access a lot of people without spending any money. Now Facebook of changing their algorithm and then they’re tightening that up and getting good organic reach is really, really difficult. Now you have to stop thinking about social media as a free way to market, it’s not. You’ve got to consider that you need an advertising budget behind it in order to be successful. And you need to plan for that from the beginning. Organic and paid reaches how many eyeballs you get in front of. But the aim of the game is we want them not only to see what you’re doing, but we want to encourage them to engage with you, because that’s how you start the conversation. And that’s how you start to build the relationship. So whether it’s engaging with you through commenting, or whether they’re sharing it with their friends, and it comes back to this referrals that Andrew was talking about. So they’re saying I really like what I’ve seen here, I want to tell all my friends about it. So engagement is really important. And especially with the new Facebook algorithm, they’re now putting more weight behind engagement rather than, than anything else. So if you’ve got posts that we’re just getting heaps of likes, Facebook, don’t deem that as valuable as if you’ve got a post that is encouraging long conversation. So if people are commenting with long comments, they’ll give that priority in the feed. And that’s what will help you increase your reach. So engagement, probably the most important part. And conversion, conversions can be conversions to sales, signups to your email list, signups for a product, anything that inspires your target market, the people that are viewing your content to do what you want them to do. Basically, with all of your social media activity, you need to have a strategy behind it. I have worked with a lot of businesses that have come to me, and they’re like, I’ve been spending all this time writing blogs, and I’ve been posting on Facebook, I’m posting on Instagram, and I’m getting all these likes, but it’s just taking up so much of my time, it’s not actually doing anything, like it feels good. It’s all what we call vanity metrics. But it doesn’t mean that that’s money in your pocket. So you’ve got to have a strategy. And you’ve got to have a direction of what you want your customers to do, what action do you want your customers to take? There are so many social platforms.
Erin Kilpatrick: And one thing that I learned as a startup is that all new business owners go through is your it, especially if you come from corporate where we had an accounts department and IT department, we had a marketing department, we had a warehousing department, and then all of a sudden, you’re it especially in those early days, your time is really, really poor. So you need to be strategic in which platforms you choose. Because it’s so easy to get sucked down the social media hole. So the first thing to ask yourself is who is your audience? Are you going to be supplying to other businesses? Or consumers? Then from there, you drill down to okay, how old is that person? Is that person, male or female? What do they like to do? Where do they hang out, try and get into the psyche of who your customer is determining your target audience and your target customer. Even if Facebook or Instagram is more comfortable for you in your everyday life. If you’re selling a service to another business, there is people that are your customers are most likely going to be spending their time on LinkedIn, you need to for business purposes, become comfortable with LinkedIn. Is your goal to get them in a room for a workshop, as a starting way to build a conversation? Is your goal to get them to give you their contact details for further information. And when you’re building a business, you’ve got to think about building assets that you own. Building a profile on any social media platform is great, and it creates awareness. But at the end of the day, you don’t own that platform. So Mark Zuckerberg can go and change the algorithm and he can effectively say we’re no longer supporting business pages. And you might have had 100,000 likes on your business page, it’s gone, you’ve got no access to those people anymore. So while you need to engage on these platforms and build the relationships, what you want to do is you want to try and get them off there and interacting with you in a format that you own. So whether it is getting them on a list so that you can send them emails directly, or getting them to your website so that you can start to track information about them and encourage them down that purchasing journey. You need to be thinking about how you take control of that customer and at what point do you take control of that customer. So LinkedIn, probably the best platform for business to business service and product providers. Medium similar. Core is an interesting one way you can respond directly to questions that they will have and you can start discussions and things like that. And Facebook actually have a really active business groups community. So even though you may not be selling directly to consumers, there are a lot of business people that use Facebook and are member of business groups. And now engage in discussion, you just need to think about who your audience is, and what type of business they have. If you’re trying to get in front of the purchasing manager of a multinational company, you’re more likely to find them and be able to converse with them credibly on LinkedIn than what you would on Facebook, the engagement on Facebook is still very casual. Whereas LinkedIn is a more professional type platform. If you’re B2C, you’re probably going to be using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube. YouTube gives you a good opportunity to let people see an insight into your product, how it works, how its developed, behind the scenes, those sorts of things. And that’s when they start to really build trust with your brand and also kind of resonate with you. So crafting the right message. Facebook is great for branding and building a community. So Facebook groups are really good, they have fared really well in the last algorithm change in that they’re being prioritized because they have meaningful conversations and meaningful interactions. So you would have noticed your newsfeed change, and you’re seeing less from business pages and more from your friends, but also from conversations in groups. I have a look and see what groups are out there. And if there aren’t any groups out there, start one. So they’ve targeted advertising and retargeting. metrics are fantastic. The amount of data that Facebook collects about all of its members, allows for really, really fine-tuned, targeted advertising. So knowing your customer, knowing where they ask for geographical location, how old are they? Are they male or female? What are they interested in, you can create ad sets that actually drill right down and can get in front of these people. Combining that in with what’s called a pixel that you insert on your website, it means that anyone that goes to your website will be retargeted in future ads, so your ad can keep getting shown to them. If a customer’s not familiar with you, they need to basically see you, see your name, see your offer something like seven or eight times before they’ll remember it and recall it because there’s just so much noise and there’s so much out there. So this retargeting is really, really powerful and really good way to spend your money. So looking at LinkedIn, it’s a really good stalking tool. So if you know that you want to work with a particular company, and you need to get in front of this person in this position in this company is a great way to find them. It’s a really good platform for adding value through published articles. So they have a good platform that really bodes well for longtail articles. And think about when you’re creating content for LinkedIn, you want to be adding value. As I mentioned before, people don’t want to be sold to you need to think about what problem is your product or service solving. And how can you provide information to help solve that problem, so that it makes their life easier, but also yeah, when they have a need, they’ll remember you. And also, with LinkedIn, make sure that you engage with other people on the content that they are publishing as well. Talk to them on the platform, comment on their articles, like their article, share them if you want to. And kind of give back, don’t be one of these people that just blast out and take take take don’t actually return.
Erin Kilpatrick: Instagram, great for branding and engagement, generally a younger demographic on Instagram, it’s really, really good for telling a story, make it more about you as a business person, and why you started your business. And then go into what you’re offering. The thing with Instagram is be really particular about the photos that you put up there and the content that you put up there because you need to make sure that your feed is aesthetically pleasing. You competing against some really other beautiful accounts. If people aren’t resonating with your photos, they’ll just go and buy and you won’t get them back. Influences are very prevalent on Instagram and this is a great way to expand your reach. You either pay them in product so you supply them with free product so that they will then try it and post about it or you actually pay them directly but it’s a really good strategy to boost your engagement and your followers on Instagram and boost awareness about you. But beware of fake followers and fake engagement. So there’s a kind of a little bit of a bad reputation in the influencer market of people that pay for followers and they pay for engagement to boost their numbers so that people will then think that they’ve this big influencer, they’ll give them free stuff or they’ll pay them to do things and it doesn’t actually have any value for your business. If they are not micro-influencers, micro-influencer generally has less than 10,000 followers. And they will be more likely than not on a personal account, so they won’t have any stats. But if they’re on a business account, they’ll be able to tell you what country their influences are in, what their engagement levels are, if they’ve got a post that has 1000 likes, but one comment, it’s not likely that they’re followers are real or a big portion of them aren’t real. So Pinterest and YouTube, although people view them as social platforms, they actually search engines, it’s hard to market on, it’s hard to come up with content for it is so good for if you want inspiration on for something and you search and you make her own board. That’s what makes it a search engine, people are going there with the intent to find things, same way that they handle Google’s success on social media. Take the time to plan out your content, you can actually fake the real-time aspect of social media for the majority of it, and you use schedulers like Plan Out or Hootsuite or things like that, it saves you a lot of time and set time limits say I’m going to dedicate two hours every Monday morning to do my social media for the week. Or you might decide to do a day to do your social media for the month. Don’t try and build this wall in front of you and some hunter business, you do need to have an element of a personal brand out there. People want to buy from people. So tell your story, be authentic, and then you’ll find that people do resonate with you. So that’s it.
Serpil Senelmis: I love how Erin Kilpatrick thinks that LinkedIn is the ultimate stalking tool, I second that. Next week on the Masters Series, Content Marketing 101. Content Marketing is a form of storytelling that reaches out to your audience, but not all content is created equal. So how do you make sure your content sparks the imagination of your potential customers? Our two masters next week have got some great tips on effective storytelling to help you create shareable content for your newly honed social media skills. I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded and for WeTeachMe, this is the Masters Series.
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