Friday, June 1, 2012

Profile: Social Media Marketer Frances Caballo

I'm starting a new blog series based on informational interviews with professionals working in the field of writing--from freelance writers to teachers to social media experts like Frances Caballo, owner of Act Communications. My quest was precipitated by a career assessment requirement in order to  receive government retraining funds (I just joined the masses in being laid-off from my day job, which I'm seizing as a positive opportunity to build my writing career). But I'm always curious about the kinds of work people choose to do and why, what skills they require, and the paths they took to get there.

I got in touch with Frances after receiving some really helpful information from her via the Redwood Writers listserv, where she acts as social media editor and board vice president, about how to best utilize online forums. For instance, she created a Pinterest pin board for local writers, which includes the covers of two anthologies in which I am featured. Or she instructs us in how to pre-approve photos others tag in FB. Unlike many email blasts, FB posts, tweets and blogs that are guises for self-promotion, I always find her information both tremendously useful and generous to the reader. Frances specializes in social media marketing for her clients, most of whom are writers or organizations who want to increase their visibility online.

A long-time writer herself, Frances started as a reporter, then worked for a magazine, then as a newspaper editor before becoming a communications director for a national nonprofit. With her public relations experience, she started Act Communications in January 2011 and is currently its sole proprietor. You can follow Frances Caballo on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

Here is what she says about her work:

What is a typical day like in your job?
I work about 10 hours a day. I also work during the weekend. Starting and running my own business takes a lot of time and effort. 

How did you get started in this type of work? 
I’ve been in the communications field for more than 22 years. Social media was a natural outgrowth of my field.
What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging? What motivates you?
Social media is a moving target; it is constantly changing. I both love that aspect and I find it frustrating sometimes. But change is good! What motivates me is my love for the communications field and working for myself.

What sorts of changes are occurring in your occupational field? 
The obstacle to earning money in social media marketing is that some people think their teens can do it for them. But they can’t. Also, people fear the “time suck” of social media, which I try to explain can be manageable. I constantly have to educate people.
What other kinds of organizations hire people to perform the functions you do? 
All types of organizations hire social media specialists from nonprofits to tech companies to real estate companies. It’s a wide field.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in this field?
Learn as much as you can about social media and marketing. Get a degree in marketing.
Dear Reader: What types of social media do you utilize (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, blog, newsletter, website...) and for what purpose? If you're a writer, do you have an online platform? If you don't engage in social media, why not?

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