This is the first in a weekly series called Social Networking Power Profiles. Every week we will take a look at another business that is using social networking to grow their business. I believe that the best way to learn more about social networking, is to learn from those who have successfully used it in the past, so every Thursday look for new social networking power profiles.

Name of principal(s): Pam Rardin Talley and Lisa M. Blacker

Company: BCSMS: Business Consulting & Social Media SolutionsFacebook Badge

Industry: Marketing

Time In Business: Two months together, 25+ years each prior

Website: It is a work in progress at http://BCSMS.com

Twitter Id: @BCSMSdotCom

Biography: BCSMS is Business Consulting and Social Media Solutions powered by Co-Founding Principals Pam Rardin Talley and Lisa M. Blacker. Each brings to the team 25 years of business experience; Pam in technology and project management, and Lisa in various aspects of public relations. Together they and their team work to provide training, strategies and services to their clients. The target client includes the technology-challenged and those who know how to use the tools but prefer to delegate the use of them. BCSMS is especially interested in working with wellness professionals, authors and artists. Not-for profit groups with proper documentationcan enjoy a discount on most services.

When did you start using social networking? Lisa: I have been using Internet-based social networking platforms since 1995 for both personal use and for business.Pam: BCSMS is a marketing company emphasizing Internet-based social networking platformsFacebook Badge

How did you get started learning about social networking platforms? At Chicago Underground Social Media Society.

Did you attend in-person events, classes, or webinars to learn more? Yes! At Chicago Underground Social Media Society

What is your favorite social networking site for business: Lisa: Facebook!  Why?  Because I love the look, feel & functionality.  I love the requirement for authenticity and transparency.  I love researching people and companies to decide if I want to be involved with them and their business or network. I feel I have grown as a person tremendously since using FB for business and it is easier for me to see how my opportunities are boundless.  FB has enabled me to get closer to some people with whom I may not have otherwise connected.  It has also helped me refrain from connecting with people who engage in activities I’d rather avoid.

Why? How do you use social networking for your business? Social networking is a huge piece of our business.  Our business model is “We help our client deliver its authentic voice to its target market.”  We are less about branding than delivering the brand, and we utilize social media to do so.  We use social media for disseminating that message.

How has it changed your business? The use of social media in our business hasn’t changed our business, it IS our business.  Without it, we’d each be doing something different altogether.  Pam and I each realized we could use our social media skills and knowledge as a tool to enhance our extensive business backgrounds, hers in areas related to IT and operations, and mine in public relations and publishing.  We have found a way to pull together her background and mine and offer our clients a powerful package of strategy, training and services.

What was your biggest mistake in social networking? We are young enough in business that we haven’t made a mistake, yet!  Not one big enough to consider more than a momentary glitch, anyway.  One mistake I have made personally is regarding not having a plan or strategy when I started.  I began as a matter of exploration while on sabbatical from medical school.  I didn’t have a thought of what product I was offering or the brand I intended to disseminate.  I believe I transitioned very well from entrepreneurial explorer to business executive.

What would you tell people starting out in social networking to focus on? Determine WHY you are starting in social media.  If you are utilizing Internet-based social networking platforms, be sure to gather your thoughts and strategy FIRST.  Know your target market and the message or product you intend to deliver.  If you aren’t going into the business of social media, you don’t have to learn more than an overview of available tools.  Outsource (delegate!) as much of the process as you can.  Companies like Andy’s Smart at the Start and BCSMS are resources that enable you to focus on the aspects of your business you do best while we do for you what we do best.  If you don’t do your own taxes, or plumbing, or financial planning, you already understand the benefits of hiring professionals to do those tasks far outweigh the costs.  The same is true for qualified social networking professionals.

Do you have a specific strategy that you use to be more effective when using social networking? We are careful about evaluating the needs of our clients, who is their target audience and what the company wants to accomplish.

What direction do you see social networking going in the future? I see the increased use of smaller social networking platforms such as SocialNetworkingOnYourTerms.com and FriendsfromtheUnderground.com.  Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are also showing promise as being effective tools, but it seems many people use those for contacts more than real connections.

If you know someone you believe would be a great prospect for the social networking power profiles series please feel free to put their Twitter account in the comment section.

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