CEO SPOTLIGHT: FULL FRONTAL ROI, NICHOLE KELLY
I am very excited to post this interview with Nichole Kelly as it has been in the works for some time. I somehow came across one of her blog posts on social media on The Social Examiner and thought I would reach out to her and introduce myself. Ironically enough she used to work in my hometown of Beltsville, MD. Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Full Frontal ROI Consulting and publisher of FullFrontalROI.com. She has been cited as a leading social media measurement expert by Forrester and HootSuite for her unique approach to bottom-line metrics. She is also a contributing writer for the leading social media blogs Social Media Explorer and Social Media Examiner. Here is her story.
1) Hi Nichole, please tell us briefly about yourself and how you got started in this industry and moreover, your forte’ into social media.
My career start is actually an interesting story. I started as a graphic designer for the Federal Reserve Bank. At the time, I didn’t have an undergraduate degree, had two children and went through a horrific divorce while living on macaroni and cheese. I always leaned towards marketing and creative problem solving, so I put myself through school while working 3 jobs and was successfully able to work my way up the ranks. Shortly, thereafter, I was running marketing teams focused on developing creative strategies that were efficient, scalable and measurable. When social media started to become more popular I jumped in to review how it would apply to business marketing and then received my first challenge, “You can’t measure social media.” Since then I have crossed over to integrating measurable social media strategies full-time and now own my own social media consulting firm. My start was actually fairly traditional for a corporate marketer and I’ve used that knowledge to look at social media from a holistic perspective.
2) Your blog is referred to as “Full Frontal ROI” – please elaborate how did this name come to be?
Ha ha…well, it’s not as dirty as it sounds. In social media transparency and authenticity is core to any company’s success. I believe the same level of authenticity and transparency should apply to your measurement strategy and have a strict “no-fluff” policy when it comes to metrics. We measure everything down to sales, revenue and cost. Therefore, Full Frontal ROI seemed like a perfect fit.
3) You are an avid speaker on the talk show circuit, is there a particular message you want to convey?
Figuring out where social media fits isn’t always easy. There isn’t a cookie-cutter approach that will work for every company. Once you make the leap into social, continuing to justify your efforts and expand your resources can be even more difficult. If you don’t start with a solid way to measure your strategies even the best results can look lackluster and present themselves as failures. My message is to be bold, measure everything to revenue and be willing to fail. If you do, when you get it right everybody will notice.
4) What are the top 3 factors that you feel contribute to your success?
Perseverance…perseverance…and oh, did I say perseverance? Honestly, it is an absolute refusal to accept “no” as an answer. When I was told you can’t do this or that, I always found a creative way to do it despite any obstacle I came across. I called it perseverance; I suppose others call it pure stubbornness. LOL.
5) How important is it to you to communicate with your audience?
It’s very important to me, but I’ll have to be honest. I have not done the greatest job of creating new content regularly for my blog or engaging on my social channels. I write for a lot of other blogs and my own channels can suffer as a result. Fixing this is a core focus for me in the 4th quarter. There is nothing that makes my day more than to hear that someone got something from a post I wrote and gives me feedback positive or negative. My goal is to be as accessible to my audience as possible.
6) Talk to us specifically about your experience and frustrations in dealing with people in the industry. Do many just not grasp the concept of Social Media and how best to use it to their advantage?
There are some amazing, hard working and truly inspirational people working in social media. I wish that more companies would demand ROI accountability within their social media strategy and from their social media providers. This would really help push measurement forward in the industry, and of course, I hope that more people start asking for the Full Frontal Measurement Methodology.
7) Who has been your motivation or inspiration, in other words, who is your driving force?
I’ll focus on the professional inspiration here. Chris Brogan, is a truly amazing inspiration. I’ll never forget the first time I met him and broke all his rules when I screamed like a little school girl. Fortunately, he was gracious enough to be my friend anyway and was instrumental in giving me the courage to start my own business. Amber Naslund keeps it real and grounded. She has consistently been available even if I have a dumb question or just need the name of someone who can answer my questions. Jason Falls showed me that you can speak your mind on stage and still be respected. Greg Cangialosi has shown me that authenticity can be accomplished through an entire organization. And Michael Steltzner has shown me that something as simple as a well-promoted blog can be a viable business strategy.
8) What do you think is the impact of the “new” media on today’s generation? Are they leveraging it effectively and more importantly – are they leveraging it for the betterment of our industry?
If you are specifically referring to the Millennial generation, I would say that they will be instrumental in helping social media become the standard for how you interact with your audiences. For them, social media isn’t a marketing strategy it is the way you communicate. I think as Millenials get into senior management positions you will see amazing transformations of how businesses use digital technology to build relationships with their consumers. Say goodbye to the “marketing message” and say hello to the “conversation.”
9) What are some effective tools and products that help you keep your life organized?
I’m a big proponent of the Google products; I use Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and even Google tasks. I like that they sync up with multiple other applications and make managing my life on any device possible. I also use Toggl.com for time tracking to make sure I’m spending my time where it is most profitable and not getting lost in minutia.
10) If you had a money tree in your back yard and could purchase anything for your business tomorrow, what would it be?
A think tank! I’ve always dreamed of creating a room that is specifically designed for creative brainstorming. It has glass walls all around that you can write on with erasable markers, bean bag chairs, squishy toys, and an awesome sound system.
11) Any words of wisdom for my readers looking to get into this space?
Social media is just another tool in your marketing tool kit. The first suggestion is to make sure you master core marketing techniques and learn from the successes and failures others have made. As you look at social, ask yourself, “is that how I’d like to be treated” and “would I respond to that?” And let me know if you are interested, I’m working on building a Full Frontal ROI dream team that is trained on the Full Frontal ROI methodology.