I am very excited to introduce a man whose energy and passion for the social media community is only matched by his obsession for running and coffee. Kevin is outspoken, humorous and extremely engaging. He works hard for his clients, is not afraid to say hello and has been on the social media scene since its inception. Let’s get to know Kevin and his company, K2 Marketing.
1. Who is Kevin Kelly?
I am a coffee guzzling, marathon running, networking-aholic, and social media loving giant hailing from the great state of Ohio. I am a consultant who helps businesses grow their brand and increase revenue through social media marketing. And I lead seminars and conduct training on topics such as Social Media, Networking, Sales and Marketing.
2. When did you become a part of the social media community, and why?
I have been part of the social media community since its inception in the days of dial-up internet. As the business owner of a small recruiting firm, initially I was looking for inexpensive ways to market my business and social media provided that opportunity. As the years went by, I found the market had more of a demand for social media marketing than it did for recruiting and I transitioned into the wild world of social media marketing.
3. Please tell us about your company K2 Marketing.
K2 Marketing is a company I formed specifically to provide social media marketing to small and medium sized businesses. All of our services are tailored to customer’s specific needs. The majority of the clients utilize us to create and manage all of their social media content, including but not limited to Twitter and Facebook.
4. Anyone who follows you online knows running and coffee are a big part of your life. Why are they so important to you?
Running is a metaphor for how I live my life. It is an outlet for me and a challenge. It helps me maintain a healthy mindset, and I love the challenge of marathon running. There are no excuses and no shortcuts. It is just you and the road and you have to put the miles in and train and push through the rough days and the occasional pain. Coffee, is perhaps the greatest creation of all-time. It’s as if there is something in it that keeps me wanting to drink more.
5. What do you love about marketing and social media?
Marketing, Social Media, Sales – it all comes down to people and developing relationships. I like helping businesses develop relationships with prospects and turning those prospects into clients. I also enjoying seeing a business owner grow their business. It’s exciting to be around people who are experiencing success and living their dream.
6. Why did you choose your current profession, and what other professions have you had?
I pursued basketball as a young lad while I managing my recruiting business. In life after basketball, I transitioned my business into a social media marketing firm and began leading seminars on networking, social media marketing and other topics.
7. You have a large community of friends and followers online in several different social networks – why do you think that is?
I would like to say that it’s because I am awesome and people want to be surrounded by me, but that is not the case. It takes effort. I share a variety of content that attracts a wide audience and actively work on building relationships with people who follow me. And I think it’s because I share a good balance between humor, news and tips, and a bit about myself. They see I am a real person.
8. Which social network is your personal favorite?
I would have to say it’s my personal Facebook page. I am active on Twitter, though it is difficult to form relationships with a large number of people. On Facebook, I feel like there’s more of an exchange with friends that resembles in-person interaction. And I find that people share a more accurate picture of who they really are on Facebook.
9. What is your favorite social network for businesses?
As of right now, I would say Twitter. You can reach the most amount of people in the quickest period of time. Facebook would be second. Linkedin is a great network for business professionals, but for a business (besides networking and recruiting) it does not offer much.
10. What is your approach to social media marketing?
The key is to have a plan, be organized and disciplined enough to stay on track, yet flexible enough to adapt and change when needed. There is not one turn-key marketing plan that will work for every company. You have to know your business, your target audience, and create a plan on how to reach that target audience. Then, be organized. Plan all marketing activities. Never conduct an action or post something on a social network that does not have a purpose. Stay grounded, but make sure you’re on your toes and ready to adapt.
11. What types of clients do you target?
I typically target small business to consumer businesses with 5-25 employees. These businesses typically do not have a full-time employee dedicated to social media marketing or a marketing department. They typically spend a lot of money on older traditional marketing strategies and see declining returns on their marketing dollars. They often know they should be marketing through social media, but don’t know where to begin.
12. What is your favorite and least favorite aspect of social media marketing?
Least Favorite is fighting preconceived notions and social media stereotypes. Many people do not understand social media and fear what they don’t know. They hear stories of privacy being breached and have preconceived notions that can’t be changed even when confronted with conclusive facts and logic.
My Favorite is relationship building. When social media marketing is done right, a customer/follower believes that they actually have a relationship with the business they follow online.
13. How long did it take to build a successful business?
That is a loaded question. What is success? I turned a profit in the second month, but mostly because there was such a big demand for social media marketing and few people offered services. The industry has changed a great deal in a few years. There are not a lot of options for businesses looking for help with their social media marketing. Success for me goes well beyond hitting certain revenue marks or maintain a certain percentage of growth.
13. What advice do you have for others wanting to begin or grow their own social media marketing business?
Plan, Plan, Plan. It is relatively easy to quickly develop a revenue stream of a few thousand with a social media marketing business, but it is very difficult to grow a business beyond that.
Find one service to offer that can develop a consistent stream of income that you can use as a foundation to grow your business. Think of a landscaper – they don’t want to cut grass for a living, they want to create backyard masterpieces. But cutting grass pays the bills each month and is their lead into offering more service. If you are a good graphic designer, think about offering a service where you design and format Facebook and Twitter logos and backgrounds, etc. Find a service that will generate a consistent stream of income and it will get your business off to a great start and help limit the stress of wondering how you will be paying the bills.
14. What tools could you not live without and why?
My cell phone. I have been known to text, tweet and Facebook while running. Second might be duct tape. I am not handy whatsoever, so if anything breaks duct tape is my only chance of fixing it.
15. Do you have any mentors?
My first mentor was my grandpa. He demonstrated and taught me what it is to be a man. I have had a few business mentors over the years, and I feel it is important to have a business mentor who will shoot straight with you and hold you accountable.
16. What trait or asset is most valuable to social media marketers?
The ability to prioritize, and the discipline to stick to your priorities. In my life, people, family and friends are always my top priority over work or my own self-interests. In social media marketing, setting priorities is not that easy. Social media marketing involves numereous tasks, not just daily but often hourly. One must be able to prioritize and stick to those priorities or they will become overwhelmed and unsuccessful.