I remember thinking Sunday night how nice it was going to be to have my first full “normal” week ahead of me after the past month of jury duty, personal/business trips, holidays, etc. Wow, so much for THAT idea! Oh well, Friday is upon us and you know what that means – time for my weekly Follow Friday Feature Profile!
This week’s feature is Wendy Wiseman, founder of KIBOOMU, a kids’ digital edu-tainment company she created with her friend and business partner, Sherry Segal. I met Wendy through the site I set up, FreePressReleaseList.com – she was one of our first customers, using the service to promote the company’s new iPhone app. I’ve been impressed with how she and Sherry proactively use social media (both Facebook and Twitter) to encourage parents to download free songs, apps, etc. and build a strong image for their company. I asked Wendy to participate in my profile this week, and she graciously agreed to do so – even though the interview was conducted VERY late on a Thursday night! So enjoy – Wendy has a TON of great info to share!
Which social media networks do you use consistently?
Twitter, Facebook (Personal/business account – Kiboomu Kids & FB Fan page-Kiboomu) Blog/Website (http://www.kiboomu.com), YouTube.
What was your “Aha” moment regarding social media (when/why did you decide to become engaged)?
As soon as I started on Twitter, I became addicted. Someone said it was like fly fishing – and when you “caught” a live one it was amazing! Actually – she hooked me!
How has Social Media impacted you personally? How about professionally?
Personally – I have met amazing women (and men too) on twitter. Facebook is taking me longer to get to “know” People. Sherry started the Facebook accounts, and she was doing really well. I took over FB last month, and things are picking up for me there – I’m talking to more and more people now. Fewer “friends” there though. Twitter is INSTANT GRATIFICATION!
Professionally – we saw our sales quadruple! (on iTunes).
You are very much an entrepreneur. Can you talk about some of the companies you’ve started? Are they related or have they been very different kinds of businesses?
I started KIDZUP in the basement of our home. That was a Children’s record label that grew to be one of Canada’s top 100 most profitable companies in 2003- 2004 – only 8 years after I started it!
In 2006 I bought TORMONT – a value added book publishing company. I hired Sherry (my partner today) as the publisher at TORMONT/KIDZUP. She had been the publisher at Pearson Educational & Readers’ Digest Childrens. Shortly after purchasing Tormont, the music industry literally crashed, and then the world economy crashed!
My husband and I decided to sell the print side of the business and Sherry & I took the plunge and started KIBOOMU.
KIBOOMU focuses on digital music & children’s mobile apps. We are also building our website as the community for parents and teachers to find SIMPLE, EASY & FUN resources (such as crafts, printables, recipes, games etc). However, our motto is “Kids Grow Smart With Music”. We believe that learning should be fun! And we also truly believe that music helps kids learn and retain what they learn much faster and longer than any other way!
I am so blessed to have Sherry in my life! She is an amazingly talanted person. She is a fabulous publisher, writer, mentor, sounding board, worker (she works 24/7) and partner!
How has social media changed your life?
I have been impacted by amazing women, moms, dads, entrepreneurs, etc all (and I mean ALL) over the world. People are inherently NICE, and on twitter there seems to be a code of ethics. This medium is about being SOCIAL and HELPING others. I truly believe in “Paying It Forward” – I am always there to lend a hand, RT, talk and council anyone who reaches out to us (within reason, of course!)
How do you think innovative businesses using social media? How do you see that changing or evolving over time?
Businesses using social media get to actually meet the end users! They have the opportunity to get the “real” feedback they need to improve and grow their product lines. 15 -20 years ago, we became” numbers”. Now we are getting back into the “customer service” of business again.
I can’t say how change will evolve over time. I would think that it can only help businesses if they truly listen and respond to their customers’ needs. After all, business MUST remember to “Think Like The Customer”. With social media, you actually have the opportunity to HEAR the customer!
Do you think there is a gender difference in the way men and women use social media?
I don’t really follow that many men Our market is moms – don’t mean to single you dads out there – but moms are the ones that are mostly home and on social media. Naturally, men are not as “chatty” or “friendly” or intimate” as women. Twitter/facebook seems to have been developed especially for women in mind! It’s like they tapped into our market entirely! ha ha
Some professionals are leery about becoming “friends” on Facebook with customers, peers, co-workers, etc. – how do you handle this? Do you “friend” professional contacts or keep things separate?
I “friend” everyone I can. EVERYONE is a potential customer to me. As the past PRESIDENT & CEO of a multi-million dollar company – I STILL washed my dishes, ate with the staff, did my own filing, faxing, emailing, selling, etc, and considered myself their “peer”. After all, I DID start in the basement of our home with one song! (Did I tell you that I co-wrote 100′s of songs, and sang them also?)
How do you use Twitter? How about Facebook? Do they serve similar or different roles for you?
Twitter is much more chatty. I program about 72 tweets a day. About 15 tweets a day go directly “TO BUY” sight (direct link to iTunes). The balance of the programmed tweets go to posts from our web site. (Remember, we offer FREE songs, printables, crafts etc. So we are really out there to help families have FUN while teaching their kids. And, if while they do that, they happen to buy an album or two from us, or an app or two, well then – we are happy too!) I then talk about 4-6 times a day. I read other tweets, blogs, FB accounts, and comment, & RT those. I try and follow the 80/20 rule. I TWEET A LOT! On twitter, we have over 8,600 followers and 71 Klout! And it was only our 1 year anniversary on twitter on January 23rd!!!!
Facebook we work very differently. I post only 4 times a day there. But I am working on getting “conversations” happening. It takes a lot of time for that to happen. But it IS happening, one person at a time! We are growing very nicely! We have over 3,100 friends and over 2,400 fans on Facebook.
Where have you found or learned the best/cool social media tips? I go to chats such as #momeochat and #smmanners and #gno. I have had great mentors like Shelly Kramer, Lesley Dewar (from Australia), Lori Lite from @Streefreekids, @talkingteenage among the few I can think of at 1:25 AM
How do you decide who you’re going to follow?
Sherry sent me MILLIONS of people to follow. And I went to places like “twellow” and looked up #moms, #parenting, #esl #teachers, etc.
How do you decide who you’re going to engage with and who you’ll simple “lurk”?
I don’t “lurk” anyone. I engage with everyone. Sure, it took time! At first I just RT everyone! But now I reach out – even just to say “good morning”!
Do you have a separate personal account from your @Kiboomu account? Why or why not?
No I do not. Kiboomu is our only focus. I swear we work 16-18 hour days 7 days a week. We don’t see the point in diluting our brand!
You juggle being a mom along with being an entrepreneur – how do you manage your time and commitment?
Sara is 16 now. I just manage it! When she was 14 – she auditioned for a part in a girl group (in LA) and got the part! Overnight she was singed to Jimmy Iovine at Interscope Records! I packed up (literally) and moved to LA for 18 months! In fact – Sherry & I started KIBOOMU when I was living in LA. In August of this year, my husband & I decided that Sara should return to Montreal to attend Grade 10. The band had broken up 6 months prior to that, and we felt we should return home to a “normal” life (is there such a thing?) – so….I work all day. I work at night after dinner. She is older now – so we get to spend plenty of quality time together. I had 18 months of pure bonding in LA with her (Mark commuted!)…so I manage. Sherry also has a lot of family commitments, but manages to juggle it all as well. I only wish she could have taken this questionaire with me. I feel guilty answering for her!
Do you think professionals should be thinking about using social media to help build a “personal brand?”
Do you mean doctors and lawyers? I don’t think that social media is or should be for everyone. It depends on if you have the time, and feel that it will benefit your relationship with your clients, and garner you new ones.
What is your most memorable social media experience?
I would still say it had to be meeting Lesley Dewar for the first time (from Australlia) and she “caught” my hook!
Do you care about the Super Bowl? Who do you predict will win?
The WHAT? LOL! Sorry…don’t follow that. I’m sure I will hear all about it on twitter though !
Have you met any fun/famous celebs?
Do you mean online? NO – sorry. But in LA, I got to meet Laurieann Gibson who was our next door neighbour. I also met Jimmy Iovine & Dirty Money. Sara (daughter) got to meet SO many – Jonas Bros, Lady Gaga. Katy Perry. Kerri Hilston, ALiscia Keys, P.Diddy, and the list goes on!
Have you tweeted with many? Which is more fun?
No – I really only concentrate on our “parenting” community….
Funniest Social Media moment?
I keep getting “unfollowed” by Dadarocks !
Biggest Social Media pet peeve?
Getting unfollowed! And SPAM!!
Any parting shots?
Nope – I think I talked your head off enough! LOL!
Thanks for participating!
THANK YOU For asking! What an absolute honor!!!