Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Mhairi Petrovic – Social Media Guru

By Cathy Watters on Oct 15 2009 • Filed under Marketing

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“Social media is like a pub in Britain,” says Mhairi Petrovic, president of Out-Smarts Marketing Inc., a company that helps entrepreneurs understand how they can use the internet to promote their businesses. “People in Britain go to the pubs to get together, socialize, share information, anecdotes, and photographs, and to interact.”

Social media are tools that allow you to do the same thing online. For example, people congregate around blogs and interact by reading and posting comments. Instead of going to the pub, people go to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to socialize.

Petrovic says there are 300-million people around the world using Facebook, over 200-million on MySpace, and 20-million on Twitter, and businesses are starting to realizethe potential this media represents.

“[Social Media] is a great way to tap into people with communities and market effectively to them,” she says.

Petrovic emphasizes that regardless of how you market, it’s important to understand who your audience is and what your goals are. Who are you trying to reach? Why are you trying to reach them? What do you have to offer them? Why are you using these tools? By understanding those things, it makes it easier for you to transact and communicate with people and be effective in social media forums.

When she set up her business a few years ago she originally focussed on traditional marketing, but then a friend suggested she switch to internet marketing since she knew so much about it. One of the first jobs Petrovic had out of university, when computers still had green screens and few people had even heard of the world wide web, was selling internet technologies to companies.

“A lot of people, especially from my generation and older, are a wee bit threatened by technology,” she says. “They’re hesitant to use a lot of these tools because they feel it effects their privacy, or they don’t feel secure using these tools.”

When she switched her focus from traditional to online marketing four years ago, she found she had to educate people about what she did and how it could help them. The people she spoke to either didn’t use social media at all, or thought it was just for personal use. Now she’s finding people in the 30+ age range are the fastest growing demographic of technology adaptors.

“Social media for business is the buzz right now,” she adds. Magazines and newspapers are publishing articles on what the tools are and how to use them.

During their start-up phase, Petrovic took the time to establish the business processes and figure out what she could offer her clients in terms of implementation, education, and strategic work. She says this was instrumental in ensuring the company was well-positioned for growth. When it suddenly took off this year, she was ready for it, and the company doubled its revenue and more than doubled the number of customers. She has clients in British Columbia (where she’s based) and in Eastern Canada. While Petrovic is excited about how things have progressed, she doesn’t want to grow the business too fast.

“I want it to be something I can manage effectively,” she says. “It has to grow at a pace that I can keep up with because I’m a working mom with two kids who I also have to keep up with. There has to be that life balance.”

WORK/LIFE BALANCE

Petrovic relaxes by running several times a week and reading, and says one of the best ways for helping bring balance to your life is by putting things in perspective and building your business around the limitations that you have. Avoid making goals that are so large you can’t do them.

“I’m not going to build a business that has offices all over the world. I don’t have the time for that,” she says. “I love what I do and I’m very fortunate in that I am my own boss.”

Doing things you enjoy helps bring balance as well. Petrovic has recently begun mentoring for the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. She says anyone who is starting out should join a women’s networking group because, “they give a lot of support and help. Other women tend to be nurturing and encouraging and it gives you that wee bit of support you may need during those dark days when you make mistakes.”

She points out that owning your own business is a lot of work and can be stressful, but she finds the benefits are worth it.

“Nobody tells me I can’t take a day off work because my kids are sick,” she says. “I don’t have an employer breathing down my neck. I make the decisions, and I can make the decisions that balance my life for my kids, my family and my husband more effectively than a lot of people who have 9-to-5 jobs.”

TOP FIVE TIPS

  1. Set achievable goals and standards.
  2. Be organized. Organize your schedule and document your business processes, because when you hire people you’ll need to know how things work so you can transfer that information on to your employees.
  3. Embrace mistakes. The fact is, you will make mistakes. Lots of them. Instead of punishing yourself, look at mistakes as a way to learn, gain experience, and get better at what you do.
  4. Remember your work/life balance. If you focus solely on your business you’ll end up exhausting yourself. Give yourself permission to take time off and have vacations.
  5. Join a women’s networking group and make friends with other entrepreneurs so when you need to talk to someone about your day, good or bad, you can call someone who understands the challenges of being an entrepreneur.

2 Comments

  1. Love this profile of Mhairi and her company. What a great way to feature our entrepreneurial women! Looking forward to more.

  2. I can’t think of a better person to feature for your first edition of Entrepreneurial Woman. Mhairi has been a real inspiration, a good friend and a valued business colleague to me. We have many good business years ahead of us – I can feel it!

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