A lot of small business entrepreneurs are talented when it comes to offering useful products or amazing services, but can’t quite seem to nail the finer points of getting their brand’s name out there and building engagement with potential customers. And you know what: that’s okay! Luckily, there are people out there who are passionate about helping business owners get the attention that they deserve. In fact, I reached out to one of them for this column! I interviewed Robin Samora, a dedicated PR expert who has a fantastic knack for small business marketing.
Robin helps small businesses figure out how to get their brand and messaging to stand out – both online and offline. She was kind enough to take some time during her travels to have a chat with me about her passion for PR, her tips for learning from adversity, and her thoughts on the new social media age – let’s check out what she had to say!
Tell us about your business in as much detail as you can. What is it that you do and who are your customers?
I’m a PR and Small Business Marketing Expert and speaker. I love to help owners promote their brands – even without a PR budget. That means I love to teach them the tips, tricks and tools to get free publicity and get the biggest bang for their buck. There’s really never been a better time to be in business and get visibility. I also love to teach how to turn prospects and customers into raving fans who want to buy your products and services. The magic is getting them to like, know, and trust you on multiple platforms. You are your brand wherever you go! What made you choose this path? Is it a family legacy or are you a pioneer? Did you go to school for it or are you learning as you go?
What made you choose this path? Is it a family legacy or are you a pioneer? Did you go to school for it or are you learning as you go?
Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, so every night at the dinner table we would talk about business – the ups, downs, and all arounds. My dad suggested that I go to the Boston University School of Communication. That’s where I learned the basics of traditional PR, advertising, and positioning. After graduation, I had several media jobs, a career in cable television advertising, promotions and events – and a few entrepreneurial ventures. The internet changed everything as far as outreach and education came in many ways, from mentors, online, classroom, colleagues and everything in between. We are all experts in training. If you don’t grow, you die!
They say that to be successful you have to be passionate, so share what drives you every day. Why do you love what you do?
I think it’s important to have your life and business centered around your core values. That way, you’ll never go wrong if you’re in alignment. You also have to ask yourself if everything you’re doing is really leading you to your goals! For me, my core values are: love (of course), integrity, freedom, flexibility, choice, and opportunity. If I can help just one person, expert or not, with their work and help them to do what they really want and make a life not a just a living – then I’m doing my job. I’m lucky to be able to see the big picture of someone’s gifts and talents. They just need the courage and a plan to go for it! You can see faith – or you can see fear.
Has it been smooth sailing or have you overcome adversity to get where you are?
Has it been smooth sailing or have you overcome adversity to get where you are?
For centuries, entrepreneurs across the globe have had their share of smooth sailing and adversity. Mistakes are always learning experiences and we can make them painful by going over them again and again or moving on. Look at what worked and what didn’t, and go from there. If we waste valuable mental real estate on mistakes, we’ll never move forward. Plus, what you focus on grows. I had the adversity of getting divorced, my biggest client changing their business model, fear of not charging enough – you name it – everyone has adversity. But the trick is how you look at it and what steps you take. You need inspiration and action to get the results you want. Helping others was a significant game-changer for me , and speaking to large groups who resonated with my story. Heck, one month I even lived out of a suitcase in my car between places to live. It all worked out and I’m happy, doing work I love, and speaking to motivate, teach and let others know that they can do this! You just need a plan and ways to promote your brand. And you don’t have to break the bank to do it!
We all know that crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the job?
The wildest thing that happened on the job was giving my first big presentation on stage and having the wrong presentation pop up on stage. I didn’t realize it at first, but when I did I was horrified. I laughed, told the audience I sent a draft (note, never ever do that!) and carried on, thinking I was a flop. That hour on stage was transformational for me. I was my true self, people got to like me, then know me. When I delivered my special offer, people were running back to my table and I had one of the biggest sales days ever. You have to go with the flow and not be so serious with yourself. Basically, we’re all human!
What do you do with your time off? Are you familiar with that concept?
Time off is very important to me. In the summer months, I love to go to my house on Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. I live on an island there and work from there too – with the most beautiful view in the world! I also go to Rincon, Puerto Rico (where I am now) in the winter. I’m also a big fan of finding travel deals and making time for spur-of-the-moment plans. I love Travelzoo.com. Quick trips boost the energy. I also tell my clients to book time on your calendar first for vacations – then fill in your work. Vacations are something to look forward to!
This is the age of the social network. How important is social media to your business and how do you make it work?
Social media and platform development are important – especially if you’re trying to build a brand. You can use the same messaging, but audiences from different platforms might view it in a different way. I believe in a solid social media strategy, but I’m not online 24/7. I use LinkedIn, Twitter, and some Facebook. I use automation tools as well to help with scheduling, but being online and in the moment is important too. Social media is about being social – and engaging. If you’re trying to do it all and be everywhere, it typically won’t work unless you have a team helping you. Better to select a few platforms and use them consistently to build your visibility, credibility, and leadership position.
How are you involved in your community?
The work in my community is geared mostly around helping women entrepreneurs gain visibility and giving them a shot in the arm of PR and courage. I love that. I’ll help out when I can at local community events for friends, but I give back in my own way, which seems to be quite meaningful to my recipients. I’m also a Reiki Master and give back that way too.
What does supporting local mean to you?
Supporting local means to me to help out at the local level. To shop local and to support local business owners, artists, and vendors. To buy from local farms – their vegetables and products. It means we don’t have to always buy from big box stores – though we do need their products too. Small business owners rock the world. We need to support them and each other.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
The future for me and my business is full of possibility. I see where teaching and traveling will come together to benefit my business and brand. I see a future helping others worldwide and teaching them to share their gifts in a meaningful way, giving them the courage to move forward so they can build a base of raving fans and sell more products and services. My role as a mentor is to give experts and entrepreneurs the tools for DIY PR and promotion, and let them know that they can do it. Content and material are available to help build your brand and the internet has a wealth of information. Of course, spot coaching always helps – I know I invested a ton in order to learn what I know. (And, I’m always learning!)
Do you have any advice for aspiring business owners just starting out?
My advice for aspiring business owners is to be clear on what you want out of life and your business. Take chances! As a small business owner, you can change direction on a dime if something’s working or not. I’d also say stop comparing yourself to others, don’t keep second guessing yourself, listen to your gut, and don’t lose the passion for why you started in business. If you need help, you need help – get it. Expand. Explore. Excite yourself and others. Be you, no one else – but remember, you have to give up something to get something. What are you willing to give up? How far will you go to get what you want?
Here’s another piece of advice. Visit RobinSamora.com and sign up to become a Robin’s Rainmaker – you’ll get tons of free PR marketing advice delivered right to your inbox for free!