Julie Gibbons

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About Julie Gibbons of People Maps

Who are you, and who do you work for? Share a bit of your background.


Julie Gibbons, VP Marketing for People Maps
I graduated in Communication Studies they year before they introduced computers into the course. My final year dissertation was painstakingly typed out manually on an electronic typewriter. By accident, I've specialized in marketing for high-tech companies since then. One of my first jobs was in marketing for an Apple reseller (back when 40MB RAM/ 80MB hard drive for £2k was the norm) and I visited Apple in London for some training and loved all the 'cool' folks in their jeans, plugged into their Walkmans ;o)

Since then I've only ever worked with geeks/ for geeks and haven't looked back. I know there was a time at work before the Internet, but I can't remember it. Although I do remember hearing the words "world wide web" for the first time and not having a clue what was being talked about.

PeopleMaps provides personality profiling applications for business and individuals. Unlike most other profilers everything is easy, instant and most importantly - online. We don't do consultancy, and no training is required to interpret the reports.

How did you get to where you are and with the company your with?

I was a marketing consultant for many years and thought I knew everything about everything. I conducted a market research project on behalf of PeopleMaps as an independent contractor, and we kept in touch with me coming online full time about 2 years ago. In fact I just married the CEO last week :o)

What is your favorite part about what you do?

Because the company is built on the internet for the internet, I can work from anywhere - in fact, I just came back from travelling in France for 3 months - with hardly a break in the work. About the work - I love learning more about the power of profiling: it helps me understand, forgive and progress.

Where or from whom do you pull inspiration?

I guess its our (my family's) every day life which is the biggest inspiration of all. PeopleMaps provides personality profiling applications, and we personally apply our profiling knowledge to help in each and every aspect of our everyday family. That feeds into the topics we cover and the advice we offer up in our reports. The tools and methods we use to build and run PeopleMaps are also a reflection of our chosen lifestyle. We have chosen to be geographically independent and travel a lot and therefore the whole business needs to be developed and marketed from anywhere there is an Internet connection.

Who is someone in your profession that you've always looked up to or followed their progress? Why?

Do all marketers reply with Seth Godin? I guess it'd have to be Seth. I love innovation. It's part of me and my personality, and he knows what it's about. The key thing about him is he's a great verbaliser and I learned a long time ago that the easiest way for me to get across my point of view was to identify someone with the same point and use that instead. I've used Seth quite often: he uses way less words than me.

What is new and exciting that your working on (can talk about) and want to plug?

Ooh, well we have just developed a product for jobseekers which is a home study course aimed at finding your Dream Job using social media tools. It's the only course we know of that has at its base personality-centric content. Basically, we believe that you'll never be happy in your job if it - or the company - are not in line with your core personality. This course fist helps you identify your job, then tells you how to go get it using 21st century techniques.

There is a NEW fad tool coming out every day, but reality is it's just building conversations with your customers. It's not a big new secret, remember 5 years ago email was scary. How do you see these tools transforming and helping you and your industry in the future?

The fabulous thing for us is that there is a tool suitable for every personality type - whether you're introverted or extroverted you can now reach the world outside in ways you could never dream of 5 years ago. We can help people identify the tools which will be of most use to them, and help them understand how better to approach the ones which are less of a natural fit. PeopleMaps is based on the psychology of Carl Jung and he believed that all individuals should understand and explore the side of their personality which was less well-developed. The release of so many new tools allows everyone to explore their less well-developed attributes in addition to making more of the ones that fit better.

How can social media boost your marketing and pr?

Social media tools allow me to quickly reach people whom I wouldn't ordinarily be able to and for me to cultivate instantaneous responses to my (sometimes irrelevant) output.

What mistakes should people avoid in social media?

The biggest mistake is to use tools and platforms you're not comfortable with, and those that don't match your or your company's personality. If you're using social media you need to be honest and open and upfront.

What are some issues to consider when someone embarks on a social media marketing initiative?

The primary counsel I would give is that if your audience isn't already using social media, you're unlikely to have much success persuading them there.

Secondarily, even when you are clear and have set your objectives at the outset, these might change as you discover more about your network. These platforms and tools are changing so fast that you need to keep your campaigns fast and flexible to keep up, and keep relevant.

Define 'Social Media' in 500 words or less.

Social media is a collective term for a variety of Internet tools and platforms which operate over a number of devices and which connect groups of individuals by means of interaction through text, audio and visual media.

The mode of operation depends on pull and push technologies which enable automatic alerts to indicate to interested parties when a particular event or activity has taken place. This facilitates interactive relationships which are inter-dependent.

We know each other from twitter, so obviously you use social media, but does your company also use social media?

PeopleMaps uses social media primarily to identify and communicate with partners and conduct market and product development research. We also use it to raise the company's profile and that of our key staff. Our newest product contains a whole module dedicated to social media and we even deliver some of our products via social media tools. For example, we released a Facebook application last year Click here to view the Facebook App.

How are you/they using it to connect to your customers and leverage social networks to expand your brand's recognition and build a positive reputation?

PeopleMaps started out with an affiliate network and as such doesn't have strong brand recognition in a field of very well-known brands such as Myers-Briggs. We're using social media to help build an online presence and establish a reputation for taking professional profiling into the future - easy, instant and online.

We only hear about how the emerging companies are using social media marketing. Can you give me some examples of your work with the clients. Also, what is that you have been able to achieve for them that you could NOT have achieved without social media marketing?

In particular, we've been keen to build social media into the delivery of our products, and so we were the very first professional profilers to deliver personality profiles by video, for instance. This means our customers get to hear our voice and see our faces, and understand that their profile isn't produced automatically by a computer, but by humans.

How open were your clients (or boss) to this new approach? If they resisted, how did you overcome the resistance?

PeopleMaps is an internet business from the ground up. The workforce is remote and therefore the company is administered in the main with Internet tools, from admin to finance to marketing to development. Our technology is innovative as is our delivery and promotion - so everyone is open to this approach.

Do you track your name and your companies name? What are some of your favorite reputation management tools and why? If you do not track social media, why? (this includes search twitter-formerly Summize, radian6, etc.)

I don't track my own name, but we do monitor PeopleMaps with Twitter Search (formerly Summize), in addition to other web alerts including Google News and Blog alerts, yes.

What do you consider "must-have" sites/profiles to establish and why? (this includes micro-blogs, e-vite, schedule organizers, apis, build your own network) What companies do you think are doing a great job with social media, or horrible? Tell us one story or a very successful client or your own story that you feel makes online networking worth while. (case study)

I can't tell you who is doing well or badly with social media - I'm too busy with PeopleMaps to keep on top of the outside world, however I do know it's really very early for established traditional companies to move successfully onto a social media platform - it's all moving too fast for them to get to grips with! I reckon anyone offering tech support on the likes of Twitter is going to do very well … and I guess anyone servicing early-adopter, hip and groovy internet players might be doing well.

We've established some really worthwhile partnerships online. The timing isn't good for me to tell you all the details, but we've a BIG event happening soon - and that happened through networking on Facebook.

How much time do you think people should spend on social media?

That totally varies for everyone. I could spend all day and evening and night on social media - it really is that much fun and very very useful. However, I try and schedule it for about an hour each day. In reality I know I spend more.

In one of the coaching modules I deliver, I recommend being very strict with the amount of time and types of activities the students should undertake.

The key thing with a global audience is to mix up the times you play so you engage with a more varied network.

How can I write viral content around boring products? For example, if I was a sink company, how would I drive massive traffic and build authority around it?

Here's the thing - nothing is boring if you have a genuine interest or passion for it. To build any following around something you need to be passionate, bold and brave - whether on social media or not. But the key thing is make sure you are speaking to your audience. There's no point launching a campaign on a social media platform to an audience who has no access or interest to social media, its tools or any understanding of its language or etiquette.

How has social media impacted you and your company?

In many ways. It has helped shape new strategies and products. In all of the above mentioned ways and examples.

What is your favorite networking event that you would recommend to others (either in your field, the field of marketing, or learning sessions for social media. Including sxsw, Podcamp, social media breakfast, MIMA, AdFed, AMA, Blog World, PRSA etc.)

Events can be hugely distracting, don't you think? The Edinburgh-Stanford Link initiative organized the most useful events in Scotland but the world is virtual after all, and we do most of our networking that way.

What game plan would you recommend to someone just starting with social media?

Before you get going: Start by understanding your own and your company's personality - the key here is to be genuine and consistent in all things, however you don't want to clash with your company's core values.

When you start: Be brave - I started out much more timidly than I am now. Have confidence in yourself. Everyone is equal on the Internet. Let your personality shine and help you stand out from the crowd.

In your swing: There is a hierarchy in social media. Don't focus your efforts on the movers and shakers to the exclusion of all others and don't forget to extend to others the kindness you were offered when you started out.

What do you consider social media ROI? How do you recommend tracking it?

Bottom line - are your sales figures improving?

What do you consider a good community manager?

Someone who remains unprejudiced.

What makes you and your company unique? What and why should people contact you for your services/products?

PeopleMaps is the only professional profiling company that understands the web and the possibilities that are before us all. Using our revolutionary technology we can develop personality profiling applications for almost any business. The best thing is it's easy, instant and totally online.

How can people contact you or your company? (don't answer this if you don't want it included in the article)



Where do you think social media marketing is headed?

Crikey, that's hard. Well, it is here to stay, that's a given. But it's moving so fast, it's hard to say when the majority will catch up. Video is certainly a big thing that the majority will hook into soon. I might be a bit crazy but when I was approached in a supermarket by a sales rep trying to sign me up for a service I was already signed up for I explained to her that her interruption was not welcome, she didn't have my permission and she should go back to her office and explain to them that they need to find another way to try and engage me - and that they'd better gain my explicit permission first … she was completely and utterly bemused. On reflection, I was probably hungry and tired and a bit grumpy. It may be a long time before social media marketing is mainstream, but I'm totally looking forward to what's coming next. It's exciting and stimulating and offers so much possibility…..



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