Twitter, Trains & Tandoori Chicken
I met Shashi Bellamkonda a few years ago at the Optimization Summits where we were both speaking (along with Mack Collier, Jason Falls, John Jantsch, Jay Ehret, Mark Juleen and other members of the social media intelligentsia). I was immediately struck by the sheer number of people that Shashi knew – and how he intentionally went out of his way to get to know new people. To thousands of people across this country and in many parts of the world – Shashi and Network Solutions are one and the same thing. It is the most meaningful example of humanization (and an embodiment of brand values) that I’ve seen in a very long time.
Hard wired into his people friendly approach are humility, foresight, and a tremendous sense of warmth. “I’m just a friendly guy who loves people”, said Shashi. See what I mean by the humility. Meanwhile this guy tweets constantly, juggles multiple platforms – all while asking questions like “what’s the goal guys and how are we measuring it”.
This month Network Solutions has been bring a video series to it’s customer – 12 Ways to Makeover Your Small Business in 2012, it’s just one of the ways the company is committed to its audience of small businesses. And Shashi Bellamkonda is pretty confident that it’s this people friendly approach that differentiates his company. While the competition uses gimmicks, Network Solutions has persistently supported its audience with meaningful content and conversation in ways that educate and support their entrepreneur and small business lifestyle. And now Shashi is overseeing social media for the Web.com family that includes Network Solutions and Register.com.
I’m thrilled to bring you this interview and don’t forget to watch for the nugget at the end of the interview – a $1.99 domain offer with the right link. Note: Network Solutions is a Firebelly client.
Where did the moniker “social media swami” come from?
The title was crowd sourced through a grass roots campaign among Network Solutions employees when we first started Social Media at Network Solutions. This title was a winner from among 34 other titles. You can see them all at this post.
You’re one of the most prolific social media practioners. How do you fuel this passion?
To be a “prolific Social Media Practitioner” you have to love people. It may be coming from my past experience in the hospitality industry – did you know my previous career incarnation as a chef?. If you set aside the technology and the tools for a moment – you realize many of these tools connect one human being to another. A few decades ago, back in India when my family got our first television, I heard the news from a neighbor as soon as I got off the bus returning from school. My point is news used to travel at “the speed of sound” even without the internet and now social media tools have made it possible to communicate quicker and to a larger audience.. You need to be a good listener, value the art of sharing content that excites people and helps them learn. Be a giver and you will automatically receive. Maybe you believe the accuracy of the message in the fortune cookie I got today “You have a friendly heart and are well admired”.
When people think of Network Solutions – they think of you. How has humanization helped the business?
Jim Collins in his books like “ Good to Great” espouses the notion that companies have to have a higher purpose in life than just make money. A new dimension to this is that companies have to humanize themselves and be more approachable.Just the fact that there is a Network Solutions team answering customer questions in the Social Media [space] has given us a lot of credibility, happy customers and several awards.
You’ve caused a stir in the market place with the clever, in-your-face GoGranny campaign. How will that campaign evolve?
Indeed a stir and if your audience has not seen the campaign they can still view it at http://networksolutions.com/video. It stemmed of a conversation from a office holiday party and then I am amazed at how quickly the team which included several areas of Network Solutions and agencies (CRT-Tanaka and Firebelly) and the community.A large amount of success also is due to Cloris Leachman and her extraordinary talent.
Now that you’re handling social media marketing for the largest online marketing solutions company focused on small and medium sized businesses, what’s your take on social business?
We are actively using social media and at the same time we are also helping our small business customers use social media. Web.com helps customers build their Facebook Pages http://www.web.com/facebookform2/. We have excellent resources on our three blogs:
We continually nurture our Facebook community with resources and content that helps them succeed and we are grateful for the help that Firebelly provides.
You always seem to have the insider scoop? Got any for me today? Any special deals for our readers?
There is no time like now to register a domain name with us. For our social media audience we have an offer to register a domain right now for $1.99/yr. Click here to redeem.
Complete these sentences:
My favorite social media platform is…Having coffee at the local Starbucks with friends
My favorite movie…Love Story
My beverage of choice…Lager Beer
When I’m not on Twitter, I’m…Playing with my younger son or reading
Something people don’t know about me is…I used to be a chef in my previous careeer
Tandoori Chicken or Channa Masala…Tandoori Chicken
Chaos or Discipline…Both
Google Plus or Facebook or Twitter…All of the above
Fame or Truth…Truth
How can people find you online?