Social Networks Draw Marketing Entrepreneurs

Article excerpt

Sarah Evans admits it was her inner nerd that first got her involved in social networking.

The Elgin resident says she has always been interested in technology and found ways to apply that interest to her career in communications and public relations.

But as she became an early adopter in social networking through blogging and on platforms such as Twitter Evans started to realize the potential this new frontier had on her career.

"When social media began to grow, I felt it was the perfect overlap for my interests," Evans said.

So, in 2009, Evans left her job as Director of Communications at Elgin Community College to start Sevans Strategy, a public relations and consulting firm that markets heavily on social media. Evans better known to those in the network as prsarahevans currently has about 60,000 followers on Twitter. Her Facebook pages (both personal and fan page) have more than 6,800 friends, and she's connected to more than 2,000 people on LinkedIn. In addition to her blog at prsarahevans.com, more than 2,000 people subscribe to her Commentz daily email newsletter.

She also hosts a weekly live Twitter chat for journalists and public relations professionals called #journchat, which boasts more than 8,000 followers (with a similar Facebook group of 1,200). Her expertise has landed her speaking engagements at events ranging from the Public Relation Society of America's national tech conference to the South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX. (which is best described as "Woodstock for technology experts").

Last year, she made the list of Forbes magazine's "14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter," Vanity Fair's "America's Tweethearts" and her company was listed in Entrepreneur's "Top 10 startups of 2010," according to her website.

She admits she was lucky enough to already have a client base in place when she made the jump to go on her own.

While working at ECC, she did freelance work for some clients, and did a lot of guest blogging on popular tech sites such as Mashable.com. Her freelance work grew to a point where it took as much time as her full-time job, at which point she decided to go out on her own.

"I had a very understanding boss," Evans said. "She worked with me to set up a three-month exit strategy so I could go out on my own and help her find a replacement."

While she seems immersed in social media, Evans is quick to stress that it should only be a part of a comprehensive communications or marketing strategy for any business.

"A lot of times a company will ask us 'how do we develop a social media strategy?'" Evans said. …