5 on the 5th Interview: Jennifer Hanford
This month I want to introduce you to someone you may already know, one of our writers, Jenn Hanford. Jenn and I have known each other for a few years, having first met through the disbanded Social Solutions Collective. She has written on this site for over 2 years now and is just a fabulous person. She shoulders being an entrepreneur, mom, writer and community manager. So read on and get to know Jenn!
Name: Jennifer Hanford
Title: Senior Community Manager, B Squared Media, LLC; Freelance Writer
Company: B Squared Media and j+ Media Solutions
Twitter handle: @jennghanford
Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I’ll confess…I have been an Internet junkie for over 20 years now! I remember spending hours upon hours meeting and “talking” to people from all over the world, back when AOL chat rooms were really popular in the mid-90’s.
I didn’t get hooked on social media right away though. I joined Facebook in 2010 and Twitter in 2011 – only because I wanted to make sure I got on there before my kids did! Once I finally got started, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long! I felt like I had been living under a rock, and it was great to finally be part of the 21st century.
Career-wise, I was in the right place at the right time. My enthusiasm for using social media and online networking – coupled with an interest in blogging and writing – helped me get my first role as the online marketing director for the company I was working for at the time. It was within this role that I began learning about using social media for business purposes. It’s also where I began my business blogging journey. I saw how firsthand how social media and content marketing can help businesses grow, and I knew I had found my calling.
Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?
I feel my education in social media and blogging has always been – and continues to be – an “on-the-job-training” experience. I read and curate many social media, digital marketing, and other relevant blog posts and articles every day. This helps keep me informed for my own writing, as well as keeping my online audience up-to-date.
Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?
What I love the most about working in this industry is the ever-changing landscape of social media. I think that might be one of the things that bothers some people, but I personally enjoyed seeing how platforms evolve and become easier for people and businesses to use.
What bothers me most? Can I be honest and say SEO? As much as I like the changes in social media, the constant Google updates (Penguins & Pandas?!) and concerns about first-page rankings are tough to keep up with sometimes. I cope by writing as well as I can – and relying heavily on the SEO by Yoast plugin for WordPress.
Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?
In the short amount of time I’ve been in business for myself, I had to make tough personal decisions for the livelihood of my family, myself, and my business. With those choices, I ended up having to dissolve 2 separate business relationships, which was only made harder because I considered them friendships as well.
I learned a lot about how to toughen up as a business owner during the process of “breaking up.” As well, making each of those tough decisions has led me to my current career situation, which I truly love. I am happily doing the type of work that I enjoy the most, with three different teams and some awesome clients.
Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?
My best business advice I’ve ever been given – although it applies to all aspects of my life – is to always be myself, no matter what. That advice came from my father, who was also an entrepreneur.
It was when I finally started taking his advice that everything good started falling into place. Funny how that works.
One for the road…
Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?
I am truly unable to come up with only one person…I admire so many people from the past who possessed great talent and knowledge, and who have contributed so much to the world as we know it.
But..I have always had a fascination with the “Roaring Twenties” – like they portrayed in The Great Gatsby – with the carefree and decadent lifestyles some people enjoyed before the Great Depression.
I like to think I would have made an awesome flapper…I adore their hairstyles, their clothes, and especially their independent attitude.