Interview With Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions

Posted on December 28, 2010, by , under Featured Interview.

As the Director of Social Media for Network Solutions, Shashi Bellamkonda explains why having a personal online presence is important as well as the do’s and don’ts when creating an online brand. Bellamkonda also recommends the book “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi to anyone who would like to begin the process of business and personal networking.

What is your day job?

I work for Network Solutions as the Social Media Swami (traditional translation is Director – Social Media). I have been with Network Solutions for over 9 years and had the opportunity to move within the company from Customer Service to Program Management and Product Marketing. In this fast changing world where technology plays an important place in our lives, it is important for people to stay abreast of changes and trends.
My favorite part of working at Network Solutions has been connecting with small businesses and watching them grow online. Through our blogs and social media outlets, we have a unique opportunity to engage with our customers one-on-one.

How would you describe your online and offline brand?

There is definitely a connection between the offline and online brand, and both are important. You reach a stage where both the brands converge and cannot be distinguished. I have heard at conference speakers say “You don’t exist if you are not found on the internet”. When prospective employers look to hire you, they will probably search for you online. With the media increasingly being online and the importance of search it is important to curate your online brand.
I share a lot of content online and follow the goal of being “useful and entertaining.” When I’m  offline, I participate in of community events, often speaking about my experiences with Small Business, Social Media and personal branding.
I get invited to speak based on presentations I have shared online. In fact, this interview is a fantastic opportunity.

Remember that anything posted online lives forever and be sure to practice that from an early age. If you do not want your mom to see something, then there is no place for it to be online.

What are some of the best practices for individuals to enhance their on-line brand?

Remember that anything posted online lives forever and be sure to practice that from an early age. If you do not want your mom to see something, then there is no place for it to be online. Here are some tips that may help:
a) When you search for yourself on search engines are there profiles appearing in the search results that you control like Linkedin,   be sure to update those profiles.
b) Setup Google alerts for your name and your business name
c) Show your thought leadership by publishing and sharing online through blogs, social networking sites. In order to start you will need to identify peers and masters in your own field and follow their blogs, commenting often.

How has connecting with the right people helped your career?

Personal networking is important and remember you have to bring to the discussion things that are helpful to the other person. I am inspired by the book by Keith Ferrazi Never Eat Alone.
When I first came here I always took lunch from home, and then I realized that in a fast paced world, lunch is a great networking tool. It’s also an excellent avenue for exchanging ideas and thoughts with colleagues and bosses.
I got my “big break” because I was always reaching out and helping people. During one such instance, I started talking about my career,   which led to my moving to another job within the company. Usually when I see a problem, I try to send a message about my ideas for a solution to the person.

What is something most people get wrong about social media?

There are more people now online, more social network adoption and more sharing, but the difference now is that they are not there to hear your message. This is not a marketing medium first, but a conversation medium first. People are not joining Facebook to hear from companies, yet they will hear any message of value that  crosses their path on the internet.
A program that rushes in to broadcast one way messages will fail, yet a well executed plan to entertain people and gain trust will attract your audience.

What is the future of social media over the next few years?

The term social media actually may not exist, as every media and communication channel will evolve into a social channel as part of the culture. Sharing and media creation tools will continue to advance, mobile sharing, location-based sharing and collaborative tools will see a huge adoption.

What is your favorite social media web site?

I use Twitter more but Facebook is fast becoming a favorite. I have developed a good task flow for sharing using any device, so I hope my conversations are helping people.

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