When you once were called the “Social Media Swami,” what might a logical next career step be?
For Shashi Bellamkonda, that next career step is to become a Chief Marketing Officer.
Bellamkonda joins Surefire Social starting April 1. He will be the new CMO of the technology and services provider based in Herndon, Virginia.
Bellamkonda is joining the management team as the company prepares to launch a new online software service called SurePulse later this summer. Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, cited Bellamkonda’s “deep experience and vision in the local marketing space” as a key reason for the hire.
In an official release from the company announcing Bellamkonda joining Surefire Social, Marentis says:
“I am delighted to welcome Shashi Bellamkonda to the Surefire Social management team. His deep experience and vision in the local marketing space gives us the marketing leadership we need as we prepare to launch SurePulse, our new SaaS service. We have an excellent team in place to manage Surefire Social’s explosive growth while still providing innovative results driven marketing solutions.”
Bellamkonda has more than a decade’s experience serving small businesses in the technology realm.
He made social media history by taking on the unofficial title as the world’s first “social media swami” while at Network Solutions. He was among those on the forefront who foresaw social media becoming a critical channel for customer satisfaction and marketing.
Today, we take it for granted that social channels like Twitter must be monitored and listened to for customer service. But it wasn’t always that way.
Said Bellamkonda, in an email interview with Small Business Trends: “So much has changed in the last five years. When writing about website trends for Small Business Trends, we stressed the importance of mobile for small business marketing. Today, that is even more important and small business should pay attention to these points to win in business.”
Businesses today are more “localcentric,” Ballamkonda says. This involves businesses being more integrated with GPS so that customers can use applications and Google searches to find local businesses, then visit the businesses with the GPS on their phone.
This integration leads to action with customers. Their using mobile devices means it’s more likely they’ll make quick decisions and convert due to the on-the-go nature of mobile devices, Bellamkonda adds.
Business websites have become more visual and instant as mobile has changed the way we lay out websites and the way we interact with content. Everything is simpler.
People are more likely to choose search results at the top of directories simply because fewer results are shown on their phone screens.
Also important, Ballamkonda says, is the wisdom of strangers.
“Five years ago, social media was still in its infancy for customer interaction,” he says. “Today, customers find and visit the business on mobile and then post to social media to discuss their experiences. Or, if they didn’t get the kind of service they felt they deserved, demand it. All on a mobile device.”
Mobile social media has also led to a streaming world, Ballamkonda says.
He explains, “Photos, videos, and live streams are giving customers the tools they never had before. This is also an opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and services.”
Bellamkonda says he’s excited to be returning to the world of small business. His most recent role was Vice President of Digital Marketing for a real estate firm.
Surefire Social currently serves independently-owned small businesses and franchisees. The company’s platform helps small businesses with their local marketing needs, including Web, mobile and social. Surefire Social was named to the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies in the United States in 2014.
Bellamkonda was twice named a Small Business Influencer Champion, in 2011 and 2012.
Bellamkonda credits serendipity with how the new role came about. He was contacted through LinkedIn to recommend “someone like Shashi Bellamkonda.” Instead, Bellamkonda said he recommended himself.
Image: Surefire Social