In this month’s edition of the Vertical Measures employee interview series, I speak with Kristi Hines about her personal blog on blogging, the key to developing a healthy Twitter following and the best surprise her husband has ever planned for her.
Michael Schwartz: First question, let’s start it out easy, what do you do here at Vertical Measures?
Kristi Hines: I do a variety of things, from link building to content marketing. I am also working on a new community marketing strategy, which will take things like blog commenting, forum posting, and so on to the next level and make it less about links and more about building stronger brand presence and authority.
Michael: You recently won our trophy for finding the top link in the month of October. Without getting into too many specifics, how did you go about obtaining this link?
Kristi: But I love specifics! In the end, this particular link was found through great search queries and a bit of old-fashioned luck. I’d like to say it was due to some intense competitor research like I usually enjoy doing, but sometimes the best links are the ones that are hiding in plain sight.
Michael: Aside from being a Vertical Measures employee, you also run Kikolani.com. Briefly describe Kikolani for us.
Kristi: Kikolani is a blog for bloggers, covering blogging tips, blog marketing, and social networking strategies.
Michael: What’s your proudest accomplishment pertaining to your blog?
Kristi: There are a lot of things that I am proud of when it comes to my blog. It’s really a tossup between having such a great community to being recognized by Social Media Examiner as one of the top social media blogs of 2010 alongside experts like Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Amber Naslund, and Brian Clark.
Michael: You have also built up quite the voluminous following on Twitter. What’s the key to developing such a following?
Kristi: There are so many things I have done in order to build my Twitter following. I make sure to add my Twitter link everywhere I can, including on other social media profiles and guest blog author bios. I have it on my business card. I automatically follow everyone who follows me. The only people I un-follow are blatant spammers. I feel this shows that it’s not a one-way connection – people know they can interact with me anytime, both through public replies and private direct messaging, which I feel encourages even more engagement.
Kristi: I have been playing tennis for about two years. I enjoy the fact that it’s not only physical, but also mentally challenging as well. Your opponent isn’t the only thing that can beat you on the court – sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, and I have lost my share of matches just from not focusing or getting frustrated by something trivial. But my game is improving, especially considering I’m playing singles and mixed doubles at a 3.5 NTRP level with only two formal lessons under my belt.
Michael: What’s the toughest part about being a vegetarian?
Kristi: Being vegetarian isn’t that difficult for me. I went from being a fast food junkie to being vegan “cold turkey” (pardon the pun), and after over a year as a vegan, went to being just a vegetarian. Vegan is much more restrictive, especially if you like to eat out a lot. Once you’ve tried that, vegetarian living is a walk in the park.
Kristi: My first competition is coming up in December actually, which is pretty exciting. We have mostly focused on International Standard dances including Waltz, Tango, and Quickstep so far. We also do some Salsa and work on Latin dances since those come in handy at the dance parties and social events at his dance studio in Scottsdale.
Michael: You are always telling us about fantastic surprises your husband is planning for you. What was your favorite?
Kristi: Our engagement is always going to be my favorite. We had only known each other about 21 days, and I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect birthday surprise than him planning out an amazing day which ended with him taking me to the spot of our first date and proposing!
Michael: Finally, why do you like working at Vertical Measures?
Kristi: It’s great to work with people who are not only experts in the industry, but also energetic, enthusiastic, and helpful. Also, Vertical Measures really practices what they preach – we not only help clients with social media and other Internet marketing strategies, but we implement the same strategies for ourselves.