VOL. 127 | NO. 122 | Friday, June 22, 2012
Memphis Standout Profile
Tech-Savvy Jostes Helps Grow Small Businesses
By Andy Meek
To Liz Jostes, a social media and small-business consultant, now is a great time to be a small-business owner.
Between search engine optimization, social media and other tech tools available today that weren’t around or weren’t as robust a few years ago, “the little guy” can compete on a wider playing field than ever before.
And helping those small-business owners and mom-and-pop operations is what’s especially gratifying to Jostes, co-founder and consultant with marketing consultancy Eli Rose Social Media.
“I just adore working with the small-business owners, because you have such a personal connection with them and you really want their business to be successful,” Jostes said. “Both my business partner Kristin (Zaslavsky) and I, we very much want to help the little guy. That’s a part of it that we find especially personally gratifying.”
Jostes, a Chicago native, began her career in marketing focused on consumer behavior and buying habits. She’s worked as a project manager and analyst for marketing firms, and she’s helped consumer product and service companies improve their offerings.
She’s also a ubiquitous presence in Memphis’ tech and social media communities.
Jostes is the chair of the marketing and PR committee for the fall 2012 TechCamp Memphis. She’s a founding member of GeekMemphis, a group created to help boost the awareness, adoption and advancement of technology in Memphis. And she’s heavily promoting and supporting the 2012 Twive and Receive initiative, a national day of nonprofit fundraising through social media.
She’s acted as a conference emcee and regularly attends social media and social technology conferences. Her work has been syndicated on BlogHer, a website for female bloggers, and she’s presented to the University of Memphis’ Fogelman College of Business and Economics’ Advanced Social Media Strategies course about the importance of going local with social media efforts.
And, of course, she’s an active presence on every major social network: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest.
Beth Sanders, a fellow social media and online strategist in Memphis, said Jostes is one of her “favorite transplanted Memphians.”
“Liz has an outgoing, friendly manner that quickly earned her the friendship and respect of the tech community,” Sanders said. “She’s knowledgeable on a wide variety of topics and can always be counted on for solid advice and wise counsel.
“She eagerly volunteered to chair a committee for Memphis’ first TechCamp and took leadership not only of the PR and marketing committee, but the entire event. Liz’s engaging and fun presence made the event lively and her two presentations provided practical, useful content.”
Jostes also has been promoting MemphisGives, a new initiative Sanders started this year that basically involves the local tech community coming together for a regular meet-up to raise money for different charities.
A MemphisGives meetup earlier this month at Boscos raised $450 for Dress for Success, an organization that provides women with clothing for job interviews as well as career training.
One of the biggest challenges Jostes often runs into with small-business owners who need help with their Internet presence is that they’re often run by individuals with only a few people working for them. So there’s not always someone who can be dedicated to the task of full-time engagement via social media.
“So they’re doing all the business tasks themselves, and they either, A, don’t know much about where they want to go with social media, or B, maybe they have a website or something that’s been set up but they’ve kind of let it be,” Jostes said. “We’ve seen people say, ‘I don’t even know how to log in and change things on my website’ – again, because someone else set it up for them.
“In my opinion, I think it’s worse to have a stagnant presence than no presence at all. What we do revolves around helping firms grow online. We do online Web consulting, online branding, and we also help build strategies from the ground up.”
One of the things Jostes said she likes best about living in Memphis is how easy it is to get involved in the community.
“I’m an outsider to Memphis and to the South, obviously,” she said. “And I’ve always felt this about Memphis, even separate from the tech community – it’s a place where I feel, in comparison to other cities, it’s a lot easier to get involved and to make a difference. To make change.
“In Chicago, where I’m from, everything is just so ‘chain’ and so corporate. And it’s next to impossible for the little guy to get started or involved. I feel like there’s a lot more opportunity here.”