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Positively powerful

March 1st, 2014 / By: / Awnings & Shades, Feature, Industry News, Management, Perspective

Kisha Moldovan builds relationships with sincerity and enthusiasm to boost business and advance the industry.

“I don’t think about other awning companies as competition or in any way as a negative, because the more people who are spreading the word about awnings, the more we all have an opportunity to be successful,” says Kisha Moldovan, sales manager and marketing director for Capital City Awning, Columbus, Ohio. “Why do people want awnings? Because everyone is talking about them.”

Moldovan was working in theater advertising in 2001 when she was recruited to work at Capital City Awning as administrative assistant to its owners. She gradually took on more responsibilities and now, in addition to being sales manager and marketing director, she manages payroll, HR and IT. “I treat this company as if it was my own,” Moldovan says. “I wear many hats and do whatever it takes to help the company and industry excel.”

Navigating the social media maze

Because staying connected to people—clients, suppliers, co-workers and other industry members—is central to Moldovan’s business philosophy, she makes the most of social media outlets in addition to face-to-face opportunities. But she makes sure the time she spends in online endeavors is worth it. “I don’t have a lot of time to spend on social media sites—I spend maybe 15 minutes a day,” Moldovan says. “Once you know what works for your purposes, you can streamline the process.” She utilizes several sites, including Facebook, Houzz (“the new way to design your home”), LinkedIn, Twitter, and of course the company’s own website. Moldovan is strategic in the way in which she uses each of the sites, targeting the content of her uploads to have the desired effect, and overlapping content in places where that makes sense.

One of the tactics she uses is to post often so there’s always something new for people to see on Facebook and Twitter. She posts on a daily basis, either uploading project images, sending updates and greetings from the Capital City Awning staff, or asking followers their opinions on industry-related issues. For weekend days and holidays, Moldovan schedules the posts ahead of time, setting them to upload when she’s off the clock. She has linked the company’s Twitter account to its Facebook page so whenever she posts something on Facebook, it automatically posts on Twitter as well. “There are some people who only follow us on Twitter and others who are only on Facebook,” she says. “By linking the two, we reach more people and I only have to post once.”

Moldovan also increases the company’s virtual visibility by following customers’ Facebook accounts. She often posts a picture of an awning project Capital City Awning fabricated for them, and thanks them for their business. “In order to do that I have to follow them, so I’m constantly checking the walls of our customers and liking something on their page to stay connected and drive people back to our page,” she says.

To target potential residential customers, Moldovan posts on Houzz, the website and online community that functions similarly to Pinterest, but is focused on architecture, interior and landscape design and home improvement. “The added benefit to being active on multiple sites is that it puts your company higher up on Google,” she says. “So more people are seeing the comments and referrals, which results in more business.”

While some debate the efficacy of maintaining a LinkedIn profile, it is arguably still the most recognizable professional online profile venue available. And Moldovan uses it as one more way to connect to people in the awning industry. “In the last six months, I’ve had at least five or six people in our industry ask me for advice via LinkedIn,” Moldovan says. “I also use it when I’m going after national accounts. Recently I used the site to find the CEO of one of the accounts I’m trying to get so I could send him a nice note. I didn’t have any other way of getting his contact information so I could reach out to him. It’s another good way for me to get business.”

Sharing the load

Setting specific professional goals for herself is something Moldovan does regularly. This year her goals included revamping the company website and increasing the number of its e-newsletters. “We get the email address of every client we work with and send them a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter—with different specials or conferences that are coming up. I want to improve the consistency of when and how often it goes out,” she says. “As for the website, I want to change it so it will allow me to make changes and updates as I need to.”

In order to make time to meet her new responsibilities and goals, Moldovan has had to delegate some of her tasks. To that end, owner Tim Kellogg suggested she hire an assistant. “It’s hard for me to let go of things I want done a certain way,” Moldovan says. “But the process has helped me grow professionally—to become a trainer. The person we hired for the position, Danielle Curtis, is motivated and has a similar work ethic and approach to mine.”

Caring communication

Underneath all of Moldovan’s goals and efforts is the foundation of working to create a positive experience for people. She practices an “open door” policy that includes personally explaining to employees any changes that might be cause for concern, such as rising health care costs. “People have been very upset about the increases, and I understand that,” she says. “But we’ve got a really great plan. We have 45 employees and there are several for whom English is not their first language, so breaking it all down in person is really helpful. I could just post something over the time clock and be done with it, but that wouldn’t be enough. It’s all about effective communication and caring.

“I strive for happiness in my work,” she says. “If I can help create an enjoyable work environment for myself and my team—that in turn makes for a more positive experience for our customers.”

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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