Abbi Holtom Whitaker is from a town in south Warwickshire, England and she is the oldest of 8 kids. When she was 13, she moved to Fallon, NV. Abbi attended University of Nevada, Reno where she pursued her degree in Journalism, and met her husband Ty Whitaker. What does she think of Reno?
“I love Reno, it is such a rad town! It is so cheap to live here, the weather is beautiful and there is so much to do, especially outdoors. This town does get a bit of negative attention from outsiders, but I personally don’t know why you would ever want to leave here.”
Being somewhat new to Reno once again- I have heard this woman’s name float around quite a bit since I have been researching social media marketing, and I knew I had to meet her. After getting the opportunity to have lunch with her for only 2 hours, I felt cheated! Abbi Whitaker is a Public Relations maven, and myself being a student of social media marketing- could hardly keep up with the information I was being dealt.
4 years ago, Abbi was in San Francisco working for Lyman Public Relations. When they offered her the opportunity to become a partner, Abbi turned down the offer to open her own business. In 2008*, Abbi and her husband Ty created The Abbi Agency in Reno.
The Abbi Agency specializes in public relations, social media and marketing. Abbi Agency works with nationally recognized brand names, but to name a few local businesses: ShortStack, Legacy Sports, Legends Outlet , Oxygenics, Burger Me, and Campo. Abbi is one of the few PR specialists who has a personal social media presence. When it comes to social media, Abbi preaches transparency for businesses.
“If you want to know about my kids, my marriage, my cancer, and my life then go to my personal Facebook page. If you want to know about my business, trends, social media, public relations, what we are doing on a daily basis then go check out my business Facebook page. I practice what I preach.”
Abbi emphasizes the importance of being able to answer every question her clients and team asks her, which is why it is so important for her to lead by example. She utilizes social media to tell her story. Businesses must tell the story of what’s going on, and not try to sell.
Here are some tips from Abbi on social media:
- Know the rules on social media, and know when things change. Abbi likes to follow PR Daily, Mashable, CMO IBM, Smartbrief, Social Media Today, Emarketer, Chris Brogan and Jason Falls to name a few.
- Watch what big brands like Red Bull and Victoria’s Secret are doing. What is working for them?
- Don’t worry about your fan #, focus on engaging with who is following you now. It’s about the quality of interaction, not large numbers.
- Blog, build credibility.
- Be transparent.
Abbi will meet with anyone who asks her for a meeting in an attempt to share what she has learned in her journey. She is an open book with a wealth of knowledge.
“I’m me. I take it all in and then I roll with it. I will never try to be someone else to get a client, because I know I am not a perfect fit for everyone. You will never see me wearing a business suit- that’s just not who I am.”
On top of being a PR maven, business owner, wife, and mother of 2 (Ever, 5 and Eden, 2) Abbi is also winning her battle against cancer. Abbi learned of her illness in 2011, and just weeks ago received the free and clear results of her PET scan. How did I first find out this news? Facebook. Abbi attributes the continued success of The Abbi Agency to her amazing team and the support from her husband and business partner Ty Whitaker.
The Abbi Agency is planning to open another location in San Francisco as they continue to grow! I look forward to following this group as they lead by example in the world of social media marketing.