On Abbie Alter’s business card, she calls herself the founder of PlanoMoms.com and the creator of opportunities. About four years ago, Alter, her husband and her two young children moved from London to Plano. And as this fish out of water worked to learn the lay of the land, she took to the internet to find a new community. Over the years, her media presence has grown into a full-fledged community of Plano Moms, where mothers connect on the who’s who of Plano and the places to be. After a long trip in London, she’s back in the USA to talk about building an online community, being a transplant and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- What did you do before you started blogging?
Before moving to Plano, TX 4 years ago, I lived and worked in London, U.K.
I am a digital marketer, beginning my career in online marketing back in the days of Netscape and AOL & dial-up Internet access! I have worked for multiple big brands in the UK and Europe – including ebookers.com and Tesco.com, the UK version of Walmart. I’ve consulted with travel brands on both sides of the Atlantic and have also been a project manager and affiliate marketer. I have done several speaking and in-person training engagements.
- Why did you want to start blogging?
When I moved from London to Plano, I knew nobody and nothing about my new city. I opened my eyes and noticed there were tons of other moms like me who needed resources, support, advice and connections with each other. I needed to know the best hair stylist, which school would work for my kids and where I could find the best Pho to eat. By bringing local moms together online, I combined my expertise and my personal experiences with a genuine need, and I saw the Plano Moms concept would be the perfect answer!
- What is it like building your own community online?
It’s hugely rewarding and takes real effort to ensure you are meeting the needs of moms online. Community is crucial to newcomers. To build community, you need to provide useful information and advice and opportunities for moms to make friends with each other. You need to also provide the right format and environment for moms to feel comfortable to share openly without being judged or criticized. I have the window into what local moms think about all types of things. This is invaluable information for local organizations and businesses. Fortunately, social media has facilitated an easy way of us doing this.
- How would you describe your Plano Mom community?
We are an online community of moms raising kids in Plano & surrounding areas. We make life easier and more meaningful by connecting local Moms to new and local businesses- clubs, classes, doctors, dentists, realtors… you name it, we can connect you.
- What was it liking being a transplant in Plano?
It can be isolating, especially at first when you move to Plano. Everything is new when you have to make life-changing decisions about employment, finding a home in the right area, finding preschools, childcare or the best school for your kid(s). I arrived with intention. I knew that this was going to be a great chance to start afresh, and decided to focus on making friends and connections as quickly as possible. I’m not a shy person, so it was easy for me to make friends – not everyone is like me and I get how difficult it can be when you move somewhere new.
- What is your favorite part of your social media community?
Nothing beats seeing the feedback I get from a mom who just moved here and tells me what an incredible resource I have provided them. They would never have known where to go on the weekends without our moms sharing their ideas.
- If you were given 24 hours to live, what would you do?
I would do a safari in South Africa, spend time with my best friends and close family, drink wine, eat my favorite foods and swim in a clear blue ocean and lie on the beach.
- If you were in an old-school talent show, what would your talent be and why?
My talent would be tap dancing. I used to be really good at that when I was a young girl.
- What’s the last song that made you happy? Why?
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” Justin Timberlake. I played it three times in a row when I launched the new website for PlanoMoms.com this past week.
- What was your favorite story as a child?
I loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe story about Narnia.
- Who do you admire the most and why?
Gary Vaynerchuk – an immigrant who moved to the U.S from the Ukraine. He built an incredible brand and launched several incredibly successful companies. He has taught me that hard work, passion, dedication and serving others equals success. His perspective on the online world and how it works drives everything I do. When I focus on Plano Moms, on my other business coaching and consulting local businesses on how to market themselves online. Google him. He’s awesome.
- What was your nickname growing up, or now?
Abs. Only my close family and friends from the UK call me that.