Social Media Marketing

07 July 2016


During his workshop on June 14, facilitator Michael Lassman, the founder of Equality Edge, an independent consultancy, working with clients to improve diversity and communication practices in both the real and virtual worlds, shared a series of best practices to develop a successful social media presence across different channels.

Thanks to social media, both organisations and independent professionals can not only reach a wider pool of potential customers but also adapt their approach depending on the specific target. Online tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are a very efficient means to introduce a business proposition to a huge number of individuals at a very low cost. Nowadays, professionals can reach out to prospects or new professional contacts of interest directly and in real time.

However, having a message or a proposition to share is not enough. In order for online tools to be effective, it is important to be aware of the best practices to follow when it comes to this new way to communicate. As Michael explained during this engaging workshop, our online presence should be approached and planned in the same way that we prepare face-to-face meetings. Our LinkedIn profile or Twitter account as well as the way we write emails or the picture we use online are all elements of our ‘new business card’ and should be developed consistently throughout the different channels. They should also be a realistic and informative portrait of our brand i.e. who we are, what we do and what we stand for.

From a resources point of view, developing a social media presence is quite easy - – but a lot of thought should go into planning it. As Michael outlined, there is no point in being present everywhere if your clients are not there

A successful social media strategy involves three main components: a robust and authentic profile, a large number of the right connections on the right platform and consistent and regular activity. These elements will increase your personal and organisational brand status, value and reach.

Feedback from the workshop was very positive, all delegates afterwards feeling inspired and motivated to develop their social media plans further, and we will certainly be running this workshop again. Meanwhile our next workshops are

Knowledge Management –October 17th
Change & Risk Management –November 21st

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Ahead of the workshop, Michael Lassman shared a few initial thoughts on the importance of social media in today’s business world. 

How can social media be used in marketing? 

Social media platforms offer a marketer the opportunity to get their message directly onto the desktop of their most promising lead, client or customer. This might previously have been done by branding a mouse mat (remember them), pens or mugs we probably all some of these on our desks today or paying huge sums for other more traditional advertising types. Though of course, these do have their place and purpose, none would be able to create dialogue or draw someone in to a contemporary conversation or debate the way social media can. The opportunity to engage with a prospect has never been easier. 

What is important when building a digital presence? 

It is not sufficient for a person or business to have a well optimized profile, though this is important. Of far greater significance is the need to give clear, concise and unambiguous messages, ensuring that the viewer is immediately hooked and wants to read more. With the ever increasing bombardment of digital communication, the regular viewers average attention span has reduced to a matter of a few seconds. You only have one chance to get it right. 

Which are the three key features of using social media?

I. A clear and authentic profile is the foundation upon which any social media work is established. It must be robust, completely true and use key words that will help in searches.
II. The building blocks are the networks or contacts, connections and followers that are built up. Although playing the numbers game is not completely necessary, the more people connected, the greater the opportunities available. 

III. Positive activity is the mortar that holds the whole structure together. Saying right words in the right place will generate interest and create engagement. 

These three aspects of social media presence must be balanced and become part of a strategic marketing plan. No one of them can be successful alone. 

Could you give us an example of a time when, by improving the social media activity, you helped improve a client’s bottom line substantially? 

As a provider of domestic security services, a new client sought to improve the response they got from social media. Their principle platform is Facebook, where they have managed to get 500 likers of their company page, but failed to convert any of this interest into actual clients. Always sharing issues directly relating to household security, every post appears like an advert for their service - “another local robbery, come and buy from us”! After suggesting that they broaden their message, one of their operatives posted a photo showing some major fly-tipping in a local residential area, the rubbish had spilled onto the narrow road causing a hazard. They posted this on their own page and in several locality-based groups. It was viewed over seven thousand times in two days and from it they received eleven leads, six of which have become clients. 
Getting the right message and posting it in the right place can reap huge benefits and will impact on bottom-line success.

In your opinion, what are the biggest issues regarding social media which may affect businesses over the next few years?

The ever decreasing attention span of the “average” user is a major issue; once considered to be eleven seconds, it is now thought to be only seven. A message is not “read” and “understood” within this time, the viewer will move on, so capturing someone’s interest so quickly is a real challenge for social media marketing.

With the technological advancements it is difficult to predict what could happen in the industry, but there are two existing trends that will certainly continue; social media on the go with mobile apps and the use of video as the choice method of putting across a message. The most common dedicated visual platforms are YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and Tumblr, whilst Facebook and Twitter are now hosting ever increasing numbers of videos too