Wednesday, 4th November 2014, Shrewsbury
Getting Social in Shropshire #Socshrop

Social Media: A Journey from “A to SME”

After an eventful start to the night, we finally reached the impromptu venue for our long anticipated social media event.

The 3 guest speakers:

were all eager to take to the stage and talk about their area of expertise.

Marketing a Start-Up by Steve Jones

Steve explained that Severn Partnership’s sister company SEEABLE had been set up to visualise data creating interactive, bespoke, non-technical 3D & BIM, visualisation APPs (Web, desktop & mobile) for safety, training, stakeholder engagement & marketing. During the start-up of SEEABLE, Steve spoke about:

  • The importance of a marketing plan

  • To understand your customers

  • Ensure it is content driven

  • Continually check relevance of the plan

  • Be consistent and persistent

  • Use language and style to target your customer

As part of the marketing plan, SEEABLE implemented a Social Media Strategy to:

  • Focus on specific social media platforms

  • Ensure content is recycled into blogs and tweets

  • Ensure integrity and professionalism is maintained

  • Remain opportunistic and open to unexpected sources of advice / leads

  • Maintain a local presence and use local business networks such as #shropshirehour to promote your product / service.

OBB created a digital case study for Severn Partnership which can be found on the link below:

Paul Bennett Steve Jones at SocShrop
Paul Bennett and Steve Jones talk marketing

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Social Media by Paul Bennett

Paul took to the front and explained he’d be talking about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Social Media.

He started off by stating that the Daily Mail online is the 2nd most popular website in the world which emphasises how great social media is for entertainment but can be a risk for employers if not monitored sufficiently.

He explained one of the first local cases he dealt with in 2008 came about because of a Facebook post stating that an individual’s line manager was “a ……. and (s)he couldn’t be arsed to go into work that day”.

The employer went to see Paul and it opened up a myriad of legal issues such as authorised absence, disciplinary issues and a grievance.

Another case study focussed on the British Waterways Board when an employee was dismissed in 2015 for comments on a social media site which were damaging to the employers reputation.

Case law is struggling to keep up though as social media platforms are continually evolving and the boundaries between personal and professional use are becoming blurred. You need to ensure you have an IT policy in place to monitor what your employees are posting. It is necessary to train staff so that there is a professional engagement with social media and the employer therefore retains an element of control. Training and increasing knowledge can empower staff and gain their respect to adhere to policy.

If used appropriately, the business benefits of social media can be exceptional and can showcase your expertise via a range of different platforms. It can encourage professional networking, focus on geographical areas and promote your brand to a wider / target audience.

Social Media can also be devastating if your company tries to deceive its customers. For example, the recent emissions scandal at VW has been largely publicised over social media and its reputation damaged due to the complaints made by customers.

Paul Bennett, Legal Issues of Social Media
Paul Bennett and Chris Taylor conclude Paul’s talk: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in Social Media

Paul advised it is best to use the UK law even if trading internationally and that if you are trading internationally you can agree the terms including were disputes will be resolved.

The case of Carter-Silk and Proudman a solicitor approaching a barrister based on what he described as her “stunning” picture highlights how quickly a single comment can become newsworth for a number days and carry significant reputational risks.

The key thing is assess the positon and turn risks into a positive – more work, higher profile and a positive impression of you and your business.

Increasing sales in Social Media by Rebekah Harriman

Rebekah began by talking about how social media can help build a relationship and gives you the possibility to remain consistent. It allows you to use the platforms which are preferable for your product / service.

If you’re not sure how to put the 80% / 20% rule of being social in social media into practice, look at your own FAQs! Establish you’re an expert in your field. Be passionate about what you do. Think about your business and find related trends. Once you’ve opened your dialogue with someone, it could lead to business but ensure you research your potential customer well… Instead of “Think before you speak” your mantra should be “Google before you tweet”. She ensures this will become second nature.

Monitoring your social media and using it to its optimum use will help enhance your brand.

Rebekah Harriman social media
Rebekah talks about increasing sales

LinkedIn is a professional platform where posts are formal and your profile should also be as formal. Facebook is linked to people’s lives, it is less formal and users are often active for up to an hour at a time. Twitter has short lived posts but if well-crafted, they have a good reach. Pinterest has a 47% conversion rate via click to buy and users often “binge pin” up to 4 hours at a time.

To make a sale, you will still need to get the customer offline which can be done via, for example, LinkedIn messages or a Call to Action.

I t is stated that 87% of interaction from 2017 onwards will be through social media. It is the preferred choice as typing feels less confrontational. As opposed to the “7 touches of marketing” it can now be referred to as “the 36 touches of social media marketing”.

It is always possible to outsource the responsibility but if you are a business person looking to do this, you must ensure that you give the correct information and specify key messages.

Rebekah continued to talk about how social media has been added as an integral part of the sales funnel as Raising Awareness and building the trust / relationship are key elements to securing the sale. There’s no direct sales message but over the 36 steps mentioned earlier, you are getting into a customer’s thought process so every step is a valuable one.

Towards the end of the evening, there was an open discussion with questions being asked and the following points were spoken about:

  • Recruitment – it is easy for an employer / head-hunter to view social media profiles and understand how someone works in a professional capacity by looking at their social media.

  • Ensure your contract covers the ownership of the social media. Paul highlighted a case in Liverpool where senior partners bought out the original founder of a company and were able to take over the networks built up over different platforms.

  • Share testimonials over social media and be honest. It is said that negative comments online have almost double the impact of positive ones and there is little control over the speed of this spread. Online reputation management is a rapidly growing business area.

  • Use visuals. For videos, YouTube has a bigger audience and larger demographic and due to being owned by Google, increases your SEO. As a guide, YouTube tends to be for people related videos whereas Vimeo is for product related videos.

  • Facebook videos are best if directly uploaded.

  • Sign up and use Google Alerts for relevant stories in your field.

All of the speakers were happy for those in attendance to contact them regarding any specific requests.

At the end of the event, there was a reminder about how much free information is on the OBB website: With 26 free downloads, further 1:1 consultancies bespoke to your SME and a series of webinars focussing on The Cloud. These are also available to download on the website very soon.

There was a summary from Chris Taylor, host for the evening, which promoted the benefits of fibre broadband. Check to see if fibre broadband has arrived where you live:

Social Media: A Business Journey from “A to SME”
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