Who are you and what does your company do?
I am the Communications Director at Mason Rose. We’re a specialist representation agency and have been going 22 years: we provide sales and PR services for luxury and boutique hotels.
How and why did you get started in social media?
Social media is becoming more and more important for our business, for communicating our clients’ news and engaging with our diverse audiences, especially as content is digested in such a variety of ways now. We use it as another channel to disseminate timely information, which can vary from sales and PR messages, to sharing news, images and thoughts.
As an agency, we are unique in the sense that we cover both sales and PR services, which is quite unusual. Our audience is a mixture of traditional and digital media contacts, travel industry insiders and high net worth individuals. It can sometimes be challenging to manage social media content with our diverse audience, so we try to stick to a simple rule as much as possible: be interesting and valuable.
What do you believe are the benefits of using social media for business?
Social media offers an effective and inspiring way to reach likeminded audiences wherever they are digesting information, with the ability to interact and maintain an open dialogue.
Sharing timely information and broadcasting news quickly is easy to accomplish, and interacting with clients, partners and fans to amplify messages is a top priority. Overarching all of our social media strategies is the idea that the content produced represents our tone of voice, and the brand of Mason Rose. It must be engaging enough for visitors to return to our social media channels. We genuinely invest the time and effort to create high quality content that is both interesting and original, and we make a point of observing what’s working best.
What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?
Social media is relatively new, users are still learning how to make use of it. I feel people are testing different approaches and businesses sometimes find managing social media confusing, especially if they have evolved using traditional channels.
It’s worth deciding who is in charge of your social media, whether it’s the marketing or editorial team, or a combination of the two, but someone needs to be in charge and have clear objectives in mind. Other factors to consider would be the frequency of sales messages to post and their impact, because the real time aspect of social media means it will be difficult to retract the message once it’s out. Businesses find it challenging to decide which channel is best for their brand, to determine their audience and find out their interests.
What qualities do you think social media managers should have?
The top quality to have, as a social media manager, is to be sociable. This way they embody the activity as best as possible. We tend to have people who are editorially savvy but who are also true fans of social media. They use it themselves and know how it works, which means they remain genuinely engaged and informed with new updates.
How do business owners know if their social media campaign is working?
On a basic level, you can use the simple metrics on your social media channels such as repinning, retweeting, liking etc. There are many other tools to use for more in depth information on engagement, audience and reach. Some businesses prefer to use agencies that will help them analyse online activity.
Generally, we keep track of the basics and try to maximize positive results for our clients, mostly by learning from experience.
How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?
I'd like to see social media increase its authority and quality, with more effort made in creating credible original content. Less quantity, more quality – so social channels are considered a trusted source of valuable information. It's always inspiring to see how social media is evolving and becoming more visual, too. Finally I’d like to see better search functionality across all social channels.
If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?
One best practice is to observe the engagements and participation of your audience and let that guide your strategy. The idea is to focus on keeping your audiences interested and attracting new people, by becoming invaluable to them.