Who are you and what does your company do?
I’m Alyssa Drysdale, Head of Social Media at Fieldworks - a fully integrated marketing agency which specializes in the retail and technology sectors. We were one of the pioneers of B2B social media marketing, we continue to push the boundaries on connecting the business community through social networks.
A short description of how and why you got started in social media
I’m an inherently inquisitive person so after building my early career in journalism and PR, the dawn of social media immediately captured my interest. I identified social media as the missing link between marketing activities for companies and developed a new offering for our agency.
What do you believe are the benefits of using social media for business?
According to a recent study, the average social media user logs nearly 2 hours a day – an opportunity for awareness that business owners cannot afford to miss. Don’t forget that business people are consumers too and are just as likely to be active on social networks for new commercial opportunities as they are for socializing or sharing opinions.
Social channels give businesses an opportunity to reach out to a market that may be unreachable elsewhere, or interact with people they have difficulty engaging with through other marketing mediums. It’s an incredibly important lead generation tool.
What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?
Inconsistency of branding and being too 'salesy' are two common pitfalls. There should always be an element of thought leadership within any social media execution – whether that be a regular blog or monitoring your feed and commenting on relevant posts. People want to be part of a conversation, not subjected to commercial messages all the time.
What qualities do you think social media managers should have?
Social media professionals are content creators, so they need to have imagination and impeccable English skills. Poor spelling and grammar may not only damage the reputation of a business but also dissuade followers. Organisation is also important – planning and forethought is key to stay ahead of trends and keep on top of what is happening in the moment.
How do business owners know if their social media campaign is working?
There are many analytical programs out there today which track the reach and depth of social media content. Companies should set key monthly objectives that they feel can measure success in a way that means something to their business strategy. These core metrics should include who is following you, follower growth, reach, clicks, which content has seen high engagement and website referrals.
How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?
The term ‘social selling’, which refers to direct prospect engagement with a view to starting a sales conversation, is being increasingly used by B2B companies. I foresee this practice becoming ingrained within most businesses. Pushing out content into the ether, hoping for the best, won’t cut the mustard in years to come – most social media users want to have a conversation, or at least see value.
And could social channels cut traditional news sites out of the picture? Probably.
If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?
From the outset, determine your target audience and tailor all the content you create and promote around them. Try to put yourself in their shoes – what do they want to see and most importantly, what will encourage them to share your message with their community?