Social Media Interview: James Forest, Account Manager - SPM Strategies

Who are you and what does your company do?

I work for SPM Strategies, we focus on a top down approach, starting with building a website with the goal of making it effective within search engines and social media. Most of our work is with political organisations or businesses, we work with many different clients. Personally I'm new to the field, I've been working for about a year and a half in social media and I enjoy it.

How and why did you get started in social media?

I was a political science major in college, I applied for work on a campaign. When my resume went through, one of the employees in Digital Communications with years of experience as a media technician, decided to hire me a week after I started interning. I fit naturally into the role.

What do you believe are the benefits of using social media for business?

There are tonnes of them. Social media for business is about micro-targeting, avoiding excess and staying relevant by tailoring your approach.

For example one of our client's campaign involved information for a specific community in our area, they had a problem with a bridge. Using social media we could target them without disturbing the rest of the community. Social media is about developing a specific niche and delivering the message straight to it.

What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?

The biggest mistake is underestimating social media by using it loosely. When working with a client we use a comprehensive strategy and build their webpage, targeted with keywords that are relevant for Google. There is a lot more going on than some realise.

It's surprising to see how many times people are flabbergasted that there is a back end to Facebook.

What qualities do you think social media managers should have?

I was talking to someone from Twitter about this the other day, we agreed the main quality is complete vigilance. There are always new tools available and it's important to assess their use value. There's no reason trying to put a nail through with a rock when you have a hammer lying around the whole time. It's important to pursue the updates, learn quickly and apply as best you can; all this requires vigilance.

How do business owners know if their social media campaign is working?

Generally there are the simple statistics you can use within Facebook and Twitter and the platforms for Instagram. For most of our clients our success metric is when people mention they heard about the company from social media.

How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?

Social media changes very quickly, it's hard to say. I'd like to see more cinemagraph, it's fascinating, it will form a big part of advertising.

If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?

A best practice would be to stay focused. Many businesses struggle with the fast moving information. It's best to set 2 or 3 goals for social media over the course of a year and focus on how to get there. Increasing reach can be exciting but it will not always translate into sales.



Manal Bouchacra

Manal Bouchacra

Manal is interested in social media and is working on her creative writing skills. Outside of work she enjoys the gym and hanging out with friends and family.


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