Hi my name is Joy Schoffler, I’m the Principle of Leverage PR. My firm works with many leaders in the Technology space, Financial Technology, Medtech and some Consumer tech as well.
South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of our clients, we are working for UC Berkeley on a new financial technology program helping enterprises utilize crowd funding. I’m a mentor for Yodlee which involves a financial technology incubator, they work for banks and other large institutions. We’re just very active in the Financial Technology sector and Technology generally.
How and why did you get started in social media?
I started my career as a Private Equity Firm Director, working for the PPA group we grew from 4-75 people in a year and a half. I found that a creative public relation strategy was incredibly effective, it definitely increased social media. It was very helpful for companies to scale quickly, whether you’re a larger company looking to grow a division or a lower market company trying to make it to the next stage, go public or even raise additional funds. There’s just so much social media, with the right messaging and PR, can do for a company. I started in the communications field because I thought it is an amazing tool for business growth.
What do you believe the benefits of using social media for business?
Social media is a wonderful tool especially Twitter. 5-10% of all our business leads come from Twitter, it is an incredibly effective tool for growing business quickly and becoming a thought leader in your industry. You identify the keywords that are most critical for your particular industry- every day for 5 minutes a day I go through and retweet people, connect with them or just do a few tweets a week using particular keywords (Fintech is a real big one for my firm). Within months I connect with the major thought leaders around the world by spending 5-10 minutes a day, figuring out who were the leaders in this space and connecting with them. It’s a way to accelerate the growth of a business, increase your thought leadership in a particular area and make connections with powerful people who can really help you.
What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?
One of the biggest mistakes they make is having their social media strategy either outsourced to the least possibly expensive service provider or have the most junior member of staff execute social media. It does not take much time for social media to be effective but it does need careful thinking and someone who really understands how the content they share is crucial.
All of our Senior Account Managers have their own Twitter account, they’re required at least once a day to log on for 5 minutes and share keywords for their plans in the industry, either to share one tweet a day, favourite or retweet a couple of posts. It’s crucial because they understand what is most important, the new data and trends that leave an impact. If you have somebody fresh out of college who doesn't understand your industry making these decisions for you, then the social channels will not have an educated voice and will fail to truly represent your brand.
What qualities do you think social media managers should have?
They need to have industry expertise; as a social media manager it's important to have the general skills but specializing is key. It increases your pay, salary, benefits and opportunities. It’s less about loving social media, gaining followers and more about understanding the content shared with a strategic motive for the company. It is about utilizing social media as a channel to help the company reach its goal by incorporating small actions into bigger goals.
How do Business owners know if their social media campaign is working?
Primarily the way to find out is through the number of inbound leads, also engagements and conversations. The metrics might show an increase in followers, shares or retweets but that doesn't necessarily matter. Managers must note who is sharing and connecting because increasing following is not enough, it’s more important to increase engagement that is real and meaningful. It allows you to turn followers into leads and take it a step further.
How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?
One of the things that we’ve noticed here at my agency Leverage PR is it’s one of the best way to connect with journalists. In other words people who are too busy to check their e-mails and prefer to spot opportunities through Twitter- I believe it will become the next channel of communication. It is short, distinct and grabs attention in 140 characters. Customer care is moving through the enterprise level, if people have an issue they avoid the telephone line and go straight to social media to get the response in 5 minutes from social media managers monitoring public criticism and brand image.
If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?
Thought leadership is everything especially when you're using social media to grow your business, it's important to take seriously as it could be the most effective tool you ever use.