I’m Noah Finn, I work at Finn Partners, a PR agency. We have 450 people and cover a variety of activities from traditional PR to digital activities. My role is leading a digital team of 45 people, we manage social media channels for clients including community management, developing content, creating visual and video content, design, website, apps. We also have an insights and analytics team.
How and why did you get started in social media?
I started as a developer 15 years ago, I was involved in building websites and my interest started to spread beyond development into other areas. In the mid-2000s social networks emerged, I found them intriguing and followed them ever since.
What do you believe the benefits of using social media for business?
The main benefit is building a brand and create a voice for it to connect with current and potential customers. Social media can apply to consumer facing business and B2B and it's about creating a connection between your brand and target audience.
What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?
One of the biggest mistake is underestimating the potential value and risk of social media and planning poorly as a result.
We also notice business owners using their profile for personal reasons as well as representing their business. Social media for business is used very differently to how one would use it personally.
What qualities do you think social media managers should have?
Empathy is an important quality and the ability to relate to others, whether potential supporters or advocates, is crucial.
Some of the social media blow-ups were a result of not carefully thinking about the message and how competitors can sometimes use it against your brand. Understanding the perception of your brand in the market place and allowing that perspective to shape everything you do allows you to reach the relevant audience.
How do Business owners know if their social media campaign is working?
Historically clients would not ask how many products PR is selling for me, we certainly aim to tie our practices back to specific sales, key business goals and metrics. However we encourage our clients to perceive it as an investment in building relationships and an online community around the brand, filled with potential customers. We try to look at building engagement metrics within communities. It’s about finding people that are interested in sharing information that is valuable to them enough to respond and participate, it’s a mutual benefit.
How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?
Established social media channels will continue to evolve, mainly Facebook and Twitter. Teenagers don’t have much interest in Facebook and Twitter at this point, most of them use Instagram and Snapchat and over a 5 year horizon, generationally that probably won’t change too much.
Visuals and video content have become increasingly important for a good reason and will continue to, it’s easily digestible and comes across as a stronger message.
There’s always a conversation about Facebook and their privacy. Some of the new platforms have different approaches to address that and it will continue to evolve.
The main value of Facebook and Twitter is that they have free data of their audiences and I believe social platforms will continue to be viable businesses.
If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?
At the top of the list is to identify and connect with potential customers, to build a community and use it to amplify your message. As mentioned earlier, it's about the mutual benefit of a community that brings you customers and gives value through the connection of your brand.