Who are you and what does your company do?
My name is Paul Magee, I'm the Managing Director at Social Heroes on the Isle of Wight in the UK. We're a Digital Marketing company that started off working in Social Media Management.
The business culture down here is less advanced than the market on the mainland in the UK or in the US. We realized we were ahead with our resources but it wasn’t until we diversified our expertise in digital marketing that the company began to take off.
We specialize in digital marketing as a whole, essentially in web development; writing content, pay-per-click marketing, SEO, training and consulting, print design, videography, photography and video animation.
How and why did you get started in social media?
It sounds awful but we made the company for a bit of a laugh to begin with, especially with the name. I came from a corporate background, I joined another company as a managing director and met with one of the other directors who was a creative designer- the best I'd ever seen. We sat down one day and decided to move on to something new. We scrolled through Facebook looking for overqualified friends and found a social media expert and a content writer. We thought we had the basis of a social media company or at least a digital marketing company.
My co-partner came up with the name Social Heroes, I disliked it to begin with but once the ideas began to flow it became very exciting. That's how the company started and the moment we gained traction we took it very seriously. We checked the marketplace and saw there were maybe 5 other marketing companies on the island and to be honest with you, due to my background and experience, I did not fear them in the slightest.
What do you believe are the benefits of using social media for business?
We tend to use social media for lead generation and growing online reputation. It is useful for finding new clients, whether running PPC campaigns through Facebook ads or using Google Ad words, you are able interact with existing and potential clients.
We tend to use Twitter for lead generation, we find people who are travelling to South Wales or Southwest and draw them to the Isle of Wight for a few of our clients instead.
You can also rebuild your reputation online as well. We look after companies who have had damaging reviews; it may just be one angry client but the negative comment would not be addressed. We assess and resolve it so that when a search is made, viewers can see the company has come across the problem and resolved it.
Social media is also another communication channel with your clients, especially the younger audience. Some would prefer to tweet or go on Facebook rather than call or send an e-mail, because it's very informal.
What do you think are the common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?
Too many businesses post irrelevant content. I came across a Marketing company's social media feed that acquired genuine followers; 2,000 likes on Facebook within 2 months. Their posts were mainly from Lad Bible, which was very funny but irrelevant to marketing in terms of communicating the values of the brand, its services and targeting audiences.
We started off our business at the back of an estate agent. They explained how they were only able to log onto social media when they arrived home at 3 a.m. after finishing paperwork. The timing was unsuitable of course, as the feed always changes by morning when most people go online.
A big part of social media is the relevance and timing of the posts, most make these mistakes when trying to build their brand awareness online.
What qualities do you think social media managers should have?
They should be very friendly. I wouldn't recommend having a sales person working in social media, the wrong social tone can be detrimental.
It's crucial that managers understand how social media fits into the overall marketing plan, to generally understand the sales pipeline. For example on Twitter you might start by searching with the keyword 'holiday', the second stage would be to engage with followers and the third stage to introduce the services. You're slowly moving down the pipeline and dropping in certain keywords or hints such as 'are you looking to visit within the UK next year as well?' It's about slowly building trust, reputation and answering queries potential clients might have. You want to feed them down to the part where it's an inquiry and eventually a sales close.
Social media managers have the responsibility to encourage the inquiry level, it will then be up to the client to close the deal. For this reason they need to be friendly and smart about how business works to be able to nurture it.
How do business owners know if their social media campaign is working?
Many ask how I can get a return on investment? The success of a PPC campaign is normally based on the number of interactions and reach; it’s about how fast you can build your audience by encouraging shares, likes and comments. You can definitely see when social media is not working, as interactions go flat.
How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?
Social media will evolve much like technology has; it will become more automated. Automated messages can mimic a person very well and eventually the need for social media managers will decrease. I think social media management has a short life cycle in terms of hiring people to look after it.
If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?
One best practice is to combine organic social media with PPC, as it can be powerful. If a particular post is working for you, then amplify it by spending even a couple of pounds that can potentially increase reach to 10,000 people. This is a significant change considering your page won't exceed its 1-2,000 likes. Also make sure your brand is looked after and only include necessary information on your page.