For the latest edition of ‘A Few Minutes With…’ we decided to speak to the Client Services Manager at our Headline Sponsor, iThinkMedia, one of the country’s leading SEO companies.
Formed in 2008, iThinkMedia are an established search marketing agency providing clients with maximum and targeted visibility on search engines. The firm is based in a unique renovated barn in Hertford, and boasts a glittering client list featuring the likes of Mothercare, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), ebay and Jaeger.
Here’s what David had to say on his experiences with social media and the digital world.
Could you describe your company’s activity on social networks?
We have historically tried to use a number of platforms, however have found that Twitter and LinkedIn are the most effective for what we are trying to achieve from using social media networks. Twitter we use as a platform to share our thoughts and opinions, interesting articles and on occasion gain feedback from others in our field.
LinkedIn is certainly one of the best places to share content (blog posts etc) as get’s in-front of our target audience that are not being distracted by silly cat video’s or questionnaires about what animal you were in a previous life.
Are there elements of your business now that would not have been possible without social media?
Certainly. Just last week I was stuck on a particularly technical issue that we could not work out in the office. Taking to Twitter, I was soon involved in conversations with other agency owners in Seattle, USA. This took minutes, not days! They went above and beyond to help too, having exchanged email addresses meaning our discussions could be more in-depth and sending me some examples of how to resolve my technical issue. Collaboration has now become much easier thanks to all the social platforms available.
How has your relationship with your customers/clients changed with the dawn of digital technology?
No longer is the only form of contact the phone or emails. We follow all of our clients on their respective social networks, as well as their competitors, to see what is happening and if there are any missed opportunities.
Sharing of documentation is now much easier too, with the likes of applications such as Google Drive, Trello, Base Camp and the thousands of other campaign management tools out there. Our clients like it and so do we. It’s easier to manage, you can work on docs collaboratively in real-time and it helps us stay transparent for our clients.
How would you describe the relationship between businesses and digital technology in your local area?
There are some really technically savvy businesses out there who are embracing the technology to improve their services. Most businesses have adopted social media for growing their brand awareness, but some are truly embracing the digital aspects of the technology available.
We’ve seen businesses using re-marketing (sort of like stalking visitors of your site wherever they go online), display marketing and most notably video marketing. With technological advances, producing video has become easier and cheaper, so we are seeing more creative uses of this platform for marketing, especially from some of the finalists like Tommie & Lottie, asset.tv and others. That will be one of the closely contested categories for sure!
Which social media campaigns or accounts have really caught your eye recently?
Nike. They are always the pioneers of new technology and they have recently done a set of videos utilising 360-degree viewing via a YouTube video, promoting their new football boots with Neymar. It’s all about experience marketing with Nike and they are literally the best – they had wonderful campaigns during the World Cup too, with almost instantaneous adverts that related to which player had just scored.
What have you found to be the most positive and negative aspects of using social media for your business?
The reach of social media is amazing. We’ve been able to get our blog posts all over the world thanks to a little self promotion and making sure we are active in Twitter Chats. Our ability to find either like minded industry types or potential new clients from a little bit of digging is becoming something so much more accessible thanks to social media.
Luckily we have not experienced any negativity, but of course are aware that with the ability to set up free accounts, there are businesses out there posting negative reviews on their competitors profiles. Whilst the platforms do their best to stop this activity, there seems to be an element of this in all industries.
What advice would you give to businesses looking to improve their social media activity?
Use the most suitable platform to what you are trying to achieve, rather than trying to utilise all of them. Doing a bit of research to see where your target audience “hang out” is crucial, as this will help you shape your messaging so it’s better received. Certain types of businesses will need to be more image focused to attract new customers, others may have to always use competitions etc, but knowing your target audience is a must if you are to make the most out of social media.
One of the biggest things however is consistency. Not just from how often you post, but also your tone of voice, style of imagery and answering any questions posted to you. Regardless of negative or positive intent from posts to you as a business, you should always respond – there are many companies that can turn negative comments into positive interactions and that all comes from being responsive and trying to help however you can.
For more information about iThinkMedia visit ithinkmedia.co.uk or call 01438 870220.