TeaTalk with: Laura & Suzi, Social Media Gurus.
June 30th 2018 is Social Media Day, so it only seems right our latest Tea Talk interview takes place with members of the Cogent social media team. Armed with a brew, a few questions and a pen and paper, we explore what drew Laura and Suzi to social media marketing, their opinions on Snapchat and their number one piece of social media advice…
- How did you get into social media marketing?
Laura: I enjoyed writing and creating content, so a careers advisor suggested I look into the emerging world of social. I got myself a work experience placement at a social media company and the rest is history…
Suzi: Social media has always been something I’ve really enjoyed and probably spent way too much on, even way back in the Bebo days (whooo), but it wasn’t until my placement year at uni that I realised it was something I could do for a living. I worked for a small local PR agency and that is where I was first let loose into the professional world of social media and when I first got the bug for it. Once I left uni I got my first job working in the social media team at my previous agency and carried on learning more and more every day, all while loving it!
- What do you like about social media and what does it allow for that other channels don’t?
“The main thing I love about social is the sheer pace of it”
Laura: Social media is real-time marketing that really allows you to gain insight into what your audience wants. Pretty much everyone is on social media, so when you find where your audience is and figure out how they use social media in their daily lives, it opens doors that other channels can’t. For instance, if you’re running a TV ad targeting a specific audience, you’re also reaching people who aren’t interested, in turn wasting money trying to reach irrelevant people. In social, you can invest in making sure your content is engaging and relevant to the people you want to reach.
Suzi: The main thing I love about social is the sheer pace of it. It is changing every single day, with new developments and new networks being made all the time, and because of that it always feels one step ahead of other forms of marketing. As well as this, the pace of the content and conversations amaze me. The speed at which things move means, on one hand, that content needs to always stay fresh, and on the other hand, it allows for more disposable content that can be created quicker than other channels. This is great for jumping on the back of trends when they are most relevant. This Specsavers example is one of my personal favourites, it came out the day after the Oscars mishap…
- There’s been a lot of negative press around Snapchat recently with stock shares dropping after algorithm backlash. What’s your opinion on Snapchat? Does it have a future or is it soon to be a social platform of the past?
Laura: I think Snapchat is still fighting for its place in the social media world and shouldn’t be cast off yet, but I do think it’s going to be an uphill struggle. It’s still proving the place to be for the younger generation and it’s geo-targeting features still haven’t been replicated in as successful a fashion on other channels. However other channels (especially Instagram) are really giving Snapchat some stiff competition.
- What’s the best social media campaign or stunt you’ve ever set eyes on and why?
Laura: This is a tough one! So many brands have created and executed amazing campaigns and every day you see new ones that take the place of ‘favourite campaign’ (which I think is how social works, it’s always bettering itself with new and exciting content – there’s always room to do something new and to capture attention.). However, the one that stands out to me of late that I think really changed brand perception and helped carve their place in the social world is Poundland’s Christmas Campaign: ‘Elf Behaving Baldy.’ Whilst it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it definitely got people talking about Poundland and helped to grow their visibility online – I for one would never have gone and followed their content before this. It also showed what can happen when you really push the boundaries and take risks to try something new.
Suzi: It’s slightly cheating as it’s a PR and social campaign combined, but it’s got to be the Missing Type campaign from Give Blood – it always sticks with me as achieving absolute marketing goals! I just love the simplicity of the idea and how it was rolled out across several channels so seamlessly. It was simply asking people to drop certain letters out of their Twitter handles, something that’s so easy, yet so effective in raising awareness. To top it off, so many huge brands got involved as well! It’s just one of those “I wish I had worked on that” campaigns!
- What’s the proudest moment of your social media career to date?
Laura: I’ve been lucky enough to take part in creating some really awesome campaigns for clients. However, I think my highlight would be the work I’ve done on ‘The Snowman’. Each year we’ve seen the channels grow in leaps and bounds and it has become part of many people’s Christmas traditions.
- What part of your job here at Cogent do you enjoy the most?
Laura: The favourite part of my role here at Cogent is having a great team within the Social and PR department who make coming to work fun. We can all bounce and develop ideas together in a way that leads to creating exciting campaigns for our clients.
Suzi: The variety. Every single day is different, and as much as you can make a to-do list for the day, you never really know what’s going to happen. We have such a wide range of clients from all different sectors and industries that we do such different work for; it always keeps it interesting.
- How important is using social media as a customer service tool for brands in the modern day?
Laura: I think it’s extremely important. More and more people are coming to social media to get their questions answered. There’s plenty of reasons for this – it’s free, they expect it to be quicker and, because it’s public, they expect a better reaction.
Gone are the days where we expect to be sat on the phone listening to dull ‘on-hold music’ for half an hour whilst being charged £1 a minute. Now we can instantly get in touch with a person through social, with the hopes they’ll get back to us in a timely manner. Not only that, we also have the power to damage a brand’s reputation by what we say online, so brands need to be there in order to defuse situations before they blow up.
Suzi: This is SO important! I actually think it’s becoming more important than call centres for customer service. Although social can be really fast paced, it still lives online forever, including any negative comments or bad customer service. So, it’s so important to take care of your online community and reputation. It’s also fast becoming the first way people get in touch with a brand rather than picking up the phone, so it needs time dedicated to it to get it right.
- What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone/a brand thinking about starting social media marketing?
Laura: If you’re a person who’s looking into getting started in social, I’d say get online. Start using it, look how other people use it. Find which platforms you enjoy using, start looking at the kind of content people put out and develop an opinion on what you think works well and what doesn’t. Social is always changing and how we use social is always developing; the only way you can keep up with it is if you’re using it and in the thick of it.
For brands, I’d always start by finding your audience. Where are they? How do they use social? You need to find this information out first before you do anything else.
Suzi: Decide what you want to achieve through the channel, is it customer engagement, fan acquisition, brand awareness? Once you’ve outlined this the rest should follow with this objective always in mind.
- Do you have a social media ethos?
“You’ve always got to put yourself in your audience’s shoes”
Laura: I always think ‘Is this something I’d like to see? And if I saw it how likely would I be to share it with other people?’ If you’re not creating and putting out content that you’d be interested in (and when I say you, I mean you as in the point of view of the audience you’re targeting, as you’ve always got to put yourself in your audience’s shoes), then what’s the point?
Suzi: “Who cares?” This is something I always keep in mind when creating content. You have to think is the audience is actually going to care about what you are producing. Will your content ‘stop the scroll?’ Whether it’s because it’s entertaining, educating or informative, it needs to have some kind of reason to draw people in.
- It’s often debated within the industry, but what’s your opinion: is TripAdvisor a social media channel?
Suzi: Hmmm… at a very first thought, I would say no. But then if I took some time to think about it I would say yes, it is, albeit a very different form of social to the one we are typically used to. However, it is very much another string to the marketing bow for many brands that needs to be carefully considered. It is a website purely made up of customer comments and interactions so is very much the meaning of “social” – this means it can really make or break a brand so should have equal time and care dedicated to it as with other social channels.