Six experts in their field impart their opinion and knowledge

Angela Miles

STEPS GROUP AUSTRALIA
CHARITY MANAGER

As a Gen X born in the ‘70s, I almost snubbed the inevitable transition from print media to digital technology and now cannot believe the incredible changes that affect my role in so many ways – socially, physically and of course financially. Social media is the forum that bridges distance and as a manager with national borders stretching across a lot of Australia, social media and digital interaction allows me to connect with our key stakeholders and supporters by providing up to the minute information. It also allows me to keep abreast of what else is happening within minutes. Social media is no longer a “nice-tohave” in business, it is a “must-have” to remain cutting edge and relevant in today’s emerging society, with many businesses conducting trade and commerce online. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are fundamental and social media is constantly evolving, therefore I would strongly advocate implementing these or risk the loss of business.

Estella Rodighiero

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUSTRALIA SUNSHINE COAST INC
CEO

A PRESENCE ON social media is not for the faint hearted; however it is essential for your business. Markets are conversations. They allow you to engage with your fans and friends and to leverage on their networks and their networks’ networks. It is inexpensive, affordable, simple and effective in helping gain leads and in spreading the word far and wide. A sharp media presence will develop brand recognition and build loyalty. More importantly, it will allow you to have a direct link and contact with your customers, many of whom are already online, engaging and purchasing on various social media platforms. Choose your social media platforms wisely, based on a thorough understanding of your target audience and then develop regular content that truly adds value. Don’t be left behind. If you haven’t developed a social media presence yet, invest some time in to developing an approach that suits your business. Your competitors are already there!

Roz White

IGA BLI BLI – MT COOLUM – MOOLOOLAH
PROPRIETOR

IMAGINE A CONVERSATION going on around you that you are excluded from. It’s not a great feeling and imagine if the conversation is about your business! Social media is a global conversation and a vital point of communication on many levels, but more importantly one which may have a fundamental impact on how consumers interact with your business. Make sure you ‘get in’ the conversation through participation. Consumers want multiple touch points with retail being driven by technology through marketing and consumer insights. Uni-channel retail is outdated in consumers’ minds. E-commerce is a component of technology but social media is essential. Consumers are savvy and discerning with mobile technology being pivotal for your business securing local and global reach. Your technology-speak does not have to be complicated, but it does need to be effective.

Nita Childs

WHAT THE FOX CREATIVE
OWNER/CREATIVE DIRECTOR

IF YOUR SOCIAL media isn’t branded sharply or professionally in today’s business world, it can be relatively easy for your company’s persona to get swamped into a black hole of other competitor offerings. To avoid being just another faceless business in a sea of desperate followers, follow these few steps to ensure a sharp, unique and successful social media presence: Have a brand aesthetic – you would be surprised at how much visual appeal plays a part in a customer’s decision to either stay or leave your profile. On Facebook, match your profile picture and cover photo, or on Instagram, form a posting theme. In cyberspace, aesthetic is everything. Engage with your followers – creating conversation with your customers and building relationships builds loyalty and business value. Ask them how their day was or even set up fun competitions. Be active – there’s nothing worse than discovering that a business’ last Facebook status was posted a year ago. An up-to-date business page entails a dependable business with passion.

Madalene Bettega

FOOD MATTERS
BRAND MANAGER

IT’S NO SECRET that social media is changing consumer behaviour and business expectations globally, openly, transparently – and in real time. When Internet consumers discover a brand they know little about, research shows they check social media pages to learn more. Many businesses have static websites that change little, if at all, after being first published. Social media pages, on the other hand, are constantly updated with new posts, comments, etc. A website establishes that a brand exists, but a social media page establishes that the brand is active. Similarly, the number of fans shows how popular a brand is and reviews can reassure buyers by showing them that other consumers like them. Mastering the importance of social media for marketing should underscore why these efforts need to be continuous to meet consumer expectations. Social media marketing is something that every business needs to do and needs to do well.

Leisa Toomey

SCHULTZ TOOMEY O’BRIEN LAWYERS
PRACTICE GROUP LEADER

THIS IS QUITE a new area for us, particularly in the legal profession, and there is still a lot we are learning. Whether we like it or not, social media is fast becoming the first port of call for a member of the public to reach out to a business. If a consumer searches for you through Facebook or Twitter and your presence is sloppy, lifeless or non-existent, it reflects badly on the entire business. The same applies to service – if someone asks a question or leaves feedback on your social channel and you don’t reply satisfactorily within a reasonable timeframe, they’ll likely conclude you are not interested in their business. A sharp social media presence requires informative and entertaining content demonstrating your expertise, and allowing your audience to see the human side of your business. Simply broadcasting your message on social media doesn’t cut it; your followers expect a dynamic two-way discussion, and the same level of customer service they would get on the phone or face-to-face.