Getting up to speed on the power of social media

18 February 2016

If you’re a small business operator, stop asking whether or not you should be on social media and instead start thinking quickly about which and how many channels you’ll use to reach your customers.

At a recent Digital Brisbane Power-Up Small Business Workshop dubbed “Social Media 101”, about  40 business owners were schooled in the meaning of being “social”.

To open the event, Rachel McLean from McLean Social Media quoted well-known Socialnomics speaker and author Erik Qualman, who said: “We don’t have a choice whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.”

Corinda bookshop owner Linda Allen attended the event keen to learn enough to open her first social media account, admitting she didn’t think she had time to run it but couldn’t afford not to.

“I’m not on social personally or for business because in small business I simply can’t get everything done in a day,” she said.

“I realise it’s an important thing but I want to do it right before I do it at all.”

Fourth generation real estate agent and Managing Director of Blocksidge, Jonathan Blocksidge, came along to learn more about which of his social media accounts might be the most valuable.

“I’m probably across about half a dozen social media platforms, the obvious ones – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Periscope,” he told Digital Brisbane.

“I know about apps and some of the social media platforms but I don’t fully understand how to leverage them?”

He admits that while he uses Twitter for snippets of information, he doesn’t post on the platform.

“In terms of activity levels, Facebook and LinkedIn, in their respective nuance of difference, are the most active platforms.

“Twitter seems to be the platform of preference to the presenters tonight. I don’t use Twitter much but I’m there and I watch it.”

Co-host and Brisbane Chief Digital Officer Cat Matson provided a few simple analogies to help the eager crowd understand which platform provides the right conversation, and which is essential in understanding where your potential audience or customers might spend their time.

“Why would we use all these platforms and what are they good for?” she asked.

“Twitter is the world’s water cooler. They (tweets) are brief. They are fleeting.

“If you move away to get a cup of tea, then the conversation has moved on.

“Facebook is like the world’s kitchen table. By virtue of my news feed, I have invited you to my kitchen table.

“LinkedIn is the world’s professional networking association. Those conversations are professional.

“The people that I follow on Instagram give me a cute snippet of their day. This is the world’s photo album.

“YouTube is the world’s TV station. As a platform it can be pretty ugly.”

Both Cat Matson and Rachel McLean agree that a strategy for your social media platforms is essential, but while direction is important it doesn’t need to be a long-term concept.

They also warn against favouring the size of your audience over substance.

“Size doesn’t really matter,” Ms McLean said.

“It’s more about the quality of the fan base than how big it is. “

For more tips and valuable information you can apply to your small business, why not attend Power-Up workshops each month?

Digital Brisbane Power-Up Small Business workshops are low-cost ticketed events held at various locations across Brisbane.

If you’re looking to learn more about the latest in social media, digital marketing, e-commerce and web design as it applies to your business, then these workshops are not to be missed.

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