The early days
Facebook became accessible to users in the UK in 2006. At that time I had just started in my role as Marketing and Communications Manager at Willen Hospice and was very interested in how I could use this new social media platform to promote the charity.
At this time, the only way to have a presence on the platform was as an individual so I (as did many others in digital marketing) set Willen Hospice up as a person on Facebook, started to be friends with people linked to the charity and sharing news and event information with them.
In the years to follow, Facebook launched Business Pages, Twitter grew in popularity and other social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram survived and hit the mainstream.
The next step
I have a degree in Mass Media and Communications and a background in Public Relations. With these hats on, I found the emergence of these new forms of communication exciting and fascinating. I could communicate directly with my audience without my message being gate kept by a third party! I was also, and still am, interested in the existence of a world where information is so readily available and people are so easy to share it (even very personal things).
A few years on and I became a mum for the first time and took the opportunity to move away from being employed full-time to setting up my own business, Social Monkey Ltd, in 2011. I saw the potential in social media marketing in becoming a serious marketing channel in its own right and a service that organisations would pay a professional to do as they may not have the time or expertise themselves, and I was right.
Social Monkey Ltd
So in 2011 Social Monkey Ltd was started on a shoe string budget from the attic in my home in Milton Keynes around juggling my responsibilities as a Mum. A year later we moved to Norfolk and I moved the business with me. The first few years were hard, often working late into the night after being up with a toddler from 5am, but it paid off. I got myself out networking and even set up my own networking group, Norfolk Tweetup (which is now run by some other local businesses and doing really well). I got a nice small portfolio of clients and increased my hours as my son increased his at nursery at eventually went to school. In 2015 the business was running full-time, I had moved into an office and had someone working for me J
Due to having another baby in 2017 I am now back to working from home with a reduced number of clients but pleased that the business is still going and looking forward to building it back up again.
What I have learnt
In these 8 years I have learnt a lot about myself and how to run a business but I have also learnt a lot about social media marketing.
It is a fast paced medium. What works one minute doesn’t the next, mostly due to algorithms (especially true on Facebook and Instagram). So a big part of my job is identifying these changes and trends and applying them to my clients’ platforms so that they continue to get a good amount of organic reach and engagement.
The way a post is set out can make or break it. Positive words get a better response than negative ones. Posts that are short and to the point tend to work better. A great picture can sometimes be all you need.
Timing is crucial. This can be the time of week/day (as a general rule Friday is the best day to post) but also timing in terms of what is going on in the world – a post about garden furniture won’t perform as well on a wet weekend as it will on a sunny one!
Every platform and every client is different. What works for one of my clients on LinkedIn really struggles on their Facebook page. For one of my clients I get the best response from a couple of basic lines of copy with no emojis, punctuation or pictures…
… and that comes down to the basic principle in all this, which is communication. Getting the right message, to the right audience, at the right time in a way that they want to receive it. In the past I have been pressured by clients to put out what they want to say repetitively, the old marketing method of ‘throw enough sh*t against the wall and some of it will stick’. Yes, this will get a limited amount of engagement but unless you get to know your audience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. (and they might all be different) and share with them what they want to see and hear about your business you will never get it quite right.
At Social Monkey we offer training, consultancy and social media management. If you need help with your social media marketing please get in touch.