The following social media marketing industry interview is with Maggie Harris, Social Media Director at Lott Oil and Director of Membership Experience at the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce as well as the Editor-in-Chief for Argus Literary Magazine.
Andrew: Do you think that Social Media Marketing is useful for small businesses? Why or why not?
Maggie: Social Media Marketing is essential for small businesses. Often small businesses have to overcome more challenges to establish and maintain a strong brand image than large companies do. Consequently, for small businesses, making and maintaining connections with customers is imperative. Social media marketing allows businesses to connect with their customers on a more personal level than traditional forms of marketing. For example, on Facebook and Yelp, one can respond to reviews and comments made by customers the second they are posted. Also, businesses can interact with their customers by tagging them in posts. People like people, and when someone see that the owner of the company personally responded to their inquiry, that means a lot.
Andrew: I certainly agree, the interaction is key! Have you noticed any noteworthy trends in social media marketing in recent years as it pertains to business and what are they?
Maggie: The difficulty in keeping up with social media is that it always changing. I have noticed that there seems to be a push towards SnapChat. Recently, several articles have caught my attention with headlines about informing businesses how to best use SnapChat. I will be interested to see if and how Instagram stories affects SnapChat usage.
Andrew: Do you think social media marketing is a useful tool for attracting leads and providing customer service?
Maggie: Absolutely. No one uses the phone book anymore. No one bothers reading the paper. Most people simply read the reviews of a business on Facebook or Yelp. Businesses have two options: disregard this or take full advantage of this. Adding big, beautiful pictures of your service or product all throughout your social media pages draws potential customer interest.
Andrew: Great point Maggie! The visual updates provide the public with a look into the life of your business. What is your favorite aspect of digital marketing?
Maggie: My favorite aspect of digital marketing is the limitless opportunities to create engaging media. There are so many unique strategies that businesses use to engage their customers on social media.
Andrew: Do you have any advice on how small businesses can better leverage social media?
Maggie: There are various resources out there for the small business owner who is new to the world of "hashtags and posts". Your local Chamber of Commerce likely offers classes to help businesses become social media savvy. Also, there are articles all over the world wide web that highlight best practices for social media. In theory, it's as simple as Googling it. All you have to bring to the table is your willingness to learn.
Andrew: What role has social media played in your career?
Maggie: I use social media for all three of my jobs. Learning how to navigate social media, and having the skills to execute social media marketing campaigns, helped me obtain the positions I have.
Special thanks to Maggie Harris for the interview!
Written by: Andrew C. Belton