Public Relations // Social Media
Apr 6, 2018

Social Marketing is All About Quality and Engagement 

Social Media Tips and Tricks from Down Under

As part of our reporting on the Social Media Marketing World Conference (SMMW18) in San Diego, we’ve been interviewing fellow attendees to discuss their social media programs and learn from each other. We spoke with Michelle Henson, owner of Operite, a marketing consultancy in Australia, about what tips and tricks she learned from the conference and what lessons she’s applying to her client work.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into social media and what you do in social for your company.

I’m based in Darwin, Australia and I have been working in marketing since 1997, so I’m old school in terms of my education and experience. I started off in direct marketing–lead generation, call to action and the content side has always been a part of my marketing repertoire. I have worked in marketing in three countries: Australia, England and United Arab Emirates (Dubai). Facebook was invented when I lived in Dubai, and initially, it was not used for marketing. On my return to Australia in 2009, I started working with a management consultancy and began using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter heavily in this role. Back then, Facebook advertising was basic and not many businesses in our client group of accountants were using social media at all. I ran many workshops on how to use social media in marketing organically and via advertising, and even taught the basics of setting up social media accounts.

Now I run my own marketing consultancy, Operite, and I specialize in digital marketing, content creation and showing businesses how to effectively use social marketing and online advertising to grow their businesses, including understanding analytics. To me, the most exciting thing is working with small businesses, who know their product well, and seeing them thrive when they “get” how social media works.

Why did you decide to go to SMMW18 and what were your expectations for the show? What were you interested in learning?

Social media technologies, algorithms and methods change all of the time and move so fast that I wanted to get a real boost in knowledge. I was mainly interested in increasing my content strategies. However, when I got there, I totally changed the tracks I was planning to attend. Instead, the main sessions I went to were on Instagram marketing, analytics, video and personal branding. SMMW18 exceeded my expectations in these areas. I came away learning a great deal. Meeting the other attendees and having conversations with like-minded marketers was also a benefit.

What did you learn at SMMW18 that you can now apply to your company’s challenges (or opportunities)?

One of the first things I put in place when I got back was switching over all the websites I manage from analytics tagging to Google Tag Manager. It sounds simple, but it was not something I had considered before. Additionally, learning about how to use Instagram stories effectively has helped my clients. I met Samantha Kelly, known as the @Tweetinggoddess, at one of the functions, and I realized that Twitter was a platform I have been neglecting. Samantha got me to reactivate my account, which was interesting as Twitter thought I was a bot since I hadn’t posted in a few years!  So, it’s important to post regularly. Similarly, I realized that I haven’t been using the LinkedIn platform to its fullest. Now I have started writing business-based articles on LinkedIn and leaving marketing related articles for my blog.

Give us an example of a social media program or activity that worked well for your company, and share why you think it worked so well.

I manage the social media for a hotel, the Ramada Suites, and my goal has been to create an Instagram feed that was based on what to do in the area: shopping, attractions, restaurants and bars. This is working well because the local businesses we feature are supportive and it has raised the awareness in our location where approximately 30% are guests are local. We rarely promote the business on an organic Facebook feed. However, after SMMW18, I put into place an Instagram and Facebook competition campaign with regular posts. The competition was to “share” and “like” the picture and tag a friend. This contest has had a great reach and awareness outcome for the hotel, especially for prior guests who have commented on their enjoyable stay and want to come back.

We just met with another client and decided to do a series of videos about eating a calorie-laden meal from Hungry Jacks (that’s Burger King for Americans), and then do a workout which was monitored electronically to see how long it would take to burn the calories. It was impossible; 3000 calories consumed and approx. only 600 calories could be burned. That video had over 500 views in one day, and we live in a population of only 120,000 people. There were 6 videos and the total views were in the 1000’s. These videos are now being repurposed and put together as one video about how you can’t out-train a bad diet. The main video will be on YouTube and then shared on all of the social media platforms. What I learned at SMMW18 was it is not necessarily about the numbers of followers or likes, it is about the quality and engagement of those customers and leads. In both instances described above, the viewings and interaction were up to 3x more than the number of followers that the pages had.

What social media tactic do you want to try but haven’t yet?

Contrary to my advice below, I have not tried out video (personally, I don’t like it). If it isn’t constructed well, it can be a waste of time. At SMMW18, there were three companies selling video apps (Promo, Animoto and Wave.Video) that allow you to construct your own videos using stills or video with text and music overlays. I subscribed to Wave.Video and will put that in place for my clients and myself. It’s scary to think of doing video, but it’s not about looks or appearance, it’s about the message. We had a cyclone here in Australia, Cyclone Marcus, which was the strongest we’ve had in over 41 years! Despite the power outages, the whole community was sharing updates and support on all channels of social media. One lady who owns a dog walking company was posting regular live video throughout the storm on tips to look after your pets during the emergency. This was invaluable and I’m going to have to follow suit.

What tip do you have for folks that are just starting out in social media?

Just start. Choose the platforms that will work best for your target market and not the ones you prefer to use. If you don’t understand or like a platform, get someone else to do it for you. There’s always an app.

Don’t focus on numbers, focus on engagement and results. Take your phone out with you outside of work situations to capture images that are interesting or useful on social media. No one wants to see stock photos, and everyone enjoys original content. Most of all, be yourself and have fun.  Your personality and your company’s personality should shine through. Social media is meant to be enjoyable. If you get a negative review or comment, address it professionally. People expect to see bad reviews, because some people can just be jerks, but generally, your community will see through it and you can’t be perfect all the time.

Follow Michelle on LinkedIn.

Thanks, Michelle, for letting us get to know you and hear about your journey in social media.  

You may also be interested in our other Social Media Marketing World blog posts and attendee interviews: