Is social media a serious issue? | Q&A

"Social media isn’t for everyone and it’s worth exploring whether it is relevant in your business model at this time," Clare social media guru Nan Berrett said.
"Social media isn’t for everyone and it’s worth exploring whether it is relevant in your business model at this time," Clare social media guru Nan Berrett said.

Social media has grown so rapidly over a short period of time and has claimed some casualties who have entered the networking world without the skills or respect needed in the process.

While there can be dangers in being active in this environment, there is also an immense power prevalent in adopting social networking – especially when it comes to building relationships with customers and clients. 

Many larger companies have seen this potential and are now employing people with the sole purpose of managing social media accounts; one example is UniSA, which recently advertised for a social media officer.

Some individuals are even building entire careers as a result of becoming social media influencers and are able to earn a decent living through tweeting and sharing.

Understanding social media and identifying which platforms to use and which to be wary of is fundamental to running a business or online identity.

This could be as simple as understanding the settings tab and ensuring users know what information they are in fact sharing.   

To educate the public about this, workshops in social media – for both personal users and professionals – are happening in the Mid North.

One will be held by Adelaide-based digital design studio Quisk on April 3 in Clare, and another hosted by the Zonta Club of Clare and Districts next Tuesday, March 21.

We caught up with local social media educator Nan Berrett – who will be hosting the Zonta workshop – to find out how important it is to be skilled in social media use.

How important is it for a business to establish a strong social media presence in the world today?

Building relationships with customers and clients has always been, and will continue to be important for businesses to thrive. With more and more enterprises establishing online marketplaces, some exclusively and some in addition to their bricks and mortar presence, it has become increasingly relevant to build a ‘tribe’ or following via social media.

In the same way as you would respond immediately to a client face to face, those who interact with your brand on social media also need a friendly and positive response in a timely manner.

However, social media isn’t for everyone and it’s worth exploring whether it is relevant in your business model at this time.

Is it a good idea to hire an expert to manage social media for your business if you choose to go ahead with it as a platform for you business?

It’s worth talking to a social media consultant in the first instance to properly set up your business page and discuss management options.

Is a personal Facebook, Twitter or other social media profile as important to manage professionally as a business one is?

Business owners need to carefully consider their personal posts on social media as these can reflect back on their own business presence. In the same way, staff also need to consider their personal posts, particularly if they identify with the business where they work. This can be outlined in a business social media policy.

What's the most common mistake everyday people make on social media?

Oversharing personal information and not having their security settings set appropriately.

Is there such a thing as a ‘Social Media Expert’? 

Like most things, there is no such thing as an expert – just people who know a lot about a subject – but they should always be learning.

As far as social media consultants go, it is an expert role because it requires constant updating of skills, keeping up with frequent changes on social media platforms and being able to share that knowledge appropriately with clients, depending on their needs.

Those who work in the social media environment acquire knowledge through constant training, research and networking with other professionals, not all of which is applicable or relevant to every business they provide support for, but which provides a solid background to point businesses of all types in the right direction on their social media journey.

Where can people find out more tips and advice about using social media effectively?

They can do some research on the internet, searching for specific questions, or they can watch out for social media workshops or contact someone who works in the social media business space, like me.

Ms Berrett will host a workshop at the Clare Town Hall on March 21 from 7pm. She said the public is welcome to join but numbers will be strictly limited due to space.

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