PM Forum - Leeds
Yorkshire members discuss the pros and the pitfalls of social media
The use and usefulness of social media in professional services is a hot topic and members of the PM Forum in Yorkshire got to grips with this at a seminar which discussed the pros and the pitfalls of social media in this sector. Attendees also took part in an on-line survey which revealed which social networks they use professionally and personally.
The survey results were virtually unanimous with 100% of people using more than one social network, 100% using LinkedIn professionally but not exclusively and 89% using both Twitter and LinkedIn. Personally 78% used Facebook but not exclusively, 55% used Twitter (not exclusively), and 45% combining their use. Only 11% used Google+ and that was personally and only 22% used LinkedIn personally.
At the seminar, over 30 people listened to two social media experts – Sam Oakley,a director with the social media PR consultancy Wolfstar and Guy Weston, a social media and digital marketing consultant – explain why professional services companies should engage with social media and how best to go about it. The seminar ended with an open discussion of who was using what and how successful they felt it was.
Sam Oakley opened the seminar discussing the commercial background that has driven the rise of social media – how the modern media landscape has changed and become “global, instant, ubiquitous, social and cheap”.He put social media in context, discussed where social media fits within wider marketing/digital marketing activities and how can it contribute to those efforts.
Guy Weston talked about identifying the role of social media in your organisation, how to identify where social media can add value and where to invest your time. He gave insight into identifying who needs to be involved in social media activity and who should take responsibility for it. Should this be the marketing department or should the rest of the company contribute?
ROI is a much used term in professional services marketing and the ROI of social media was discussed at length – should companies dip a toe into the water before diving in, is this worth it, how long before you can see results and what should the ROI look like? Of interest to most members was how to measure the success of social media and how much of their time social media wouldtake up. The message from the experts was,“it takes time to build a following, be realistic about what you can achieve with your effort and don’t just sell, sell, sell.”
Sam closed the formal seminar with a look at some relevant case studies highlighting some great and some not so great examples in the professional services sector. The session finished with a Q&A which was a lively discussion around best practice and evaluation methods.