Ben Garside: You ignore the power of social media at your peril!

Ben Garside: You ignore the power of social media at your peril!

LAST month, I went through the changes in artificial intelligence, which included driverless cars/taxis, robots that will deliver parcels and takeaways, oh and systems that can write your email subject lines for you.

That’s some crazy innovation right there, and I’m hoping this article can keep your innovative brain flowing…

At the end of April I went to a great event called BrightonSEO. If you’ve not heard of it I would advise that you look it up and if possible get yourself a ticket for the next event.

It is run twice a year by Kelvin Newman and his team and started out in a function room of a pub, with a few digital marketers who were SEO enthusiasts. From what I’ve learnt it has come a very long way and has developed from what was just a search engine optimisation-orientated group to a fully fledged digital marketing conference.

The conference was huge, with approximately 3,500 attendees, and the tickets had sold out in 13 minutes.

People travelled from around the world to gain knowledge and insight, I know of people who came from the USA, Japan and New Zealand – now that’s some commute. So what did I learn, and why am I bringing it up?

Firstly, there are always new things to learn! I learnt a significant amount at BrightonSEO, and I would consider myself well educated in the digital marketing arena.

I’ve attended course after course and been in a non-stop working environment of digital marketing over the past 15 years, but the digital arena is forever changing and evolving, with new developments every day.

There is a struggle to keep on the pulse in this occupation. Secondly, I learnt that Facebook as a medium is easier to get wrong than I’d thought. So many major companies are struggling, and attendees discussed that Wetherspoons had decided to pull its social presence completely but that it was almost impossible.

The reason is that consumers can now add their own location pages. If they start adding images and fake or copied branding, they can then rate your business.

So, even if you’ve decided not to be involved in social media and your dealership doesn’t have a page, it will only take one customer to add your dealership as a location (place) and you will be on social media.

I could go on for hours talking about what I’ve recently learnt but I won’t. Instead, I’d like to give you a couple of tips:

1. Sign up for some additional learning. BrightonSEO was a great fit for me but maybe it’s CDX for you, which has a lot of good content.

This year’s CDX is done and dusted now but there’s always next year’s. Or maybe you want to invest your time in a business management/sales course to sharpen your axe, so to speak.

No matter what you do choose, you’ll see the benefit and it’ll open your mind to innovate within your business.

2. Embrace social media. You’re probably doing so anyway but if not you need to if you want to grow. Consumers will write about you and set up pages for you, even if you’re not on social media yourself. So get your own page set up, because as a company you are expected to reply to any comments and the negative impact can be huge if you choose not to.

Ben Garside is marketing manager for First Response. Call him on 07817 518739 or email ben.garside@frfl.co.uk

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