To explore the wide range of experiences and opinions within the digital business world, we’re running a series of interviews, ‘A Few Minutes With…’.
Today, we’re speaking with IHS’s Head of Digital Media, Kate Pain, based in Reigate.
Could you describe your company’s activity on social networks?
I help manage a press floor. We use social media for push and pull activities. In terms of ‘push’, we publish business news written by our journalists on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ to drive people to our website ihsmaritime360.com. Social media referrals account for up to a third of our web traffic. Additionally, we ‘pull’ information via social media discussions. We ask questions and engage with our social media communities and use their feedback to help shape future content. Social media has also been an important tool to increase our corporate and product awareness, though we keep a strict 90/10 ratio when it comes to the publication of editorial content (90%) and our marketing promotions (10%).
Are there elements of your business now that would not have been possible without social media?
Yes, social media has enabled us to reach our audience in minimal time – irrespective of their geographical location. Conversely, it has also enabled us to source information minute by minute, whereas before journalists’ only option would be to sit on the end of a phone or await an email.
How has your relationship with your customers/clients changed with the dawn of social media?
Social media is a great leveler. We are able to converse with our readers on their platform, at a time that suits them. Due to its convenience we also receive more feedback than ever before and so we have a better understanding of what our readers like/dislike. This is fantastic. Gone are the days when we were writing for a print publication and, bar the odd letter, a largely silent audience.
Which social media campaigns or accounts have really caught your eye recently?
Facebook has proven to be very successful for us this year, though Twitter still holds the top spot in terms of referred traction to our websites. In 2015, we hope to get a better hold on Google+, a platform which we have failed to make great inroads with so far.
What have you found to be the most positive and negative aspects of using social media for your business?
Time is both a positive and negative. We can glean feedback faster than ever before, but equally best practice social media activities take time; you need to have the support of your senior leaders if you are to do the job well. Credibility is also an issue. If you are sourcing information from a social network you need to make the appropriate checks to ensure the information supplied is accurate.
What advice would you give to businesses looking to improve their social media activity?
There are no short cuts, you need to have a working knowledge of social media before you can attempt to lead campaigns. Indeed, it is far better to spend some time listening and experiencing the different behaviours on the platforms, before you try to get others to engage with you. I have worked in digital media since 2006, it has taken years to build an understanding of the behavior and even then rapid change means that you need to be continuously on the ball with your ear to the ground. There’s never a dull moment.