KCFreePress.com and contributing writer Katy Ryan released an article today highlighting some local KC businesses that are seeing a positive difference to their bottom line due to their online efforts. Our CEO Lisa had the pleasure of working withKaty to help prepare the social media and marketing strategy portion of the article. She was kind enough to include a quote from us so we wanted to return the favor by posting her article. In case you’re interested we added the full excerpt of Lisa’s interview with Katy following the conclusion of the article.
How to make social networking work for businesses
Businesses’ growing use of these services to communicate directly with customers has spawned an industry of social media marketing consultants, like Overland Park-based Evans Media Group. President and CMO Paul Evans said the company became an early adopter of social media about three years ago when it started advising clients to get on Facebook, FriendFeed and others.
Paxton and Evans said that by using social networks properly, companies can raise awareness and increase engagement of customers. “That’s the huge piece,” Paxton said. “The people who interact become brand evangelists so quickly. Others will say good things about you, and that’s the value of social media and what you can’t easily quantify or turn into an ROI.”
Here is the full excerpt of the email interview Lisa had with Katy:
1. What prompted you to become involved in social media?
I began participating in social media back in 2004 when I joined LinkedIn as a way to network professionally with colleagues outside my local area. I have always been one to enjoy connecting with others so participating in online communities was a no brainer for me. I love to learn from others, talk with others and share my opinion and social media enables me to do all three…sometimes at the same time! I’m a wife, mother and business owner so finding time to “read the world” and “engage” during normal hours is almost impossible. Social media is a 24X7 world letting me participate when it’s convenient for me. I also love the global aspect…it isn’t uncommon on Twitter to get in to conversations with people from Australia, England, or India to name just a few. To have the ability to see the world through their eyes and from their perspective is pretty powerful.
2. What role does an organization like SMCKC play in cultivating the local social media landscape, and how does it help individuals and businesses learn the social media tools they need to succeed?
SMC brings together people who are intensely and actively immersed in various aspects of social media for marketing, customer care, promotion, fundraising, employee communications and virtual networking, so that they can learn from each other and band together to achieve business goals. With over 1,000 members, SMCKC serves as a great resource for members, the community and local businesses alike to hear about the quickly changing landscape we call the internet and embrace new practices and tools to enhance and extend their brand. We have members who are respected as industry leaders and often speak at local, regional and national events sharing with others how best to adopt social media in to their day-to-day business operations.
3. What, in your opinion, are the benefits of a business using social media over more traditional forms of advertising?
It’s not an either/or… really, all forms of promotion – traditional, experiential and digital – are all needed. It’s just that companies now have more avenues available for budgets of all sizes, and the benefit of many free-to-use tools that allow them to both promote and communicate with fans and brand enthusiasts. It can be more fulfilling to do a Facebook campaign, or post an ad on YouTube, and get immediate response and sense of enthusiasm, than to put an ad in a newspaper and wait to see if anyone walks into the store or picks up the phone because of it. Organizations have to be prepared, though… the more passive traditional marketing and advertising methods don’t have the consequence of many people talking about them (both positively and negatively) and some companies handle this new realm of promotion better than others.
4. Are there any KC businesses that you think do an exemplary job of using social media?
I think what is most exciting is how Kansas City isn’t just doing a great job using social media but is well regarded as a strong leader in the industry. We have companies like H&R Block, Garmin and Sprint who are well-known and have been recognized for their social media efforts. What I think is even more telling is how our small businesses are benefiting from expanding their reach through social media. I love to use Grass Pad as a great example of how small businesses can leverage Facebook to connect with a bigger audience… they are a local small business with over 1,500 fans on their facebook page. You will see their Facebook Wall is buzzing with activity including questions, comments and an overall appreciation for how the company is helping their customers. What I think is great about social media is the numerous benefits it offers to businesses when they actively participate within the various communities, forums, and networks. Social Media is more than just a new form of marketing, it can truly serve as the catalyst to knock down the silos’ and help a business take better care of their customers during the entire lifecycle..from lead generation, service delivery, to customer care.
5. What’s on the horizon for SMCKC in 2010-11?
We have many things on our plate for 2010…in fact we just announced our annual membership plan at our breakfast this past Friday. We just recently put in place an Executive Board at the end of 2009 so this was a great exercise in thinking about our foundational elements. Our plan was built with three primary pillars in mind…our membership, our community and our businesses. We identified four goals; Establishment, Contribution, Outreach and Fun. We think developing our efforts in these key areas will help us mature as an organization (we are less than 2 years old) while holding true to our fun grass roots philosophy that we believe has been the primary factor in our fast paced growth.
6. Anything else?
Thank you for the opportunity to share a little bit about SMCKC and the world of social media in general. You can learn more by visiting http://socialmediakc.com