Iceni talks social media to…Andrea Smith
Andrea Smith, Marketing Manager & Senior Associate at Fosters Solicitors.
What does your role within Fosters Solicitors as Marketing Manager & Senior Associate involve? I am responsible for raising the profile of Fosters through community sponsorships, business and charity partnerships, traditional advertising, promotions, website and social media.
Can you give us a brief run down on how you use social media to interact with potential clients? Community engagement is at the heart of our sponsorships and charity support so it makes sense for us to use social media to engage with those groups online.
Social media really supports the company website eg by linking articles back to the website it enables the reader to look for more expert information should they need it while also providing an easy way of making contact.
I like to think that our social media accounts are user friendly and easy to understand whilst the use of Q&As allows us to highlight changes in the Law. Once we have been found on social media I would hope that we are seen as experts in our field by potential clients.
A lot of our work comes as a recommendation from existing clients so its really important that we have a presence online that is easily accessible when clients are doing their homework into who and why they should use a solicitor.
How do you use social media as a tool for your existing clients? Fosters social media is managed in house which means that clients have another way of contacting someone out of office hours if necessary. It is also used to highlight special offers and community events to which we welcome all clients new and old to attend.
Which social media platforms do you use and why? i.e Hootsuite, TweetDeck, etc? Hootsuite, because it is so straightforward! Scheduling articles has its place in social media, but the whole concept for me is about engaging during live time so if you see a tweet go out from any of the Fosters accounts it means that there is someone at the other end of the account who you can be interactive with.
There are quite a few networking hours on Twitter, which is your favourite and why? #Norfolkhour and #Norwichhour are without doubt the most popular locally. Its perfect for Fosters as we have offices covering Norfolk and Suffolk and have our head office in Norwich so its great to keep up to date with other businesses and in turn let others locally know what we are up to.
What is the favourite social media campaign you have managed? I think the best one has been the calibration with other #Norfolkhour businesses with the sponsorship of GoGoKingTut in support of Break Charity. It highlights perfectly how social media transfers from the keyboard to actual business and community relationships.
Which social media experts and/or influencers do you follow? There is always something to learn or something new with social media, and how others interpret or benefit from it. I have been on training courses with Martin Reynolds and Sara Greenfield and there is always something new to come away with. I always touch base with Paul Kirk during #Norfolkhour and meet ups!
What kinds of skills/qualities do you think you need to possess to be a Marketing Manager? I have been at Fosters a lot of years now so I feel I really know the business and what is important to the Partnership in terms of business growth. It`s important to have an approachable personality, to be able to interact with others and build business relationships internally and externally. There are so many areas of marketing it is also important to be willing to embrace new ideas and change. My role is extremely varied so good organisation skills are key, which for me means action lists in order to make the deadlines!
What are your competitors doing on social media? I think every business has seen the need to be open to a wider audience through social media and whilst not all businesses focus on it as part of their marketing strategy they certainly all have a presence.
And finally, what one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out into the world of social media? Remember social media is a form of networking, its important to build relationships with businesses and individuals online but also show the human side to your account particularly when you are tweeting behind a business logo. I hate to see serial RT’ers its great to spread the message but what value is it really adding unless there is a relationship/ recommendation story behind it.