Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Sandra Fathi. Here’s that interview
About the interviewee
Sandra Fathi is the Founder and President of Affect, a public relations, social media and marketing agency in New York. She has over 15 years of marketing and communications experience, helping companies devise and carry out successful strategic plans. Prior to founding Affect in 2002, Sandra led corporate communications and investor relations for RADVISION, a provider of video conferencing infrastructure products. Earlier in her career, she was on the technology team at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, where she specialized in the networking, telecommunications, computer hardware, software and Internet business verticals. While at Edelman, some of Sandra’s clients included Ericsson, EDS and Microsoft.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Affect is a boutique public relations, social media and marketing agency, located in New York City, with 20 employees. Established in 2002, the company specializes in technology, healthcare and professional services. Affect employs a results-driven approach to communications, crafting one-of-a-kind programs to help clients achieve their business goals.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
We work mainly with professional services, healthcare and technology companies in the B2B space. Our clients consist of companies of all sizes – from large utility companies to mid-size tech consultancies to entrepreneurial start-ups. We also work with a diverse range of corporations, with some international organizations headquartered in Germany, Israel, India and the United Kingdom.
What comes to mind when you see this topic (How effective is social media in growing a business?)?
Social networks allow companies to find potential customers, generate leads, build and manage their reputation, source employee candidates and introduce and test new concepts for sales and marketing. In today’s competitive environment, businesses cannot afford to ignore social media. With more than a billion active users on Facebook and an average of 500 million tweets sent per day, social media is a direct conduit to customers. Not every platform is relevant to each business and just like in traditional marketing, businesses need to target their audiences. If they are congregating in LinkedIn groups, on Google+ or in Yahoo groups for example, you need to go where your customers or prospects are. In addition, social media engagement is very cost effective and allows for immediate results. With traditional media, you might put up a billboard on the highway and wait weeks for a new customer to call. However, with a post on Facebook, you can immediately see how many likes, shares, clicks to your website or uses of a coupon or incentive. The ability to measure success is enhanced and that offers businesses greater flexibility and nimbleness with their campaigns. If it doesn’t work, you can immediately switch gears and stop spending on ineffective tactics.
What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?
1. Have a Strategy – Know exactly what you want to accomplish, who you want to reach and what are key metrics for success. This will keep your program on track and focused. Although social media is free, your time and resources are not. In order to extract ROI from a social media campaign, you must set specific goals and business outcomes in order to gauge what is effective.
2. Communicate, Listen, Provide Value and be Consistent – Building a social media audience takes time. Understanding what your customer or prospects need on social takes time to master. If you become a valuable resource by sharing original content or aggregating useful content from third-party sources, people will want to engage with you.
3. Measure. Tweak. Repeat. – Always measure against your goals and change direction if your tactics aren’t yielding results. If you see that something is performing well, invest more time and resources to develop that channel.