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“Think in terms of building social capital that will generate flows of returns…”

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Ian Gibbins has been involved with social media marketing for 3 years. During that time he’s written a book entitled “The New Guide to Social Media Profits”, started a company and created a loyal client base. Ian has recently been featured in 2 new publications on the subject of social media. He can also be found guest speaking at internet marketing events on the subject of social media, along with holding workshops and seminars around the UK.

I.G. Media Marketing is in business to help companies and organizations engage their potential customers through using various social media platforms, and to give you an understanding of what social media is and what it can do for your business given the many tools that are available.

Ian Gibbins, I.G. Media Marketing Ltd - Author & Guest Speaker

MO: What influenced you to start your own firm instead of working for someone else?

Ian: It had always been a personal goal of mine to start my own firm. I guess it was really a natural progression from what began as a keen interest in how businesses could utilize social media to promote themselves through to the passion I have today for creating bespoke social media strategies for a whole variety of businesses and organizations. I knew the knowledge and experience I had gathered over the few years I’ve been involved in social media would certainly prove to be valuable to many business owners and this has certainly proved to be true. I am fortunate enough to have worked with some wonderful business owners, and now enjoy the total flexibility of planning my schedules with having my own firm, and have thoroughly enjoyed building my personal brand into what it is today.

MO: How do you keep up with the constantly evolving social media landscape?

Ian: This is an extremely challenging part of my business. Clients rightly expect you to be aware of everything that is evolving in the world of social media, and how it will affect them and their business. As new networks arrive on the scene, others will become more irrelevant; and keeping track on all this activity can become very time consuming. I enlist the help on a daily basis from ‘Mashable’, which in my opinion provides the very best daily social media news and updates, I then compliment this with ‘Social Media Today’ and also ‘insidefacebook.com’. I can then convey any relevant findings to my clients via my networks to keep them informed.

MO: What’s your favorite social media tool?

Ian: I would have to say the immediacy of twitter makes it my favorite tool. I feel it allows me to engage with connections on a personal and business level which isn’t always possible across the other networks. I find it’s a great tool for creating initial awareness, before directing the visitor elsewhere; either to a blog post, video or to another social media network, where you can expand on the information you wish to share. I also utilize Hootsuite a great deal, which really helps with updating and messaging; and of course with scheduling for the week ahead.

MO: What are the first steps a business should take when integrating social media into their marketing plan?

Ian: For any business integrating a social media strategy, I always suggest keeping things simple to start with so as not to be overwhelmed. The initial process can be broken down into three parts; 1.Identify a network 2. Engage 3.Monitor. Identify a social network and a blogging platform where your potential customers are already present. Then create an effective profile, and listen to the conversations and the subjects that are being discussed. In the first instance, stick with just the one network to gain your confidence, and begin to engage and interact on a daily basis. Finally ensure you monitor the progress of your campaign at regular intervals by measuring increases in such criteria as traffic to your website, optins or interactions.

MO: With the constant arrival of emerging techniques, products and companies, how do you decide which ones are worth testing out for your clients?

Ian: That’s exactly why I love social media – even if a new product or technique is still in it’s infancy, I guarantee I could find a review from someone who has tested it already! However, I would suggest that to meet the clients’ needs then in the first instance they should be using a well established network. I would be pretty hesitant at suggesting a new technique or product to a client without monitoring it for a period of time. I’m a great believer in testing before recommending.

MO: Can you tell us about the book you wrote and perhaps provide some marketing strategy tips from it?

Ian: It’s entitled “The New Guide to Social Media Profits” and is designed for business owners who understand that social media is an important part of doing business today, and who want to learn how to do it correctly. Whether you’re currently using social media to promote your business or are thinking about doing so, it is important for you to understand how to do it correctly. If you don’t have the right information, it can be easy to botch a marketing campaign or simply run out of ideas.

The book provides 77 stand alone strategies that you can use to integrate social media into your business.

One important inclusion in the book is “thinking in terms of social capital.” When it comes to using any form of social media networks to promote your business, it is always a good idea to think in terms of building social capital that will generate flows of returns over a long period of time. It’s important to understand this because many people treat social media sites like pay-per-click services. That is they expect to see returns immediately after creating their profile and do not understand that the correct way is to build a strong following over a period of time.

Another important inclusion is to remember that “your time is valuable.” As a business owner, you value your time greatly. You know that every move you make impacts the productivity of the entire business – not just your own. This is why it is so important for you to cautiously make time – allocation decisions. When it comes to social media marketing, most would argue that you should err on the side of over engagement, rather than under engagement. I agree with this however, I would suggest that you take steps to automate procedures and to engage customers efficiently.

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