Should we believe the hype about Facebook addiction? And how are social networks changing the way we communicate? Lisa Peyton, adjunct professor of Digital Strategies at Portland State University and award-winning social media marketer, shares her thoughts on connecting with online audiences and creating a great user experience.
How did you get into digital marketing and which part of it do you find most rewarding?
I started off building websites and quickly realised that all of my web clients wanted to be found on Google. This forced me to learn about digital marketing and I never looked back.
Over the years, I moved from the more technical side of web development and SEO to blogging and social media marketing. I love teaching my clients how to better engage their online communities. I feel like I’m an advocate for their online customers and prospects, ensuring they have an awesome brand experience.
Digital technology – is it all good? Should we embrace all new technologies and digital innovations?
This is a great question. My personal point of view is to embrace technology and learn how to harness it for good.
I try to fight against all the hype out there about internet addiction, Facebook addiction and short attention spans.
The studies just don’t back up this position, plus it’s way too late to put the genie back in the bottle, as they say.
I feel that the benefits of digital technology far outweigh any ill effects. However, digital technology is still in its infancy and improvements need to be made.
This is what spawned my interest in media psychology. I wanted to help to make digital media and technology better for humans, to enrich the human experience.
Social media has changed the way we communicate. But is social media for everybody? Who should use social media and what are its most useful features?
Social media isn’t for everybody. Chances are that if you are out in the world, living a ‘normal’ life – you are on social media somewhere. I know quite a few people who prefer to try and live off the grid, but that is getting incredibly hard to do.
I am a private person myself but would prefer to share my own updates on social media, instead of standing on the sidelines. What I can’t stress enough is that social media isn’t about selling a product or service. Social media is about relationships, support, connections, emotions, values and community. If a company or brand can’t figure out a way to build those things using social media – they shouldn’t be there.
What should a company consider before getting into social media or starting a social media campaign?
Hah – I think I just answered that question. One key factor is determining the social needs of your online audience is asking why they’re using social media. I can tell you it’s not to buy a product. They might want to connect with friends and family on social media or meet new friends.
The companies that have been the most successful at weaving social media into their marketing have managed to help their online audience meet their social needs.
Do you have a favourite social network and/or online tool?
My favourite social network is Twitter! I love it. It is probably one of the most misunderstood networks and I constantly have to try and explain its value to my clients. I love the real-time nature of updates and the ability to build friendships with people I admire.
From e-learning to automated social media, the online world keeps changing. What are the most important trends we should pay attention to in 2015?
This is a tough question. The hot social networks keep shifting. The stats say Facebook has turned into a platform for the over-30 crowd, and all the kids are on Snapchat.
It’s important to not focus on the platform but to focus on the people. Know as much as you can about your target audience, their online behaviors, their social needs and pain points – this will help you stay relevant.
If you aren’t marketing to mobile, you’re already behind the curve. Desktops are a thing of the past and marketers need to embrace tablets and smartphones.
But that comes back to ensuring a great user experience and knowing your audience. If I want to download your white paper or fill out your form, you better make damn sure I can do it from my phone.
*Photo credits: maigi / Shutterstock.com