Ben Teoh on Social Media Marketing (Interview)

I recently talked to Ben Teoh, Organiser and Social Media Master for the Adelaide Flash Mob and other projects, about social media marketing. (My questions are in italics).

What projects are you currently using Social Media to promote?

At the moment, my main long term projects are Adelaide Flashmob and Play Adelaide. Both are community groups which reside mainly on Facebook, but also have a presence on Twitter, and Adelaide Flashmob also has its own website. On more of a short term basis, I’ve been helping small businesses around Adelaide develop their Facebook presence with one-on-one training, and also developing custom tabs and landing pads for their Facebook pages.

What are some of the strengths of social media for getting your message out?

It’s where the people are. Everyday, people are using sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for their information and to keep track of what’s going on around them. Information is no longer broadcast, but shared – it’s like word-of-mouth on steroids. If you told me a couple of years ago that I’d be getting contacted by people in Scotland and California asking how to run a flashmob event that they’d seen on our website, I would have laughed.

What do you think of the recent changes to Facebook's Pages and Groups functions?

The updates Facebook brought to their Pages and, more recently, Groups means that it is a lot easier now to engage people directly. Pages offer a lot more flexibility in how to get your updates out by posting to people’s newsfeeds. The new Groups are great as they offer notifications to new posts – something which was lacking from the original groups.

Is there any real difference between facebook and twitter? How do the cultures of the two communities differ? Do you use different strategies for each?

Both are fairly different in how they’re used and how you interact with people. For me, in terms of information, Twitter seems a lot like a rapid burst of updates and retweets. It seems harder to engage in conversations, but it’s a great way to share quickly and broadly. It’s very much about who you follow, who follows you, tagging and the all important retweet. It's a great way to engage new people who may not of heard of you before.

Facebook has the capacity to offer much richer content, but also requires greater focus on a number of areas such as your tabs, cross tagging, events, photo albums etc. Over Twitter, it allows for greater community development and building stronger relationships with customers

Learning how to use either platform effectively takes time. There are ways to have the two talking to each other, but to do that well without it look like you’re just dumping your tweets to facebook or the other way around, takes an understanding of both.

You also use a blog for the Adelaide Flash Mob, how does that compare to your use of social media? Does it serve a different purpose or audience?

Blogs allow you to splurge a little more in the word department. If you’d like to say something more than 140 characters (for example a report or review) or you’d like a way to add additional media (images and video) to what you want to say, then blogs are great. I’d still consider blogs in the realm of social media, because they still tend to be fairly personal. Sites such as Wordpress, Tumblr and Blogger bring even more of a social aspect to blogs as they provide ways people to follow, reblog and share your blog posts. They also act as a way to engage those people who aren’t on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you have any tips for organisations/ businesses wanting to get started in social media?

Take your time and plan it out. Social media’s fairly fresh, and needs to be approached strategically. Understand each of the platforms before launching into it. Also, learn how each of them interact with each other so you can work efficiently.

Do you have any tips for creating an engaging Facebook profile image?

I use Adobe Fireworks personally, but there are plenty of other free image editing programs out there. You basically want something that’s 200x600 pixels – and be creative with it. There’s a lot you can do with a good profile image. If you’ve got the time to learn and to design, then do it!

Thanks to Ben for taking the time to share his thoughts and experiences on Social Media Marketing.

Ben Teoh is the Chief Organiser and Social Media Master of the Adelaide Flash Mob. He also runs the Play Adelaide Facebook page and Twitter account @playadelaide and helps small businesses around Adelaide develop their Facebook presence with one-on-one training, and developing custom tabs and landing pads for their Facebook pages. You can find him on Linkedin and Twitter @HelloBenTeoh.

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