Tom Williamson (Twillyon) Interview

I met Tom Williamson after I made a comment on his blog, he saw it and clicked through to my blog then clicked on to my linked in profile and asked to join my network. I love what social media can do for networking. Tom is the founder of Twillyon, a Social Media Marketing firm, and was nice enough to agree to be interviewed for my blog. I caught up with him at The Highway on Thursday March 17th and picked his brain for a little over an hour. He is very charismatic and knowledgeable about his craft. As I asked each question, his answers came bursting out of him and I had to scramble to get everything down. My questions are in italics followed by Tom's dot-pointed answers.

Social Media Marketing General

How can social media benefit businesses?

  • It can support offline marketing, enhancing and increasing reach.
  • Social media can build extensive reach... much further than traditional marketing methods.
  • Building relationships with existing and potential clients.
Can every type of business get some benefits? (including, for instance, B2B?)
  • It can benefit those businesses who's clients are using social media. Be where your clients are.
  • Start listening and monitoring, search for your brand, your competitors and monitor.
  • Use Social Mention and Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your brand, on websites, social media, blogs, forums etc.

What type of businesses get the greatest benefits?
  • Businesses that have a quirky and left field marketing strategy for their demographic tend to fit social media better but it does depend on the market and demographic.
Is social media most beneficial for maintaining a relationship with current customers or gaining new customers?
  • Existing customers- Make them into brand advocates, social media is good for that. Show appreciation for their custom and leave them with a positive and personalised experience which they'll hopefully share with their friends.
  • New customers- Raising brand awareness and brand frequency. You dictate how many 'slots' you get unlike radio and TV.
How can/should social media be used in conjunction with other marketing channels?
  • Use it to support other marketing channels, tie together and integrate with technology such as QR codes.
  • If you have invested in a great offline strategy, convert that into online media to create a great social media strategy
Where is the social media marketing industry heading? What are some of the trends you are seeing? What are some of your predictions for the future?
  • Privacy will become less and less prevalent. Mark Zuckerberg commented in an interview that he predicts a future where the only private information will be the thoughts in our heads.
  • People are becoming more contactable.
  • Everything will become one step away making things quicker and more convenient.
  • There will be a rise in location based services... including virtual and physical rewards.
  • Individual customers will feel less and less like a statistic. They will expect businesses to engage with them and provide customised service.

The Different Social Media Tools/Sites

How do businesses choose which social media tools are right for them?
  • Find out where your market is.
  • New services emerging for different types of businesses such as GetGlue for checking into TV programs and movies you are watching and even celebrities you're talking about, wine you're drinking, books you're reading, and games you're playing.
  • Linkedin can be useful for B2B.
  • Get to know the services and platforms and focus your efforts on where your target market is.
Is it better to do a little on a lot of sites or a lot on a few sites?
  • Again, go where your market is.Start off small.. gradually move into new tools.
  • Time is a factor for most people so monitoring and listening is very important.
Is there much difference between the people/communities who use the different tools?
  • Twitter: The Adelaide community seems to be skewed towards female in the 35-50 age range.
  • Facebook: Changes depending on the demographic.
What are your Best Practice recommendations?
  • Be the voice of your company. If different people are posting, they should have a different voice but the message should remain consistent.
  • It's ok to use slang and abbreviations appropriate to your market but don't swear.
  • Be in direct contact with the clients.
  • Facebook:
    • Always have at least 2 page admins to avoid ownership of the page being passed to a 3rd party if admin's profiles are deleted.
    • When writing on third party pages as your page, add your name at the end of the post e.g. ^Nick.
    • For comments relating to business, post as your page but for more personal comments post as yourself (relates to recent Facebook changes allowing you to switch between using Facebook as your page and using it as yourself).
  • Twitter:
    • If there are multiple people posting, use the brand name as your Twitter account name and each person put their initials at the end of their posts. If its just one person posting they can put their own name as the Twitter name.

Statistics & Returns (specifically Facebook & Twitter)

What measurable benefits should businesses see from their social media marketing?
  • You can create coupon campaigns that are only run through social media platforms to measure the sales directly resulting from those platforms.
  • Facebook Pages have statistics available in the back end. It gives you insight into the number of likes and comments your posts receive. The higher this number, the more likely it is for people to see your posts. You also get an impression count, something you don't get from traditional media.
  • There are various social ranking and scoring metrics for Twitter and Facebook, such as Klout, which give you an indication of how interactive and engaging you are and rank you against other people.
What are the other non-measurable or hard to measure benefits of SMM?
  • Its difficult to measure how many of the people who are viewing you on social media are coming to your venue or business. Some people don't just don't use coupons.
  • When your customers have interacted with your brand in several different ways its hard to determine if social media was where they first heard about you or where they were convinced to become a customer.
  • In the future, near field technology could be used to collect data from customers about which networks they are part of.
How regularly should the tools be updated and monitored?
  • Facebook- Whatever you've got time to do, no more than twice a day and at least once every few days.
  • Twitter- As many times as you like, as long as you're not spamming or machine gun posting. You can update every 2 or 3 minutes if you're engaged in a conversation.
How many hours per week need to be invested to manage the account?
  • Bring it into your routine, start off similar to how you check emails. If you check them twice a day then start there and develop a rhythm for yourself based on the tools and the conversations that you're having. It can vary greatly for different people and businesses.
  • A brand such as The Highway can be managed on 30 hours a month with good time management.
Whats the relationship between the amount of effort (or investment) put in and the returns gained (e.g. diminishing returns, exponential increase or straight line relationship.)? How does it compare with other forms of online and offline marketing?
  • Some businesses might not see any benefit. It depends on the level of skill, you must be engaging but you can't be too spammy.
  • In any marketing discipline there are lots of different variables that determine success.
  • Web banners, for example, don't have a great track record and have delivered little return. While the success of TV and radio marketing depends on the skill and efforts of the creative team, the call to cation and other things.
  • Social Media gets more impressions and views for your money than traditional marketing.
  • The Highway has seen an increase in business since the started using social media for marketing.
How does the quality (ie. conversion potential) of traffic/leads generated from social media compare to that of other forms of online and offline marketing.
  • Social Media is very much about branding and creating brand advocates and brand awareness.
  • It can also be a vehicle for leads.
  • The amount of time and effort spent may not be directly measurable in terms of leads and conversions.

The Highway

The Highway was your first major project, how did you come up with the Social Media Marketing strategy?
  • It evolved over time.
  • I live and breath the brand, my personality comes through strongly in The Highway's brand.
  • We maintain a quirky and left field attitude not taking ourselves too seriously, it's a marketing strategy which people seem to be attracted to.
How do you measure the success of your marketing efforts?
  • We have events that are only promoted through social media such as our recent Adelaide Cup after party.
  • We use Social Media Monitoring to measure brand frequency and awareness.
  • We have formed a whole new community of guests who's first interaction with us was on Twitter or Facebook and continue to communicate with us in their chosen space. it's great to hear their feedback when they've had dinner with us or dropped in for a drink.
What are some new things you're bringing into your marketing strategy?
  • We're going to start using Instagram, an app like Twitpic to post pics through social media, to display our 'Adelaide's Favourite Sign' photos.
  • We have fallen pretty heavily for QR codes which will hopefully be displayed on all internal and outgoing marketing material by the end of the year.

Social Media Tips

How do you get more fans & followers?
  • Organically.
  • Promote through your offline marketing.Have a 'like' and/or 'follow' button on your website as well as sharing tools on each page.
  • On Twitter having lots of followers may give you some credibility but its more important to get the right followers.Facebook- Organically, get people to interact.
  • Run competitions and campaigns.
  • Be sure to follow Facebook's Terms and Conditions. I have seen several prominent pages with strong followings shutdown for running and illegal competition.
What are 5 simple things anyone can do to improve their Facebook page?
  • Take advantage of the full Facebook profile picture space.Install custom tabs and 3rd party apps to increase your page's stickiness.
  • Have a welcome page where you encourage people to 'like' and become a fan. You can 'fan gate,' e.g. 'click like to see this,' and get them to engage with up to date content.
  • Take advantage of the 5 pictures at the top of your page. For example, if your photo banner isn't filled with photos, create an image that says 'check out my blog,' then at the bottom of the full sized picture you include a link to your blog. The maximum photo size is approx 970 x 689.
What should you do before you launch your social media marketing strategy?
  • Listen and monitor to find out where people are.
  • Find out what they are saying, is it right for you?
  • Spend some time in the space, learn the tools and go from there.
Any other tips?
  • Be creative.
  • Be prepared to cop negative feedback, its a good thing.
  • Be honest.
  • Be human.

Thanks very much to Tom for agreeing to be interviewed. You can find Tom's contact details and some more information about his company, Twillyon Social Media Solutions, at their company profile.

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1 Response to Tom Williamson (Twillyon) Interview

  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent post Nick and Tom! Very informative and I got some good ideas from it while reinforcing other ideas I have had. :)

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