THE BUSI­NESS OF SO­CIAL ME­DIA

GQ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

WHAT DO THE KAR­DASHI­ANS SHARE WITH OUR PRIME MIN­IS­TER? SIM­PLE, THEY KNOW THE POWER OF SO­CIAL ME­DIA IN DRIV­ING MOD­ERN, PRO­FES­SIONAL BRAND­ING. HERE’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT.

Ev­ery CEO should make a big ef­fort to get on­line – it is a su­perb plat­form for see­ing what peo­ple re­ally think about a com­pany, and gives you a voice to en­gage with them,” says the 65-year-old CEO, whose dig­i­tal, ipad-only mag­a­zine ven­ture, Project, has… well, kind of fz­zled out. Em­bar­rass­ingly. “Those busi­nessper­sons who em­brace the rapid changes of the web are those who will be in the best po­si­tion to beneft from them. But more than that, they will have a blast along the way.” Why care about the ad­vice of a failed, sex­a­ge­nar­ian pub­lisher – one who’s ap­par­ently im­mune to hu­mil­i­a­tion? Be­cause many of Sir Richard Bran­son’s other 400plus busi­nesses are go­ing a shade or two bet­ter. Bran­son, net worth $7bn, is the most fam­boy­ant en­trepreneur of our time with a colos­sal dig­i­tal pres­ence (that quote, from his Linkedin In­fuencer blog se­ries, went out to 8.4m fol­low­ers). Plat­forms such as Twit­ter have been around for less than a decade, with ri­vals and co­horts such as In­sta­gram and Pin­ter­est younger still (Linkedin, amaz­ingly, was founded in 2002). But if there was any lin­ger­ing doubt as to so­cial me­dia’s ubiq­uity, it was dis­pelled by a mid-year Nielsen re­port into Face­book. The re­sults were stag­ger­ing – and, from a busi­ness per­spec­tive, too dra­matic to ig­nore. Con­sider the data on its Aus­tralian reach alone: 13 mil­lion ac­tive users, each spend­ing 1.7 hours with Mr Zucker­berg ev­ery day, check­ing in, on av­er­age, 14 times daily. Glob­ally, Face­book or In­sta­gram ac­count for one in ev­ery three min­utes spent on­line. “Busi­ness peo­ple have of­ten asked, ‘What is the ROI on in­vest­ing in so­cial me­dia’, but I per­son­ally see this as a stupid ques­tion,” says Max Doyle, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Syd­ney so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing agency Hello So­cial, which he co-founded in 2011. “The sim­ple fact that there are so many eyeballs on the medium rep­re­sents huge op­por­tu­nity.” In­deed. “And as hu­mans,” adds Doyle, “we’re in­ter­ested in sto­ries about peo­ple. That is why com­pa­nies of­ten try to profle their CEOS such as in the cases of Richard Bran­son or Bill Gates.” Whether CEO or en­trepreneur, or as­pir­ing to be­come one, a strong, pro­fes­sional on­line pres­ence is now es­sen­tial to es­tab­lish you as a thought leader in a specifc busi­ness realm – and this in turn re­it­er­ates the strength of a brand. “So­cial me­dia gives brands the op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with con­sumers in a more per­sonal way, and to give con­sumers a unique insight into the busi­ness,” says Lynette Phillips, CEO of lead­ing lux­ury me­dia agency MAXMEDIALAB, whose clients

“WHAT WORKS FOR THE KAR­DASHI­ANS IS WHAT COULD WORK FOR ANY­BODY, WHICH IS TO­TAL TRANS­PARENCY. FOR SOME IT PAYS TO BE CON­SER­VA­TIVE AND FOR OTH­ERS IT PAYS TO PO­LARISE.”

in­clude Audi, Moët & Chan­don and Pa­tron Tequila, among many oth­ers. Phillips’ own care­fully cu­rated, point­edly-glam­orous In­sta­gram feed is a case in point – it’s a cat­a­logue of sup­port for her clients, events, up­dates on her agency and the odd snap­shot of fam­ily life. “The other thing is that so­cial me­dia has com­pletely opened up net­work­ing – we can now con­nect with other pro­fes­sion­als from around the world. It is a fan­tas­tic way to form busi­ness re­la­tion­ships.” Self-de­scribed ‘growth hacker’ Tomer Garzberg (trans­la­tion: he cul­ti­vates clients’ on­line pres­ence) has done work for busi­nesses in­clud­ing NAB, Stock­land and News (li­censed pub­lisher of GQ Aus­tralia). He’s cur­rently en­gaged in boost­ing the on­line rep­u­ta­tion of a noted, if for the sake of this ar­ti­cle un­named, Aus­tralian startup en­trepreneur whose offine sta­tus (and es­ti­mated worth of $250m) is out of kil­ter with his cur­rent dig­i­tal stand­ing. Even at that level, Garzberg’s client has dis­cov­ered “so­cial proof is re­ally im­por­tant. Ev­ery­one in­ves­ti­gates each other on­line be­fore meet­ing them”.

The key, says Garzberg, is to care­fully con­sider the re­la­tion­ships you want to build, and then to pro­vide con­tent – not just in what you say about your­self as a profle, but in of­fer­ing unique items that con­tin­u­ally re­in­forces a brand, busi­ness or per­sonal. A prime ex­am­ple is the Kar­dashian em­pire (earn­ings last year: $90m), or the Twit­ter-en­abled re­brand­ing of, say, new PM Malcolm Turn­bull or NSW Pre­mier Mike Baird. Then there’s the king of Linkedin’s ‘In­fuencers’, Sir Richard Bran­son. “What works for the Kar­dashi­ans is what could work for any­body, which is to­tal trans­parency,” says Garzberg. “For some it pays to be con­ser­va­tive and for oth­ers it pays to po­larise – and it’s a big mis­take to mix those up. [Re­gard­less] there’s al­ways a core in­gre­di­ent or ide­ol­ogy that you must sub­scribe to, and if your per­sonal brand is sub­scribed to that ide­ol­ogy, all your other brands will beneft from hav­ing what are al­most like rem­nants of that ide­ol­ogy. “When it comes down to it, you just have to be dif­fer­ent and you only have to be slightly dif­fer­ent from nor­mal to be very, very dif­fer­ent in the pub­lic eye.” n

@kimkardashian

“Can’t wait to share this red lip tu­to­rial I did.”

@Bill­gates

“I drank wa­ter made from hu­man fae­ces. Here’s an up­date on the ma­chine that pro­duced that wa­ter.”

@turn­bul­lmal­colm

Aus­tralia’s Prime Min­is­ter reg­u­larly up­dates his In­sta­gram feed, of­fer­ing a var­ied insight into his life, from catch­ing pub­lic trans­port, to meet­ing A-list Hol­ly­wood stars, to catch­ing more pub­lic trans­port.

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