Social Media Expert Interviews: Sarah Worsham
This week Giraffe have had yet another interview with a top social media mind. This week we were lucky enough to speak with Sarah Worsham.
Sarah is the CEO of Sazbean Consulting - a Michigan based web strategy company. They help companies & organisations grow online by creating digital strategies based on customised analysis and achievement of business goals.
Sarah, tell us a little about what it is you do?
We [Sazbean Consulting] help organizations figure out how to use the web and social media in order to meet their business objectives. Websites, social media, search engines and other types of online marketing tactics can be powerful tools if organizations use them properly. We help them figure out how.
Tell us about the journey you undertook to get you where you are now? Where did you start?!
Well, I started programming on the web in college (where I got a computer engineering degree). After college I worked on large e-commerce sites like Eddie Bauer and 1-800-flowers. Then I went off on my own for awhile creating websites for small businesses. I wanted to get more experience on higher-end technology, so worked at a B2B media company managing all their websites (over 100), as well as their online strategy. Late 2008, I wanted to go back to my own business and also take the opportunity to get my MBA from the University of Michigan, so I left to focus on Sazbean Consulting.
How important would you say having a social media presence is for businesses these days?
This actually depends on the type of business you have, but almost all businesses should at least have a website that's useful to their potential customers, which usually means more than just being a sales brochure. Also, social media can mean a lot of different things, from participating on discussion boards, to contributing to online publications, to more mainstream social media like Facebook and Twitter. What types of social media are important to a particular business will depend on where their potential customers are online. But yes, using various tools, either online or off, to build relationships is key to any organization.
What three bits of advice would you give a business that is taking their first steps into the world of social media?
The most important thing in social media is to really understand the need and wants of your customers. Gone are the days of a cute ad or catchy jingle. Customers want to know what's in it for them, and that goes beyond just advertising to them. The best thing to do when getting started with social media is just to listen. Do some searches, check out industry associations and publications and find out where your customers are online. Then, just listen to what they're saying. You'll find out a lot about what concerns them, what they want and need. And then you can look at ways to fulfill those needs with your products and content. The great thing about social media is that gives you access to information you used to have to pay big bucks for in a market research study. Doing a good job of listening on social media can really impact your business by providing value to your customers in both your products and your content.
What do you think the future holds for social media?
It's not really the future, but mobile is going to continue to affect online marketing. People will be connecting to your online presences and content from a variety of devices, which means serving those devices, as well as the different types of needs people have when using different devices. For example, when you look up a business from your mobile phone, you're probably most interested in the phone number or address (or maybe the menu if it's a restaurant). When you're at your computer, you have a bigger screen, and so are more likely to browse for more in-depth information. How businesses are able to serve different need at different times is going to be a big driver with their use of social media, at least in the near future.
What is the coolest fact about Giraffes you know?
Even with that long neck, Giraffes have the same amount of vertebrae as humans as most other mammals - 7!
You can keep up to date with what Sarah Worsham is up to by following here Twitter here.