We hope you have been enjoying the Social Leaders series. If you haven’t seen the earlier interviews, you can find the link to the previous posts here.
Today we hand over to Rebecca Jeffery. She is perhaps best known for being a contestant on the 2016 series of BBC TV’s The Apprentice. When she isn’t hanging out with Alan Sugar, she runs a design and marketing business with her sister. Fi and Becs Design and Marketing provide branding, design and copywriting for businesses of all sizes, and Rebecca credits social media as being a big driver for them in terms of business growth and connecting with customers.
Watch Rebecca talking about using social for her business:
Or just check out the transcript below….
What are your social media platforms of choice and why?
The social media that we have used in our business has actually changed as our business has evolved. We’ve been going for three years now. When we first started our business, the first thing we did, literally over a cup of tea, was start a website called Fi and Becs. Then we started Facebook and Twitter. For us, Facebook and Twitter for the first, maybe, two years were the most useful social media platforms.
Facebook we very much used like a community. We built our following – now it is getting to about 1,000 – but that community has been really, really valuable. It gets a lot of interaction, a lot of engagement, it’s a lot of our previous clients. We also find that people follow us for about six months just to see what we do and then suddenly message us and say that they would like to work with us. So Facebook for us has been a lot of direct messages – we actually get work directly a lot through Facebook.
On the Twitter side of things, I love Twitter to pieces. My sister, Fi, who I run the business with, loves it a little bit less. I’m the Twitter fiend! We use Twitter and have got loads of work just off the back of Twitter. We see Twitter almost as a way of being connected to your local community.
In the last year, that has really evolved. We have gone from Facebook and Twitter really into Instagram, heavily. Both of us used it for ages personally, but last year we started our business Instagram accounts and they have boomed. We now get a lot of likes and engagement, but again a lot of interest from clients from our posts on Instagram.
How has your use of social media benefited you in your leadership role?
For someone starting a business from scratch with absolutely no budget – I had no funding, no grant, no loan, I literally just had a laptop, my sister had a laptop and we just started a business – social media has been invaluable. It is has been the way essentially that we started a business that now has 120 clients. We haven’t had a marketing budget, we haven’t spent any money on our own marketing, but through our use of Facebook and Twitter we have been able to collect clients and we have been able to share the work that we have done with those clients.
One of the reasons that we say we have been quite successful is that every single time we have done a project and it has launched, say the relaunch of a brand or a website or some copywriting, the second we have finished it and the client has said it is great, we post about it on our social media channels. We would add it straightaway. Add it to the website, tell everybody about it on Facebook, tell everybody about it on Twitter. And purely by telling everyone about it, and saying what we were doing, we existed.
What, if any, downsides do you see to being a leader on social media – and what do you do to avoid them?
The downsides I suppose of being on social media and having a big presence – or a “followed” presence – on social media, is that we have found people replicating our work. That doesn’t really bother us that much. We are quite happy for people to copy us – it is a good compliment, isn’t it, when someone copies what you are doing? But because we are really open and honest on our social media channels, so on Twitter and on Facebook, we say “this is some work that we have done, have a look at it, isn’t it nice?” Or we say “I’m sitting today working on this copywriting for this client” and I usually tag the clients in it. The downside could be that my competitors know at any given moment exactly what I am doing and the work that I have just done.
How have you used social media to connect with customers?
The thing I love about the way we use our social media is that all the people that are looking to work with us know that we are not lying, because every single post I do about work I have done, I tag the client in it. I am not embellishing or lying or using old work, because I can’t because I am tagging the clients in it all the time.
What advice would you give to other leaders who want to use social media?
This piece of advice would be exactly the same if you were a tiny little startup company or if you were a CEO of a business wanting to have your own personal brand on social media. Pick the social media that you actually like using, and that you enjoy, and that you will want to keep using in a year’s time. Because there are so many people out there who start social media accounts because they think they should and they use the wrong channel for them. They will maybe start a Facebook group when actually they are not really sure what they are going to do with that Facebook group or they will start an Instagram account and not post anything on it for six months.
There is absolutely no point starting a social media channel for yourself or your personal brand or your business if you are not going to enjoy using it and use it a lot.
So the best advice I can give is: pick the social media that suits your personality and enjoy using it and actually use it, because that is the valuable way you can use any piece of social media.
Thank you to Rebecca for sharing her knowledge and experience.
Next up on the #SocialLeaders Series is Phil Jones, MD of technology firm Brother, on what he believes being a social leader is all about.