It is time for another Giraffe Expert Interview, which this week is with Guy Clapperton.
Guy speaks regularly on social media and did so in seven countries in 2011. He has written two books on the subject, “This Is Social Media” and “This Is Social Commerce”. He has also been a journalist since 1989, primarily in the technology and small business arena. He has been a media trainer since 2002 and has broadcast regularly for a number of years on the BBC News Channel. He is an associate member of the Professional Speaking Association.
Guy, tell us a little about what it is you do?
I’m a speaker, journalist and author. You’re probably getting in touch because I’ve written a couple of books on social media, “This Is Social Media” and “This Is Social Commerce”, which have led me to speak on social media in ten countries over the last year, spanning two continents.
Tell us about the journey you undertook to get you where you are now? Where did you start?!
When I’m Prime Minister the word “journey” is going to be illegal unless it involves actual travel! My background is that I became a journalist full time in 1989 and noticed someone looking at conferencing systems/bulletin boards in the corner, asking people questions and communicating when he hadn’t met them. This struck me as useful and when I went freelance in 1993 I adopted it immediately, joining a conferencing system called Cix, and later CompuServe and AOL.
How important would you say having a social media presence is for businesses these days?
Vital but becoming less and less interesting. In 1997 we would have shouted about having a website, it was new and exciting. In 2008 I wrote a book that spent some time explaining how to set up a Twitter feed and what Facebook actually was. Things have moved on very quickly and I think we’re now at the stage where yes, you need social media but you need a lot more besides – it shouldn’t be an end in itself.
What three bits of advice would you give a business that is taking their first steps into the world of social media?
1. Listen rather than be salesy. Establish yourself as someone who really knows your field and people will come to you for goods and services; push the offer of the week at them constantly and they won’t.
2. Ask your clients and prospects which social media they use – don’t spend ages on LinkedIn and then find your customers are all on Facebook.
3. Above all else make sure it’s part of a business plan and part of what you do – not something that’s out there on a limb and an end in itself.
What do you think the future holds for social media?
It’s going to be more and more mainstream, which has happened to a very large extent already. Mobile is increasing and that’s going to go further, which probably means location-based services are going to increase.
What is the coolest fact about Giraffes you know?
Giraffes very rarely bother me on Twitter telling me what they had for breakfast. I like giraffes.
As Guy mentioned he is the author of two books: ‘This is Social Commerce: Turning Social Media into Sales‘ and ‘This is Social Media: Tweet, Blog, Link and Post Your Way To Business Success‘ – both books are well worth a read.
Image source: allthepeople.net