By @SimonCocking. Great interview with Deborah Lee. Social Media Branding and Comms Specialist with a FinTech Focus • Forbes Listed Global Influencer • Powered by lipstick • Mother of future England fly half

What is your background?

B2B sales for around 18 years, mainly in London, selling into accounts such as Citigroup, Lehman Bros, BP and IBM. I gave it up and became self-employed when my son was born – the 6am starts and 8pm finishes weren’t conducive to being a new mum!

How did you end up doing what you do now?

Initially I did some part-time photography, and after I relocated back to my home county of Lincolnshire shortly before my son started school, I turned to social media to drum up some business opportunities. Straight away I was fascinated by it and the potential it could bring if done correctly! Before too long I was being approached by small to medium sized businesses telling me they liked what I was doing online and asking me to help them do the same. Needless to say the photography fell away and I refocused full-time on social media consultancy.

Digital footprints, what do you say to your clients about the important of their online presence?

To be able to answer that I’d need to know what their objectives were. Many clients know they should be doing something but they don’t know what. I work from the onset with them to establish their current business situation is and what their short and long term business objectives are (in the broadest sense, not just in marketing terms). From thereon I demonstrate to them how social media fits in to enable that growth, and at that point they start to appreciate the value in a well-researched strategy.

Why is social media so important for businesses?

Quite simply, it’s because so many people are using social platforms to communicate with each other and to find information, mostly on mobile devices but not exclusively. Businesses need an active presence wherever their target market is spending time.

Your tips for people looking to do well on social media?

Be consistent and prepared for the long haul! It’s amazing how many people think that a couple of weeks of posting what they think is ‘good content’ should be enough to trigger a cascade of inquiries. Also, research your market and establish why they need you. Aimless sales pitches crash and burn very quickly.

Without naming names what avoidable mistakes have you seen companies make with their social media strategy?

They use social media as a bulletin board, and don’t appreciate the two-way nature of the platforms. It’s treated as just another marketing channel.

FinTech, why did you get involved in this area?

The seismic change that’s taking place is fascinating in itself, but gaining the public’s trust is the biggest challenge. The general public is very savvy at best these days (and badly misinformed at worst) so to establish real engagement and interest takes more than a well-designed website. Social media is perfectly placed to enable that.

Do you think traditional banks are adapting quickly enough to the challenges of the coming together of the tech and finance sectors?

I think they’re waking up and starting to make the right noises. The advantage they have in the public’s eyes is that despite the bad press of recent years, they’re a known quantity- and that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Running your own business is tough, how do you manage the work /life, online / offline balance?

I don’t spend every waking hour glued to my iPhone any longer! I have allocated time slots to do what I need to do on social media, and I barely go near it at the weekend. The whole reason I became self-employed in the first place was because I wanted to be a hands-on mum, and that doesn’t work if one is constantly scrolling through a newsfeed!

Who has inspired you?

Honestly, I meet people all the time who absolutely blow my socks off with their talent, vision and attitude. But I guess the first person would have to be my first sales manager, who drilled into me the importance of how we relate to others and the perceptions we can unknowingly leave people with. The ability to form mutually supportive and beneficial relationships is something we’re in danger of losing if we’re not careful.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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