Online Social Media Q&A with Social Markets' Elena Theodorou

As we fall into fall and prepare for the busy season that is fastly approaching, we put away our summer clothes and break out the sweaters and boots, generally preparing for more inside time.  Most likely this means you will be using indoor technology a lot more.  Whether you use your smart phone, laptop or desktop computer, social networking sites are everywhere, and with it comes the craze of keeping in touch and making business connections.

Have you thought about how Social Media can work for you and your business?

This Q&A will help you learn more about Social Media and how to improve your marketing presence online.  Let me introduce Elena Theodorou, Founder and Director of Social Markets, who is an expert in crafting social media packages  to reach target audiences.  Elena focuses on the Financial Markets industry, and we asked her some commonly asked questions about social media networking sites. We hope  her insight and expertise will help you and your company.

Here we go….

  1. How long have you been working in online social media?
    I have been working in online social media since November 2009. It was a transition I made after engineering my own exit from my position of Global Head of FX eCommerce Sales at JPMorgan. My social media training partner is Fiona Mulliner, a social media and marketing expert with over 20 years’ marketing and commercial development experience with media multinationals News Corporation and BBC Worldwide. By combining my 15 years of Foreign Exchange Sales expertise with Fiona’s Social Media capabilities, we have created a very unique and compelling service specifically for the Financial Markets.

  2. What are the main types of projects that you’ve had over the past year and have you noticed any trends?
    Typically we are asked to provide practical training sessions on Social Media so that our clients can understand more about how to use social networking sites as interactive marketing and business development channels for their business.  We also work very closely with clients on how to create the right social media strategy for their business, including their business objectives, their client needs, how to select the right channels to use, what resources (technical and operational) they will need, and how they can maximize their use of these tools in order to grow their business.The trend that we have seen emerging is how banks are finding new ways to interact with their clients and using new tools to redefine the way they do business. For example you see many more banks moving towards having an iPad or iPhone app (application) in order to distribute their research. The old method of distributing research by PDF (Adobe®) has become less effective over the years. Instead a new trend had emerged where research is now being consumed through apps, blogs, social networks and a variety of other ways which give clients more control around what and when they read.

  3. Many of our readers are interested in Social Media. In your own words, what exactly is it?
    We define Social Media as any online tool or service which can be used to facilitate social interactions or conversations using a variety of sources such as words, audio, pictures and video.

  4. What various types of strategies do you use to improve your clients presence in Social Media?Typically we will create a tailored strategy for each client depending on what their goals are, who their target audience is, and what they wish to achieve e.g., increased sales, improved profile or reputation, better relationships with a broader group of clients etc. Some clients need practical help with how to write an effective blog, while others want to understand how to maximize their efforts on LinkedIn or how to create an effective group strategy.

  5. Why should a company use your services vs using in-house resources?
    Social Media is rapidly becoming big business, with companies beginning to invest significant time, money and resources to reach and interact with their audiences on the major social networks. While many companies may have an idea of what social media is and how to use it, they often don’t have an effective strategy and so their results are less than optimal. By working with Social Markets we ensure clients maximise the potential of social media marketing for their business and brand. Clients work with us so that together we create revenue-boosting strategies tailored specifically for them. They are able to draw on the combined expertise of Social Media, FX eCommerce Sales, marketing, advertising, PR and SEO practitioners to ensure they get the best results. Whether it’s managing their own campaign or a specific aspect like blogging or podcasting, we will show them how to do this more effectively.

  6. When companies hire you, what responsibilities do you assume, i.e., do you provide, strategy, content, updates, etc.?
    We provide strategy development and advice, practical training, and project or campaign planning and scheduling services. We analyze and review each client’s performance to identify opportunities for improvement and the development of more effective activities to meet their business needs. We can provide examples of content or show them how to re-purpose content from their existing resources, but we do not create it for them. We can recommend copywriters if this service is required.

  7. When you first work with a client, how do you kick the Social Media process off?
    First we have a detailed discussion meeting about where they are now, their goals, business strategy and competitive challenges. We discuss their target markets, what the client wants to achieve, and how social media can help them get there. This initial meeting enables us to help them clarify their business development priorities and how social media can contribute to those objectives.

  8. What are three basics people need to know when trying to improve their presence on Social Media?
    1) They need to have a clear and robust strategy, which includes what business they are in, their brand values, their USP (Unique Selling Proposition), their audience, what overall message do they want to deliver, and what can they offer their clients. 2) They need to understand which channels to use to best reach their clients. For example, there is no point using facebook to target your clients if you do not have a strong retail footprint. Different channels have different users and different purposes eg: LinkedIn versus Twitter, public and industry-specific blogs versus a “private” network. 3)They need to approach social media marketing in a consistent and planned fashion. It is better not to start something only to do it half heartedly or in an inconsistent fashion. It is better not to start something rather than to start it then stop.

  9. How do you know you’ve been successful in improving a client’s presence within Social Media Groups? Is it a one-time process?
    If the agreed objective is to improve the client’s presence on social media platforms, then we would measure that in terms of social mentions, social influence (for example how far their contributions are shared and commented on), and social engagement (e.g., how active their online community is in contributing and communicating with the client). Of course there are other objectives that can be established, such as an increase in sales enquiries, an increase in the amount of time their clients spend on the company’s system or website, an increase in awareness of the client and their expertise. Each of these would call for different measurement approaches. It is rarely a one-time activity, but rather an ongoing process.

  10. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most and why?   I enjoy talking about social media and the impact it is having in the financial markets. It may be with clients in person, as part of a panel discussion, in a podcast, or in the written form. It gives me an enormous amount of satisfaction when a client begins to see the value proposition of social media, apply it to their business and reap the rewards of “Social Forex”. By adopting social media now, financial institutions can have the first-mover advantage in the same way UBS and Deutsche Bank did when electronic trading was first introduced into the dealing room over a decade ago, which is very exciting. There are so many similarities between the rise of eFX and the introduction of Social Media in the Financial Markets, but it’s not until I begin to highlight the parallels that people see them and get excited by the potential of social media.

  11. When people talk about Social Market and its services, what is the best compliment they could give you?
    Perhaps the best way to answer this is actually a comment that was made on my Linkedin profile by someone we worked with in this area. It was a recommendation that came without prompting and one I am extremely proud of. The quote is as follows:Top qualities: Personable, Expert, Creative
    “As energy density goes, Elena belongs to another league altogether. This unbounded energy, combined with passion AND knowledge of what she talks about, makes her an unturndownable proposition if you want to know how to use social media to market your services.” March 16, 2011

We hope you have enjoyed hearing from Elena and learning about her experience with social media networking sites. If you would like to know more about her company, Social Markets, check out their website.

As we look into next months Q&A and follow more digital media marketing, take some time, if you haven’t done so already and check out The Social Network.  See how one of the most popular social networks began!

Until next time…


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