Melissa Attree specialises in helping brands clearly understand the web in a simple way. Her marketing, communication and social media skills have benefitted many people through courses and workshops for brands like ABSA, Mastercard, Nando’s and 5fm. Her passion seeps through all aspects of her consulting and digital PR, where she focuses on connecting brands with consumers in a creative way. Melissa was also voted Best Social Media Marketer for 2011 at the Bookmark Awards.
Hi Mel. What would be your own definition of Web 2.0?
For me it’s about people creating and sharing or commenting on content, any type of content. It’s all about people.
How can a company best match the brand in their eyes with the brand in the eyes of the public?
You have to understand that your customer usually knows more about your brand than you do, in terms of perception that is. Companies need to get closer to their customers and understand how they feel about the brand, what they would change and suggest and appreciate. Just be honest about your brand and have an appropriate voice. If your brand is not sexy, it’s not sexy and that’s ok, just be authentic. If a banking social media profile starts talking like a teenager and dropping text speak, the majority of customers would become unsettled.
What would be your top three tips to new companies trying to cut through the online noise?
Do your homework. Listen first then plan your approach. After you’ve done some proper research you may find that you don’t need what you thought you did but that perhaps you have the opportunity to develop a new approach to digital conversations. Then, develop good content, whether it’s text, audio, video or pictures, that your customers really need. Always acknowledge people, as in real life people just want to be acknowledged.
Do you think a company can engage too much online and harm their brand?
Yes, nobody likes the desperate salesman or the office chatterbox. Have some integrity and balance your interaction.
In your opinion, should a brand outsource professionals to run their social media, or should they do it themselves? Is there a better choice between the two?
Depends on the brand and the level of engagement needed. I always like brands to work with a company or individuals who have focused on social media strategy as a professional offering. They have done the strategy and made the mistakes. Work with them, use their expertise and let them hold your hand until you are certain that you can confidently implement social media internally.
All of this being said, social media is just another communication platform. Make informed decisions and keep it simple.