Using a social media lifeline

FACEBOOK saving lives?

The social networking site proved a social lifesaver for Lisa Harrison when, in the final stages of her marketing and communications degree, breastfeeding her four-month-old daughter and caring for her three-year-old son, she suddenly became a single mother.

“I did not have much control over anything else at that point,” she said. “Everything else was controlling me, my children (although I love them dearly), my body (breast feeding), my income . . . the list goes on.

“To be able to choose when I wanted to socialise, what images I wanted other people to see, and who I connected with was massive for me.”

The personal impact of Facebook on Lisa's life was so great that she ended up adding social media electives to her degree.

Fast forward almost five years later and Lisa's early foray into the then-burgeoning world of social media has become a lifeline for business owners and managers wanting to link in and create an online community for their company or brand.

The social media world continues to grow exponentially.

By the end of 2009, Neilsen research showed 75% of all Australians with access to the internet, had registered with Facebook; 70% with YouTube and 34% with Twitter.

More than one-third of those using social media connect with others this way on a daily basis. And on top of this Australia tops the US for the amount of time spent on social media sites.

“In the past couple of years we've worked with businesses to help them harness the power of social media,” said Lisa who, with partner Stephen Burton, own and operate POMO Creative, a

boutique design and branding studio,” she said. “The interest in social media from our clients has been amazing. We help them build their brand by strategically using these internet sites.”

Last August, Lisa travelled to New York to collaborate with a design agency doing similar things for their clients.

“Brands are seeing the benefits of using social media to at least halve their marketing budgets for similar results.

“I came back from New York with a renewed passion and confirmation that I needed to share with businesses the value of using this fastest growing medium, or they will be left behind.”

In October, Lisa held two Social Media focus groups.

These groups networked and discussed the benefits as well as the challenges of using social media to connect with customers and build an online brand.

Lisa said it was not enough for businesses to just set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account and just leave it there.

“A strategy is required – just like any marketing plan,” she said.

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