Lilach Bullock is impressive. As a social media consultant, founder of Socialable, and seasoned speaker, her experience has landed her on not one, but two, Forbes’ influencer lists. How does one become a social media icon? We asked Lilach about her experience, strategy and recommendations for brands. Check out what she said in our interview below!
Could you tell our reader’s a little bit about your background?
Back in 2007, I quickly became one of the early adopters of social media. We were blogging, using Twitter, Facebook, and evaluating each new social network that emerged. We then decided to embrace the network depending on whether we thought it was right for our business and target audience. There were very few digital marketing agencies back then, and a lot of PR and marketing agencies were slow off the mark as they tried to figure out what social was and how they should approach it. Should it be a new revenue stream or just part of their day-to-day client servicing? Some initially didn’t see the value in it at all. Very soon, we had customers and prospects approaching us about defining and managing their social media for them – they could see the results we were getting from our own. This inspired me to create a digital marketing agency, as we had seen amazing results from social. I wanted us to help other companies navigate the social landscape and improve their return on investment.
Becoming a Forbes Top 50 Influencer is no small accomplishment – what would you attribute your rise to?
Thank you! It certainly hasn’t happened over night and I’d like to think it’s due to my hard work, thirst to learn, and an evolving expertise; it is all about getting out what you put in. I try to produce lots of topical content and engage proactively on our social networks. It’s too easy to simply broadcast, so by actively engaging with our network and nurturing our communities, we’ve built a highly engaged digital community. Ultimately there are no short-cuts, it takes time and a huge amount of effort. I hope that my passion and love of social media is also a contributing factor!
Your content gets REALLY impressive traffic and engagement. How do you continually produce content that resonates with your audience?
Understanding what your audience wants is the most important consideration when it comes to providing great content. You always have to have your reader in mind and make sure that the content you are sharing is not too sales-y and is never all about you. We also have a content strategy, which is something that not many other companies do, and it really helps in terms of making sure we constantly over deliver and provide exceptional content that provides value. I think it also helps that we’re so passionate about digital marketing and social media, and that we really believe in practicing what we preach. By keeping on top of the latest trends, tools and developments in the world of social media, we are able to apply them to our content and write insight based content on what we’ve learned.
What would you encourage someone to do if they wanted to increase their content’s social shares?
A lot of this goes back to the value you are adding. Your content needs to be about your reader and not about you. There is nothing more frustrating for the reader than to see an interesting headline and to read the article and think “that didn’t help me at all.” Every piece you write should WOW, so it’s better to post quality content less frequently than filler content daily.
Gone are the days where brands can get away with simply broadcasting their own content then sitting back and waiting for it to be shared. Even if the content you’re producing is amazing, it’s arrogant to assume that it will be shared without you also putting in a lot of hard work. It is all about building relationships, so you have to make sure that you are engaging with others and sharing their content too.
Which is your favorite social platform for business and why?
It has to be Twitter! It is such a simple and fantastic concept. It’s really easy to network with like-minded individuals and it has transformed the way many of us work. With Twitter’s new design and features that they’ve been consistently rolling out, I think that they will be a big player in the social media world for a long while to come. It will also be interesting to see whether they decide to go the Facebook route and seek to blatantly monetize their platform… which could turn users off.
What’s one piece of advice for people trying to market their brands on the same platform?
Research. Spend as much time as you can looking up different tools and social networks and what people are saying. You have to understand the complex business challenges that organizations face and make sure that you provide them with a solution. It’s important to remember that whilst some people will try to “game” social media, it is, for me, about ultimately building relationships, providing quality content, and being flexible and open to change. These things will always win in the long run.
What is the social media tool you cannot live without?
Is it too cheesy to say Simply Measured? We love being able to measure our social media activity, which is critical to any social media campaign. On a daily basis we also use HootSuite as our dashboard, and Buffer to schedule Tweets at optimum times.
Who influences you on Twitter? What are your favorite accounts to follow?
I am connected with so many different people on Twitter that its hard to say who I enjoy following the most, the wide range is just one reason that I love twitter so much! I do find it fascinating to read tweets by Richard Branson and other successful entrepreneurs.
Who is your favorite brand on Twitter?
It has to be @innocentdrinks! I love their stye of marketing, creativity and the tone that they use. They are really engaging and have a loyal fan base. It’s great to see a brand having fun leveraging social media too.
Which social platform do you expect to blow up in 2014?
I see the future of social media changing on a very regular basis. It is still in its early days – it’s already changed so much and will continue to evolve rapidly. I expect that it will become more image focused and companies will have to work harder to be seen and heard, with so many people making use of the digital channels that are out there. Obviously, with the trend for mobile growing and mobile browsing now overtaking desk-based Internet usage – it is vital to have mobile marketing strategies central to your approach. And a “mobile marketing strategy” goes way beyond having just a website optimized for mobile. After all, this is one of the main reasons why Facebook acquired Instagram for so much money – they knew that they were failing their mobile audience and didn’t want to be left behind.