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The Next Big Thing

Maryrose Lyons, founder, Brightspark Consulting
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Maryrose founded Brightspark Consulting in 2003, a digital marketing company that creates compelling content for distribution by social media. She is very interested in cyberpsychology and how we interact when we are online. Maryrose will assess all key platforms and present examples of businesses who are using social media to great commercial effect.

We sit down with MaryRose ahead of the next IMAGE Networking Breakfast and ask…

You started your business in 2003, what were you doing then?

Making a case as to why businesses should allocate budget for marketing their websites! It wasn’t until the Google IPO in 2004 that people really got it.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying to promote their businesses on social media?

For smaller businesses: thinking it’s easy and trying to be on all platforms at once.  They don’t realize that once you start, you can’t stop.  You must keep the dialogue going.For larger businesses: leaving social media in the hands of an untrained intern or an agency churning out bland content that doesn’t do their business any good.

What platforms are good for what sort of businesses?

B2B is having a bit of a moment right now with infographics, video and slidedecks being promoted on Slideshare, LinkedIn, and YouTube.  When you combine this with marketing automation software, you are on to a winner!

In Ireland, B2C is still all about Facebook and Twitter.  Many businesses are doing well out of Instagram, Pinterest, and for some audiences, Snapchat. But you’ve got to select your platform based on where your audience hang out. Not based on what’s new, hot, and getting lots of coverage.

What project have you most enjoyed working on for a client, or which one did you learn the most from?

Public Policy.ie continues to be my most enjoyable.  An independent think tank on policy issues, it is run by a group of esteemed economists. They generate really interesting data, and I package that up intro sharable, talkable content to get people thinking.

I learned loads at Tourism Ireland where I consulted for three years.  It was the time when they were setting up their social media and it was a great time of experimentation and learning, with great results.  During my time there, fans and followers grew from 12,000 to 1.3 million!

Things are obviously constantly evolving when it comes to social media. What’s been the big ‘new thing’ in 2014? How can we tap into this?

I’m really interested in teens and how they use social.  Where they lead, the masses follow.  There is a shift onto more closed, private networks such as messaging apps like Whatsapp or Snapchat. Anonymous social networks, such as Whisper are having a bit of a moment in the US. You could say ‘the challenge for brands is how to engage with the audience there’.

One piece of advice you’d give someone who wants to push their business?

Know who you are trying to reach. Find out where they hang out and just be there.  Don’t sell.  Talk, chat, engage.  Set up goals to fine tune what you’re doing and get to know what really resonates with your audience.  Most of all – enjoy!  Social media is fun. And when people you don’t know start talking to you and about you, it’s such a great feeling!

 

Most effective way to get new Twitter followers?

Take part in the conversation.  Help people where you can.  Be kind.  Be nice. Just be!

MaryRose will speak at the next IMAGE Networking Breakfast in the Marker Hotel on Tuesday, September 9. Tickets are just €45 and can be purchased here. For more information on the event, email business@image.ie, call 01 271 9688 or click here.

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