Rapid advances in technology have allowed businesses to be more flexible in the way they promote their brand. Social media marketing and mobile marketing are the new buzz words being bandied around and many businesses are turning to these forms of marketing to create brand awareness. But how can they be used correctly? Chris Pile, managing director of one of Australia’s leading digital agencies TheFARM discusses how the digital landscape is changing, and how businesses can keep up.
A young gun who believes in biting off more than he can chew—and then “chewing like hell”—Chris Pile started digital agency TheFARM in 2004 with the aim of servicing the digital requirements of advertising agencies. Now he is focused on being involved at a business strategy level to help businesses leverage the appropriate digital channels to deliver business and marketing objectives. He believes that “digital is a living and breathing channel that needs to be carefully and strategically planned and then nurtured after launch”.
Pile has achieved phenomenal success with his business TheFARM having recently been named among BRW’s Fast Starters, and has worked on award winning campaigns for clients including Air New Zealand, Lion Nathan, Virgin Mobile, Mitsubishi Motors Australia, and most recently The Wiggles.
The motto for the TheFARM is to “believe in the impossible” and according to Pile, they are not afraid to try new things and work with new technologies to deliver client solutions.
“We have clients who approach us for help to deliver projects that most digital agencies won’t touch.”
Pile says he has noticed a trend towards digital marketing in the past 12-15 months with many businesses looking to engage specialist digital agencies to help with their online marketing strategy. Social media marketing has become a big part of this strategy, which has experienced a dramatic uptake in recent months, off the back of the soaring popularity of micro-blogging site Twitter and networking site Facebook.
However, Pile believes many businesses go into it “half-cocked”, and simply want to “jump on the bandwagon”, unaware of what it takes to run a successful campaign in the digital space.
“Social media provides a very powerful platform for companies to reach and interact with their consumers and the wider online audience, but it is definitely not something I would recommend getting into without first understanding the rules of engagement.”
Pile believes the key points all businesses should consider before jumping into a social media campaign are:
- Be present
Research and find relevant social networks where the people who you want talk to are. Put your content up on YouTube, Flickr, blogs, etc, and link this back to your social media spaces.
- Be real and transparent
So many social media campaigns fail miserably because companies are trying to pull the wool over the consumer’s eyes. Unless you are a conman, don’t act like one online.
- Be active
Digital and social media is not a set and forget medium. Regularly check in on the spaces you create. Create new and relevant content to stimulate interest and conversation.
- Listen and learn
No one wants to hear negative feedback about what they do. If people genuinely have a problem with your brand, better to find out why and then fix it or set the story straight if it is based on misinformation.
Pile notes that companies often struggle with the fact that social media platforms such as MySpace and Facebook are different to traditional online properties.
“The role of brands in these new spaces is to facilitate community rather than dictate what they want people to hear and that is scary for a lot of companies. It is important to create some objectives, start small and build your online social media presence. Reassess regularly and move forward again.”
Using online to promote your business doesn’t have to be complicated, says Pile. “Understand what you want to achieve, set measurable goals and use appropriate digital channels to achieve them. Constantly reassess, change what isn’t working and then move forward again.”
To find out more about TheFARM and how you can develop your own digital marketing campaign, please visit www.thefarmdigital.com.au
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