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In my role as Director of Business Development it’s been incredible to see how social media has exploded over the last five years. It has become an indispensable tool for communication, certainly as a company if not yet completely on an individual level.

There are several channels we use currently including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, although many more are coming on stream which may grow in importance. Foursquare is certainly an interesting concept for retail outlets; however it’s one thing being tagged in Nandos, quite another checking in at your Financial Planner! Pinterest provides a great showcase for companies with something visual to display, again I haven’t been able to see how we could use it here at FMB but you never know!

LinkedIn, the networking site for professionals, is a tool some of our team use and is growing in popularity. I notice that each week new faces appear wanting to “Link In” as more people join It is a great way to cement relationships with people you have done business with, bumped into at networking events, met on courses or worked with previously. The network is like a spider’s web of connections linking you into the wider business community offering the opportunity to engage in conversations and keep up with local business news. For us it is a way to show the business community that we are experts in our field and also to engage in conversations with our peers at industry level, sharing expertise and asking questions.

Twitter is a different animal all together and some people would say it would be best if businesses kept away from this area of social media. However, for us it’s a way to show our knowledge and our personality too. We have a company twitter account which helps us to publicise our blogs and events which in turn increases website traffic. Many of our staff members including the directors have twitter accounts. Twitter can be a useful way to get messages across, but at the end of the day people will switch off unless you have something interesting to say – we’ll let our followers be the judge of that! We try to use the account to help out other local businesses too by re-tweeting their tweets and engaging through tagging other twitter users and the # (hashtags group tweets by a theme!) Our personal accounts tend to be a mix of opinion, humour and industry talk, which I think can be a good way to show that we are real people. After all, our company has a strong ethos because it’s run by us! I think our twitter accounts give an insight into what drives us as people and therefore tells you what you can expect from our business.

Facebook is the tool most of our actual clients would be familiar with. Our typical client is probably 55 plus, but that is no reason to suggest they would not use social media. My Nan is on Facebook and she is 85! We have found it harder to think of ways to get our message across on Facebook, again visual stories work best and they are hard to come by in professional services. We use our page to highlight our personal achievements such as gaining Investors in People accreditation or fundraising success. This is an area that is growing for us as we learn what works best and how to attract people to read our pages.

All of these social media tools are useful and can be a positive force when used in the right way. We don’t always get it right, if there is something you would like to hear about our suggest for our website or blogs please let us know. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter @FMBKendal, LinkedIn or visit our website.

….alternatively you can just pick up the phone and give me a call ;-) #thephonestillworks

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