Digital transformation panel: CEOs and Founders discuss strategies for building your digital presence on social media – and the secrets to winning new customers

TikTok, Instagram, Facebook or Clubhouse? Our panel discuss the various social media apps available out there for businesses and how to utilise them effectively

Digital transformation panel: CEOs and Founders discuss strategies for building your digital presence on social media – and the secrets to winning new customers

TikTok, Instagram, Facebook or Clubhouse? Our panel discuss the various social media apps available out there for businesses ‘ and how to utilise them effectively 

Chieu Cao, the co-founder of Mintago, Victoria Prew, CEO and co-founder of HURR, Gareth Owen, co-founder of ROAST and MD Tipi Group, Jay Richards, Founder of Imagen and Jenni Young, CMO of Tappit, joined us for the second day of Elite Business on 12 March in the digital transformation panel, discussing the importance of social media and how to build your presence online – as well as tricks and tips to gain a wider audience and keep them engaged.

What is the secret to delighting a customer? With all the choice we as consumers have, how can businesses step up to the plate and offer a product or service that out beats their competitors? Jenni, CMO of Tappit, said it’s about taking away your customers’ ‘pain points’ and going one step further to serve their needs ‘ but it doesn’t have to be as extravagant as you think. 

I think it’s about imagining ‘better’, Jenni explained. As a customer myself, I anticipate what I want and I ignore my pain points. And it’s actually thinking about how things can be better, and I think Victoria’s business is an amazing example. Would I think about renting clothes? Probably not, but actually having that opportunity to have something like that suddenly changes your mindset. And I think in terms of what we provide at Tappit, it’s about helping people realising the pain points and taking that away from people, it helps make the experience better. And then to enable businesses to understand their fans and what they do and what they like, and making that communication really slick. It helps that experience become incredible, and it just has to be simple. It’s just about connecting needs and going one step beyond. It doesn’t have to be absolutely amazing what you do, it’s just taking away something that makes life a little bit ‘yuck’. 

When it comes to social media platforms, which one should you choose for your business? Is it wise to jump on all of the platforms, or is it better to pick one over the rest? Victoria, CEO and Founder of HURR encouraged businesses to dip their toes in all social media platforms ‘ but ideally focus on the one that works best for your business. However, it’s important to give all social media apps shot as you never know which could be the winner. 

My personal opinion is rather than trying to do everything badly and averagely, pick one and do it well, so we picked Instagram as our main social channel, Victoria said. And then I kind of live by a rule of thumb that probably runs wider than just fashion rental, that whatever is big in the states hits the UK five years later. And I think TikTok is a classic example of that. I think people really underestimate the power of TikTok and where the future is, given that we are a Gen Z and a millennial user base. And even older than that, I see lots of people of all different age groups trying to get TikTok right. And some big fashion brands out there. The Farfetchers and Net-a-Porters of the world are now trying to navigate that as well. I think you can’t afford as a start-up to not try all of these things. Clubhouse is another great example, everyone’s talking about it. Is it going to survive, is it going to thrive? Because it’s hot over lockdown… For me, I think you have to try them all… You can’t really have the luxury of just assuming that they might not work out, you’ve got to part of that conversation otherwise you miss out. 

How do you best communicate and relate to your target audience? Each demographic is different, Jay, Founder of Imagen explained. Gen Z cares more about what’s going on behind the scenes and appreciates when brands take them on that journey. Businesses need to understand their audiences’ needs, wants and expectations ‘ and make sure they deliver that. The exciting thing with Gen Z is that they’re super open to trying new things and they’re super open to engaging with brands because for a lot of our community, the thing is that is important to them is seeing what’s going on behind the scenes of a brand, Jay explained. They want to understand how a brand thinks. When a brand says they truly care about being ‘carbon neutral’, Gen Z goes ‘do you really care’? Are we going to hear from the CEO telling us why we care? Or are they just doing it to see relevant? Gen Z is waiting to have a conversation with brands. So, brands can come to our community or always go to your direct audience. I tell brands to jump onto Instagram and have a conversation with some of the folks that truly love your business. 

How do you interact with your customers best in the digital world? By studying your client audiences and understanding where they linger, Gareth, co-founder of ROAST and MD Tipi Group explained. It is also important to understand what social media platform your product or service best fits, as it’s not usually a one size fits all approach, contrary to popular belief. 

We do tend to look at the market leaders and the ones that are making the most noise, Gareth explained. We mentioned Gymshark earlier, you can always look at them as being a brand that understands youth well, and understand emerging channels well, and you can take some inspiration from that. We look at all digital channels and we also look very carefully at whether or not our clients’ audiences are realistically there at all. Whether the format works for those brands, there are lots of things that we throw into kind of sense check the innovation that we’re seeing. But we’re always looking at anything new and trying to work out how good could this be, what sort of data do we think we’re going to get out of it… For a lot of brands, especially ones that have products where people want to listen to others talk about, maybe Clubhouse might be better for financial products than TikToks.

Latifa Yedroudj
Latifa Yedroudj

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