Lights, camera, customers. Greg Fry on why you shouldn’t be afraid of video

Social media is about making real connections to grow your brand online. Greg Fry talks about the importance of creating video content to build a deeper connection to your audience. 

 

To start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I am a social media enthusiast! I don’t believe there is such thing as an expert out there because the landscape changes so often. I’ve worked with the digital marketing institute for years, starting out really helping SMEs embrace social media and use social media as a way to generate business opportunities. I am now fortunate enough to work with a lot of government organisations and multi-nationals helping them build social media strategies for their business. 

How did you get into your career? 

Completely by accident quite frankly. I worked in the recruitment industry for a little over a decade. I felt the recession coming. I came and I upskilled in the area of career coaching and psychometric testing. I built my own website (the worst website ever built, by the way), flung my virtual doors open, and nothing happened. I realised very quickly that my business was guaranteed to fail if no one knew I existed. So I embraced social media, particularly LinkedIn, like a long-lost lover to tell people who I was, what I did, and what value I could offer them. On the back of developing my own personal brand I started helping start-ups and SMEs with their social media presence and stopped doing the career coaching other than a hobby. I’m passionate about helping people in their careers still. 

Why did they invite you, what the hell do you know about social media? 

What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date? 

It might sound like a bit of a bizarre one but it was just making the first move. I remember the first big talk I ever gave on social media was at a big career fair that was held by Monster in the RDS talking about LinkedIn. My wife who drove me to the RDS and said “why did they invite you, what the hell do you know about social media”. I remember getting out of the car, my legs buckling, and thinking I can’t do this. An hour later I’d been on stage in front of 600 people and I hadn’t died. It was that moment that inspired me to do everything from that point onwards. 

How does Social Media support your work? 

It’s just become a part of me. It’s no different from a telephone or an email or even just an offline voice, I don’t even think about it as part of my work. It’s a way I communicate with friends, family, work colleagues; it’s become a part of my daily communication so I don’t even think Twitter or think Snapchat or think Facebook, it’s just something I do without thinking. It’s part of our lives now. 

What is the one app you can’t live without? Personally and for your business! 

The one app I can’t live without is one that, unfortunately, we don’t have over on this side of the world. I can’t wait till we head into the Chinese world of WeChat which has turned into the ultimate super app. You can order roses if you have got into trouble with your girlfriend, you can book a taxi, scan a ticket at the airport, you can video chat your friends - you can do everything on this app. That’s probably where WhatsApp is headed but until then there are too many apps I can’t live without. The two most important are probably Facebook and Twitter still - I’d struggle to live without them! I’m a bit of a Snapchat addict; I’m a little too old to be brilliant on it but still love it. I am one of these people that has loads of apps he can’t do without. But WeChat - check it out. 

The one app I can’t live without is one that, unfortunately, we don’t have over on this side of the world 

What is the one piece of Social Media advice you would give to businesses? 

There are four simple stages of social media that we need to think about from a business perspective. First things first, no one can do business with us unless they know we exist so build the right audience, reach out and connect. It’s very easy to build the wrong audience. The second thing is just because someone knows you exist doesn’t mean they are going to buy from you or that they like you. Demonstrate your passion and focus on developing your likability; if people know you exist and like you then they will want to do business with you. The third thing would be to ask them for a sale, ask them to do something, and never underestimate the power of advocacy, so number four is turn your customers into advocates. 

What do you think is the next big thing in Social Media? What will you be focusing on in the Social Media landscape this year? 

I think in 2017, particularly in Ireland, influencer marketing is going to grow and explode to a great brand new level. I think it’s a confused beast at the moment but we are going to see more companies investing money on local influencers to promote their products and services more than ever before. And we know certainly the likes of VR and video are very much the present and the future big things happening in social. I just love video, I absolutely adore video. I’m a great fan of Gary Vaynerchuk because he is real. I think what I am going to focus on more in 2017 with my clients and with myself is probably to create more real video, I wouldn’t say raw video but just real, less polished less produced video that actually generates a deeper connection through social.  

What can the attendees of this year’s Social Media Summit look forward to hearing from you? 

Thank you and good night! I’m going to be talking about video. For me, video is the quickest and most effective way to build a relationship with your audience other than meeting them face to face. I am going to focus on how video can physically do that, the psychology behind it, how to overcome your fear around video, and how video doesn’t have to be a hugely cost or difficult to produce and execute. 

What are you looking forward most about Social Media Summit? 

I have always loved Mari Smith - since starting out in Facebook I’ve been a great fan of hers. The chance to listen to Mari Smith live and raw in Croke Park is very exciting so looking forward to that. Plus there’s going to be all of the top social media minds in the country under the one roof - the chance to catch up with friends and make new ones excites me immensely. 

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