Meet Todd. The ‘digital loud mouth’ behind social media specialists Spaghetti Agency; who help businesses of all sizes with their social media, marketing and copy writing through training and strategy.
Often spotted teaching at The Retail School at WBC, Todd provides in-depth knowledge and skills together with insider top tips to maximise online presence (coming from a team of people who use these tools on a daily basis) he really know show to make digital marketing work. We distracted him away from the screen with a few questions….
Tell us about your professional background…
I started working with social media when I worked for a small wine merchant based in Warwick. It was seen as a waste of time and I got the piss taken out of me for many months. But then it started to gain interest and within a two-year period I created some serious noise for the wine merchant, the town I was working in, and for myself. I eventually gave up my van driving career to set up my business Spaghetti Agency with my partner Jo… who I met on Twitter.
How did you become so passionate about social media?
Social media changed my life. It really did. It gave me a new network, loads of amazing friends, and the chance to create a new business doing what I love.Without social media I would be a very different person and our business wouldn’t exist.
What are the smartest things a business can do when launching their social media presence?
Storytelling, storytelling and storytelling.
Your business needs to be memorable. Not everyone is ready to buy from you. The problem is; you’ll never know when they will be. Being memorable makes sure that you’re there in their mind when they (or their connections) need what you sell. Storytelling is one of the best ways to do this. We all learnt by hearing stories. Stories you heard as children are still clear in your head now. Remember the Mr. Men? I bet you could tell me the essence of at least one of those stories now. Your business has a story and social allows you to tell it – this makes you memorable at the time you need to be.
Talk us through your typical day…
I can’t… they’re never the same. But I usually start with checking social media after turning off my alarm on my phone. Don’t we all begin and end a day with a smartphone? Sometimes I’ll have a meeting or a networking event as I’m a group leader for my local 4Networking group. Often I’ll try and get some content written in the morning, then work on client requests in the afternoon.
What’s your favourite way to spend time off-line?
That’s a tricky one. I really struggle to switch off. I love spending time with Jo doing whatever we can… but we usually tweet or stick it on Instagram when we do! We live in Warwick and recently we got an annual pass for the castle. We love spending time outdoors so that’s a great way to spend a few hours away from the screens.
What motivates you to continually post and blog on a daily basis?
I know what I’m missing if I don’t. I know that no one will notice if I’m not there. I know that my competitors will tell stories and share content if I don’t. I know that I got, and get, what I have from online marketing because I put in the time and effort.
If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be and what would you order?
I love Seth Godin. He’s a marketing genius and blogs in a very concise way. I like the disruptive way he approaches marketing, and his book ‘The Purple Cow’ is an inspiration to me. I’d order a steak… and some red lettuce mayo so it looked like a purple cow!
A small business owner or one-man marketing team can very easily get overwhelmed by all their social media accounts. What advice do you have to help keep them on track, but not get lost in the depths of social networking?
Scheduling is your friend. Although this can lead to a dull auto-feed on social media, it can really help you stay online without having to constantly update it and get lost in the rabbit warrens. Just sharing what you do takes no time at all. Responding and searching does. Do what you can and crowd source with your team for more content and help.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Engagement? Storytelling? I’m not sure! But they’re all very valid phrases. One phrase or in fact word I hear overused a lot is ‘solutions’… so much so that it’s banned in our world. You don’t sell solutions – you sell what you sell. What you sell is a solution, but it’s so boring to say solution over what you actually do for your customers. It’s also often very confusing what you actually do for people. We once saw a curtain shop that said they sold window solutions… no, no, no! They sold curtains!
What’s your favourite social media platform?
Twitter by a long shot but only because it changed so much for me. Recently I’ve got back into my personal Facebook, found a new love for Periscope and I’m dabbling with Snapchat at the moment too.
Are there any common social media mistakes you see people making?
SELLING. Stop selling. People don’t want to be sold to, they want to be listened to. Your job on social media is to create the story that reminds people of you and shows the expertise so that they will trust you.
How do you go about scheduling content – do you always work ahead or do you tend to post in real-time?
I love Buffer. Buffer is a social scheduling tool that really works. The add-ons make it so much sweeter though. The browser extension and the mobile app make it so simple to add content to your schedule on the go. But you mustn’t just set it and forget it!
What keeps you awake at night?
Ha. Nothing…. Not even thunder and lightning. When I sleep, I sleep!
There are still some companies who are hesitant to jump on the social media bandwagon for fear that they won’t see a ROI. What advice would you give to them?
Stop looking for ROI. Seriously, there isn’t a measurable ROI for social. I know it works and I track it constantly but based on just that data alone I wouldn’t be able to argue it worked. Social media is about building relationships and trust. That takes a lot of time; time that sometimes convinces businesses to stop using it. Don’t look to the big companies though. They can spend millions on ‘awareness’. Small businesses must spend time creating content that builds trust, memories, engagement and of course, over time, an audience who will buy from you. Social media helps your other marketing work better if you do it right.
What’s the best moment of your career so far?
Building the brand of Spaghetti Agency has been great fun. It’s been a fast rise to fame locally and now enquiries are coming in from further afield too. To take something from nothing and build it to what it is now has been a great achievement. We never stop building it either.
My iPhone 6S Plus. It’s my life. I literally can’t do anything without it. When I finally got my first iPhone back in 2011 it changed how I used marketing and it enabled me to tell stories. I’ll never be without it. I still have bad dreams about the day I fell down the stairs and snapped my iPhone 6 in half… it took me just two hours to replace it. I can’t be without it!