1. Who are you and what does your company do?

My name is Raymond Philippe, I am an author (under various aliases) and quite recently I picked up blogging again.

From the early days of the internet, I have been busy with affiliate marketing and social media.

I have been a solo entrepreneur working from home since 2002.

2. How and why did you get started in social media?

I have been an avid user of social media going back to the times of myspace as an instrument to keep in touch with family and friends on different continents, to promote our sons band, to get in contact with people around the world (without having to travel), to share ideas and content and to read and learn interesting stuff. Moreover, last but not least,as one of the many tools to promote my books.

3. What do you believe the benefits of using social media for business?

For business in general social media can be a great tool to listen in on the conversations about your business, to “read” the sentiments your brand/business evoke, to provide another means for customer support and to get in touch with your business, to share ideas and, interact and yes, promote your products or services. At the end of the day it can have a positive affect on brand loyalty and recognition, decreased marketing costs and search engine rankings and on the bottom line of your business.

4. What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?

Social media are not all about You. A business should not forget to add value by interacting with their (potential) clients, providing them with advice, answering their questions and being interested in what keeps them ticking. Hard selling just doesn’t cut it in social media.

Another difficulty for brands is to define the image they want their brand to project. Your brand can’t be everything to everyone. And last but not least you should be consistent with your status updates, clever with your timing and be thoughtful about what you share.

5.) What qualities do you think social media managers should have?

Social media managers should know which tools to use, which conversations to follow and they should be interested in people and the products/company they represent. Apart from the obvious. Speaking the language of their (target) audience and being comfortable with emerging trends and technology

6.) How do Business owners know if their social media campaign is working?

First of all business owners have to define what they expect from their social media campaign.

Are they interested in ongoing analytics, campaign-focused metrics or both.

Do they expect an increase in conversation with them or about them, do they expect growth in visitors to their websites, do they expect increased sales? Thus, before anything else, they should determine their goals.

After deciding what they want, they should closely monitor the outcomes and if necessary change their approach or expectation if the results are not up to par. This cannot be done without having a clear idea about the metrics needed to measure your goals.

7.) How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?

I would like social media to become more social. There is a lot of raw energy that finds its way onto the social media. Sometimes filtering emotions does make sense. People should treat social media more like they would treat other people in the real world. With respect.

So I do hope people become more civil and sensible in their approach to social media. Businesses should become more genuinely engaged and not only in promoting their product/services.

Quite frankly, I have no idea how fast Technology will keep evolving in the next 5 years. These changes will obviously have an impact in how and what we share on social media.

8.) What are your favorite platforms for social media marketing?

My favorite platforms for social media are twitter, Pinterest and youtube.

Because I am a solo entrepreneur, I have to beware not to spread myself out thin.

I love the efficiency of twitter. 140 characters is often enough! I enjoy the imagery on Pinterest and the graphical/audio appeal of video.

That being said it is important to keep an eye on the stars, dogs, question marks and cash cows of today’s social marketing field. If one thing has been proven again and again over the last decades is that today’s bright shining star can become tomorrow’s ailing dog

9. What are your 5 favorite marketing tools/apps?

I can’t imagine a world without WordPress. This affordable, customizable blogging platform is my favorite marketing tool.

As an author, I cannot do without Amazon’s sales platform. Although as a citizen, I would love to see main street fight back.

I use different apps to share efficiently and effectively on social media, to prune and grow my followers and friends on Twitter and to keep in touch with my friends and followers.

I do not think it is a good idea to change the social media tools you use too often as most have a learning curve. That being said, every social media manager must keep an open mind to spot the best tools available.