Social media has transformed the advertising and marketing industries, according to Lilach Bullock, who was last month named among the Top 20 Women Social Media Power Influencers and the Top 50 Social Media Influencers 2013 by Forbes.
Mrs Bullock, 40, says to retain consumers, business leaders need to develop their social media presence over advertising — from Twitter to Linked In and Facebook. The majority cost-free sites “are guaranteed to increase business,” she explains.
“A lot more travels through social media than marketing or advertising. Companies find it tougher to attract clients if they don’t have a strong online presence.”
She established Socialable, a social media advisory site, last year. Her clients include start-ups, business leaders in retail, digital technology and accountancy firms.
“Each company needs to utilise different types of social media to suit them. My job is to look at every single channel available. For one company Linked In is appropriate, while Facebook is more suited to another.”
The message is simple. Each company must have an online web presence and prioritise social media over advertising. She practices what she preaches as adverts are noticeably absent from her website.
“I absolutely hate it,” she retorts. “Why put adverts on your website? They just divert people away from the site you spent so much money, time and effort on. It will all go to waste.”
She describes her business as “ethical online marketing.
“It means that I don’t bombard people with adverts and ‘salesy’ material. I offer them useful tips, blogs and advice to keep them on the site. It gives you a good reputation online”
She insists that “there are other ways to make money if you think creatively — I get all my business from social media.”
So where does the revenue come from?
“We offer services from consultancy to running in-house workshops and working with companies directly on building their social media presence.”
Mrs Bullock, who has written books and lectured on the future of social media in America, Poland and the UK, says it is a vital method of engagement with consumers and networking with other businesses.
Most of her clients are based in the US, but the industry is competitive and “noisy. There is so much going on that it can be difficult to get heard above everything.
“It’s important to stay up to date and be strategic about what avenues you use.”
Another concern lies in the reluctance of senior business leaders to accept change. “Some of my clients find it frustrating when they don’t see immediate results from using social media. But the younger generation and start-up businesses especially appreciate its importance.
“It does work — we always double or treble results.”
Tel Aviv-born Mrs Bullock, 40, has split her life between the UK and Israel. Bypassing university, she spent her career-forming early twenties living in Israel “where it is really high-tech and they definitely get social media much more than UK companies get it.”
Growing up in the environment gave her an “advantage over competitors — I had more time to get to grips with it and it was easier for me to get recognised.”
Socialable is her second business. The Radlett and Bushey Reform synagogue member and mother of one sold her first business, asklilach.co.uk, a virtual-PA support service in 2009. She was recognised as being a finalist at the Best MumPreneur of the Year Awards at No 10 Downing Street in 2008.
The “exciting” Forbes listing has already brought in more clients, opportunities and attracted an investor’s interest.