Martha McCarthy of The Social Lights™ LLC | Minnesota Social Media

Minnesota attorney Aaron Hall speaks with Martha McCarthy of The Social Lights™ LLC, a Minnesota social media agency.

The Social Lights™ LLC

1000 LaSalle Avenue | Mail SCH 331
Minneapolis, MN 55403


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Aaron Hall: I’m Aaron Hall, Business Attorney in Minneapolis.

So what types of challenges or frustrations are your clients seeing before they come to you?

Martha McCarthy: Sure. So a lot of our clients come to us because they value social media and they know that that’s where their customers are, they should be on social, but they don’t have the resources in house to implement social media plan.

Aaron Hall: So they typically come to you recognizing the value of social, and I’m guessing, because social media’s generally consumer-to-business marketing, a lot of your companies are consumer-based?

Martha McCarthy: Yup, typically a lot of our clients are consumer-based, either in restaurant/hospitality industry, education, or automotive.

Aaron Hall: So when somebody recognizes they need to be in social, they don’t know how, they might not be very technical or they’re just so busy, they want somebody, a professional who knows that area, can fine tune the message, and can help get out to their exact target, what is it that you do to help them? What is the process there?

Martha McCarthy: Sure. So typically when we’re first meeting with the client, we really want to know them, their industry, their target audience, and about all of their business goals. I think a lot of people don’t realize how much you can track online with click-throughs, and who your audience is, who’s talking about what, brand sentiment, etc.

Aaron Hall: Can you elaborate on that? What can you track?

Martha McCarthy: So, I guess on social, you can really track, who are your twitter followers, who are your Facebook fans, how old are they, where do they live, how active are they on social, what are they saying about your company on social? And if you’re selling a product online, you can track who’s clicking on Facebook posts through your website, how much money are they spending, are they a repeat customer, etc. So you can provide these reports saying ‘here’s how many leads social drove this month’ and ‘here’s the type of customer that they are’.

Aaron Hall: Yeah, I think lots of business owners have this impression that there’s no way to evaluate return on investment for that social, but it sounds like when you do social media, you can actually track that and show ‘you spent this much, this is what you got back’.

Martha McCarthy: Um-hmm. Yeah. And it depends on the service. A lot of what we do when we’re starting out, the first three months, is just getting the systems running, getting a content strategy together, getting a posting schedule together, and then once we’re in the swing of things then we have something to track. So maybe it’s a campaign with coupon codes, we can see how many are redeemed and from where. Or if it’s a single product, how many people are clicking on it and from where, and which e-mail subject line worked better, things like that.

Aaron Hall: Interesting. We’re entering into 2013 as we film this, what changes do you see over the next year? How do you see social media evolving?

Martha McCarthy: I think 2013 will be a really exciting year for social media because most companies, at this point, especially the larger ones and the consumer-facing companies know that they need to be on social, they have a social presence, and they’re ready to take it to that next level. One of the biggest changes is going to be the shift of advertising dollars, maybe from traditional to online or from more broad online strategies to social. So they can geotarget people from certain cities, certain demographics, certain ages, run promotions based on certain times of the year, certain people that would be interested in that particular thing. And I think as people realize ‘hey, these social ads for some companies in particular are going really well’, they’re shifting more dollars there. So that’s exciting for us ’cause we can have more content strategy, keep those people engaged long term, and then also, these ad campaigns may be on a quarterly basis to sort of refresh.

Aaron Hall: So businesses are observing that a lot more people are going to social media? You’re mentioning a lot more advertisers are going into social media. Does that mean there’s a lot more noise and thus, the value of social media could decrease for advertisers?

Martha McCarthy: That’s a really good question. There is a lot of clutter on social, but I think consumers themselves are getting more sophisticated. So if I’m following 50 brands and 20 of them are always pushing out messages [like] ‘Buy this now!’, ‘But this product!’, kind of those annoying ads?

Aaron Hall: Right.

Martha McCarthy: People are going to start unfollowing them, they’re going to start thinking negatively about that brand, the opposite of what they’re trying to do.

Aaron Hall: Right.

Martha McCarthy: So it’s the more sophisticated marketers, or people that bring in specialists that know when to communicate with people, how to do so, how to tie it with a bow where it’s–

Aaron Hall: It’s more personal., creative, humorist connection.

Martha McCarthy: Exactly.

Aaron Hall: Okay. And I can see where an amateur to social media might not know what to say, and so they start pumping out advertising and sales messages. But what I’m hearing from you is that’s not what you do. You bring that message that cuts through the clutter and connects to your target market?

Martha McCarthy: Um-hmm. [nods]

Aaron Hall: If people are—If business owners are interested in connecting with you and learning more about what services you could provide to them, especially small business owners here in the twin cities, how should they get in contact with you?

Martha McCarthy: Well, we’re actually launcing a brand new website before [the] year ends. So starting in 2013, we have a nice little contact form on the ??? of our website, and a whole new series of case studies based on some of the events and campaigns within different industries that we’ve done over the past year.

Aaron Hall: Great. And people can follow you on social media?

Martha McCarthy: Of course!

Aaron Hall: Sounds good. Thank you!