If you’re a major company in need of a robust social media strategy, chances are you go see Amber MacArthur. Since launching her digital marketing agency Konnekt Digital Engagement with her brother in 2007, she’s counted Canada Goose, Rogers and Microsoft among her big-name clients. But the Toronto-based MacArthur is best known for distilling tech and social media news and information for a mass audience (including her more than 94 thousand Twitter followers). As one of Canada’s leading digital and social media personalities, she also co-hosts the weekly App Central on CTV/BNN, blogs for Fast Company magazine and speaks internationally about digital trends.
We had the opportunity to chat with MacArthur (better known online as Amber Mac) about her own business strategies, and get her tips on how entrepreneurs can leverage social media for their own success.
YouInc: What inspired you to start your own business?
Amber MacArthur: My brother and I decided to start a digital marketing company, and one of our first customers was [promotional speaker] Tony Robbins. We started to get a lot of work over that first year and it became really clear to me that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. It was probably the best decision I ever made.
Amber Mac’s top tips for social media successBe part of the conversation.
“While you need some support to be able to post on a regular basis, there is value in the entrepreneur actually coming up with some of the content. People want to have personal connections.”Choose your platform.
“Most people can only really manage a couple of platforms well. Pick two or three platforms that you know you can stay on top of and manage on a regular basis.”Know where your audience is.
“If you are a food blogger, then you want to be on Pinterest. If you are a business blogger, then maybe you want to focus more on LinkedIn. So you really need to understand your audience and their expectation for content.”Keep an eye on the trends.
“Follow the latest stats and reports that come out, and try to use them to your advantage. For example, I just read this great study about how much weather affects social media usage, and how marketers can get more value out of their conversations by just following local weather.”
YI: Why was it such a great decision to strike out on your own?
AM: Like most entrepreneurs, I know when I work best. That may mean that I work 60–70 hours a week, but at the end of the day if I need to take time to go do something with my son or visit with family, I’m able to do that. It’s all about business freedom, and I don’t think it’s as easy to get that within a traditional company as an employee.
YI: What’s been a major success for you as an entrepreneur?
AM: The biggest tipping point for me was in 2010 when I wrote my book, Power Friending (Portfolio Hardcover, 2010), which is a social media business book. Ironically, I went from this online person to having a lot of success through print.
YI: What are you most proud of at this point in your career?
AM: That I’m able to hire great people and give them an opportunity to pursue whatever it is they’re passionate about. There are seven of us in the company and for me it’s rewarding every day to know that we are able to grow a team.
YI: Conversely, what would you say has been your biggest challenge?
AM: Knowing when to say no. The whole goal as an entrepreneur is to have opportunities in front of you. At some point, you have too many opportunities and it’s difficult to be able to turn them down. So it’s understanding when and how to say no. Inherently I haven’t been the best at saying no to opportunities, but I’m learning every day.
YI: When do you find you most need to say no?
AM: Fairly regularly I’ll get people who want to meet about new business ideas and go for coffee. I could do that every single day, but the reality is it’s not making me any money. Networking is very important for an entrepreneur, but you also have to recognize the real opportunities in front of you versus the ones that aren’t going to go anywhere.
YI: What does a typical day look like for you on social media?
AM: The first thing I do after getting breakfast for my son and getting him off to school is post on Twitter because I find that the morning audience is fairly active. I also try to hit some posts around lunchtime because traffic is higher then, too. In the evening, there’s a different audience on social media, so I’ll also do some posting then. On Twitter, I try and post at least two or three times a day, and on the other social sites it would probably be a few times a week.
YI: What makes a brand successful on social media?
AM: The number one thing that makes a brand successful is creating value. That means that you are sharing content or tips, or advice, or experiences that your audience finds interesting and values. So it’s really about being able to create that value.
Photograph: Marayna Dickinson