Attendees of the AFP Canadian Forum in Toronto this June are going to get a crash course on social media trends and best practices from one of Canada’s foremost experts, Amber MacArthur.
MacArthur is the president of Konnekt Digital Engagements, a developmental marketing agency headquartered in Toronto. In 2010, Canadian Business called her “Canada’s top social media expert on how to build a brand,” and she appears regularly as a technology and social media strategist on CNN, CTV and CBS.
A frequent public speaker, MacArthur regularly focuses on how people are adapting to new ways of communication. She recently spoke with AFP about her upcoming forum session.
AFP: What social media sites should treasury and finance professionals be most active on?
Amber MacArthur: I think Twitter tops the list of the most important sites, from an information-gathering standpoint. Just as far as getting news updates in any industry, it really tends to lead the pack because it’s such an easy investment for so many people—just 140 characters or less.
Also, for anyone in any professional capacity, LinkedIn continues to be one of the top places to go for any type of networking, but also thought leadership. I think that’s been a big shift for LinkedIn over the past couple of years—it’s not just a place where you go to look for your next job; it’s also a place where you go to talk about industry happenings, news and events. It also has become a place for providing people with content that is relevant to their industries.
AFP: Regarding LinkedIn, you would recommend then that financial professionals should be doing more than just updating resume information—they should be joining groups and actively communicating with their peers via the site.
MacArthur: Yes, and I think that’s an important shift for LinkedIn that’s occurred in this past year. It’s important for people to keep in mind that LinkedIn is a place where you can learn from other thought leaders in your industry and also possibly to establish yourself as a thought leader. It’s much more of a sharing platform than just a job search platform.
AFP: Are you seeing professionals communicate more with their peers via LinkedIn than say, their work email?
MacArthur: I think so. It’s just an easier platform to keep in touch with your peers. If you think about how often professionals are mobile, LinkedIn does a great job of maintaining a fleet of mobile apps that help people stay connected on the go. LinkedIn is really at the forefront of social revolution, but in a professional capacity. Most of the other social network sites haven’t been able to achieve that. They capture the teenage audience, but don’t necessarily get the professionals. But LinkedIn has continued to be strong in that area.
AFP: What are some social media pitfalls corporates should be wary of?
MacArthur: I think for most organizations, it’s important to pay attention to some of the trends that are happening in social media. As frivolous as they may seem, when it comes to things like privacy and cybersecurity, the reality is that teens are setting the trends as far as the social networks of tomorrow. So if you look at what the teen audience is doing, and what they’re sharing, the tendency is that those social networks—within six months—tend to come to mainstream audiences. Then the teens leave and they go somewhere else.
So I think it’s important that people just keep an eye on these trends and pay attention to what’s next and how quickly things are moving. The pace of change with some of these social media tools is absolutely phenomenal. Some sites live and die within six months. There’s a new concern there for security and privacy because people don’t have enough time to figure out how to keep themselves safe and protected.
AFP: With social media changing at such a rapid rate, how can corporations hope to keep up? Should every company have someone on staff whose sole purpose is to keep them informed on these trends?
MacArthur: I think that you definitely need someone internally or at least a consultant who can keep you up-to-date on all the different tools and technology trends. That historically has fallen on someone in the IT department, but if that person is a pretty hardcore technical person, sometimes some of these things can slip by. So I do think it helps to have a resident social media expert in house, whether that’s someone you have to hire or someone internally who just has their finger on the pulse when it comes to these things.
I’ve seen companies have monthly lunch-and-learn sessions about some of these new technology trends out there in the social media world. So just having regular education internally within a company, I think, is one of the best ways to keep people up-to-date. But it’s got to be constant education and it can’t end. I don’t think it’s a once-a-year thing; it really has to be almost monthly because things are happening so fast.
The AFP Canadian Forum takes place June 11-13 at the Park Hyatt Toronto. Learn more about the forum here.