Geek Speak: Jenn Lowther, chief strategist at Indaba Digital

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Jenn Lowther advises companies to avoid being too self-promotional on social media.

A 34-year-old resident of Vancouver, Lowther is the founder and chief strategist at Indaba Digital. Established in 2011, the digital marketing agency specializes in social media. Indaba’s clients include Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, the Loden hotel, Tableau Bar Bistro, and Firefly Fine Wines and Ales.

Lowther has worked in digital marketing since 2006. She previously served as director of social media at 6S Marketing and lead strategist at Invoke Media.

The Georgia Straight interviewed Lowther over the phone.

What services does Indaba Digital offer?

What we do is we offer a holistic digital marketing strategy. From there, and depending on the client, we do the implementation, execution, and management of the social and content marketing aspects of the strategy. Then we work with partner agencies to execute the other areas of Internet marketing, whether it be media buying, SEO, paid search, development.

What’s the key to a successful digital marketing strategy?

The key is really to look at the client’s goals and the client’s resources, and from there come up with a creative, interesting, unique way to execute those goals. I could give someone a million-dollar strategy, but if they have a $20,000 marketing budget it’s not overly useful. So, figuring out who their target demographic is; an interesting, unique way to engage with them; and a way to launch and manage the campaign that maximizes the engagement and the end goal—whatever that happens to be for the client.

How can a company make itself stand out from the pack in social media?

The most important thing is to have a plan going in. You don’t just want to set up a Facebook, a Twitter, a Pinterest, and a Snapchat, and just start throwing promotional messaging out there. You need a good strategy and plan in place. Who’s your target market? What are your goals? What are your objectives? How do you measure success? Then what’s going to be the best way to implement that? And having a strong content marketing plan behind it—so what you’re going to talk about, where, when, how often, what mediums—and then measuring and updating the campaign as it goes to make sure that you’re hitting your objectives.

What’s one social media tip that you might offer to a business looking to increase engagement?

Be really authentic. Engage with them. When someone checks in on Foursquare or leaves a comment, reply to them quickly and honestly and in a human voice.

What’s one common mistake companies make on social media?

Being really self-promotional. They just talk about themselves all the time. They don’t ever engage back, and they use it as like a one-way platform. I wouldn’t think, after eight years of doing this, I’d still be telling people this. It’s gotten a lot better lately, but I have more brands where I’ll say something great about them online and they’re a local company and I never hear back. But they’re constantly pushing messaging out, and it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth personally as a user, and I know it does with my peer group.

What digital marketing trends have your attention right now?

It’s definitely the video in the instant. So things that you’re not planning as much—whether it’s a Snapchat or a quick Vine video or a nice behind-the-scenes Instagram—I really think we’re going to see more of that moving forward. I think it’s been a trend that’s been shifting for a while, but it’s starting to finally take off and have a bigger user group.

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