Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses: An Interview with Gary Pershad

The following social media marketing industry interview is with Gary Pershad, Chief Marketing Officer of Getchogrindup LLC, Co-host of the Getchogrindup Podcast and Retirement Plan Specialist at Vanguard.

Andrew: Would you say that Social Media Marketing is useful for small businesses?

Gary: Not only is social media marketing useful, it’s absolutely necessary. We live in a digital world where your possibilities for growth are severely limited if you don’t exist within a social marketing space. By operating in a communal network where ideas, passions and connections can grow and blossom, it is important to at least be present for the conversation.

Andrew: I certainly agree Gary, we live in times where building a personal brand as well as a reputation for your business is crucial for spreading your message and being able to create and maintain meaningful relationships. Have you noticed any noteworthy trends in social media marketing in recent years as it pertains to business and what are they?

Gary: One of the biggest trends that I’ve noticed has been the personification of brands. Brands of various industries are starting to catch on to digital branding trends as some of the front runners, such as sports teams (etc. Atlanta Falcons and Manchester United FC) and fast food restaurants (etc. Wendy’s and Wingstop). Brands have shifted from solely using social media as a way to receive feedback and share updates to actually interacting with customers and other brands in witty and human-like ways. The digital space, specifically social media, allows people and brands to exist and interact as social entities and speak the same societal language. This has been extremely evident on social media platforms like Twitter where the content amplifies and exemplifies the voice of a brand. It’s a trend that is often overlooked but should be marveled at.

Andrew: Agreed and I would add that the unique interactions and engagements that brands are able to have on social media instill brand loyalty and absolutely help to expand their digital reach. What is your favorite aspect of digital marketing?

Gary: It’s an ever-changing landscape of exploration and creativity. The possibilities are endless and it’s that endless possibility that makes digital marketing so special.

Andrew: What is your favorite social network for business or personal use?

Gary: Instagram. Easy. Instagram is visually appealing, massively interactive and definitely trending. Honestly, give it another 2 years or so and I’ll likely have another answer for you.

Andrew: I can’t argue with you there Gary, since I started in the digital marketing industry about 4 years ago, I’ve seen significant change as social networks rise and fall. Do you have any advice on how small businesses can better leverage social media?

Gary: Build a digital community. It is no easy task as it takes a true, genuine presence and a lot of maintenance, but the value is priceless. Literally, you can’t buy an online digital community that is active, communicative and true to your brand.

Andrew: Absolutely, and many small businesses fail to see that digital marketing is designed to engage and provide the opportunity for brands to interact, as opposed to blasting out information. What role has social media played in your career?

Gary: It has been a great way to showcase my life, skills and interests. It’s the best way for me to highlight my personal brand and validate all that I can do.

Special thanks to Gary Pershad for the interview!

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