The Importance of Being Social


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A brief article on the importance of social media for business written by Tom Stables for the Lancashire Evening Post.

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The Importance of Being Social

  1. 1. Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday, July 6, 2010 21 lepbusinessweek focusimmigration Strikingtherightbalance The Government has announced a 12-week ‘conversation’ with The stakes firms about migration levels. DAVID COATES finds bosses in for the UK Lancashire desperately seeking economy are the right balance. very high if we T get this wrong RAVEL into West Lanca- shire this summer and you will not have to travel too far BALANCE: Babs Murphy to find migrant workers. For generations, the agricultur- al businesses of the county have relied on people travelling here specifically to work on the farms during the busy harvest periods. “We have people who come back year after year and even the sons and daughters of fathers and mothers that used to work here coming back, it is a real tradi- tion,” explains soft fruit farmer Pete Rowlatt, who lives in Much Hoole. To him, the talk of the govern- ment starting a 12-week consulta- tion over a possible cap on non- European Union workers coming to Britain is more than just a head- line. He says: “The majority of our workers are from Eastern and Central Europe and most of them are from the EU, but we have some who are not and plenty of other farms in the area do as well, so any cap would affect us.” There is already a temporary limit on the amount of workers QUOTA: A cap on migrant workers is expected next year from outside Europe which will be allowed into the country before She says: “It is essential that For Pete Rowlatt, the voice of next April, to prevent a surge of British businesses that require Lancashire’s countryside must be foreign workers coming to Britain highly-skilled workers are able heard just as loud and clear as any ahead of the arrival of permanent to meet their recruitment needs, other highly-skilled employee. limits. firms should be able to employ the Without this, he warns, the dan- This is also an issue for those best possible talent to ensure the gers are far more severe than sti- businesses which rely on highly- UK remains competitive. fling growth. skilled workers, particularly from “The stakes for the UK econo- He says: “This could finish some the Far East, coming here to my are very high because if restric- people. Everyone says that we work. tions on the entry of highly skilled should get English people in to do Babs Murphy, chief executive non-EU migrants are too strict, these jobs, but there are not the of the North and Western Lan- there could be damage to the people there who want to do it. cashire Chamber of Commerce, economy and to future economic “The fact is, non-skilled workers said it would ensure the needs of growth. are just as important as the skilled businesses were heard “loud and “It is absolutely essential to get ones to agricultural businesses clear” over the next three months. the balance right.” around here.” The importance of being social Nothing. Zero. Not a penny. dialogue, not a monologue. That’s the total spend on my It has humanised my brand, al- marketing budget this year, yet lowing me to ask questions and I find myself the busiest I have find answers at the same time as ever been. providing them. No flyers, no PPC and no mail- This does more than offer a ing lists purchased, it’s not that good conscience because just as these are outmoded, but my I promote others’ services, they business has been developed are willing to reciprocate. through talking with people When Mark Shaw, a leading instead of at them. Twitter expert, was pleased It is the seismic shift in com- with my redesign of his eBook, munication, with the arrival of his 13,000 followers soon knew social media, which has allowed about it and it wasn’t long me to do so, and the figures back up the superlatives. opinion before web and graphic design inquiries found their way to me. The 106m people signed up to Twitter search over 600m TomStables It has enhanced my business by kicking wide open the door things every day, which barely of opportunity; guest lecture touches the billion items shared clients and listen to what people spots, workshops, high profile daily on Facebook. But let’s not are saying about me. clients and great PR. marvel at the numbers, rather There is an incredible amount Social media has developed the opportunities that all this of information to be gleaned but from a fad to a fundamental provides. more important than acquiring – and it’s here to stay. With an ear fixed firmly on it, is knowing what to do with it. the social mediasphere, I can Marketing was once reliant on Tom Stables runs Tom Stables catch conversations happening traditional media, but now we Creative, follow him on Twitter between competitors and their can respond immediately – it’s a @tomstables