Behind the Scenes
New Year, New Beginnings
Social media has become bigger than life and is increasingly used as a form of digital marketing for businesses both big and small. It tells the story of a business’s services and culture, and that story must be told well. The residents of Meridian Township have relied on Deborah Guthrie, the current communications director/public information officer for the township, to be their eyes and ears on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Guthrie has provided communications services for Meridian Township residents since 1996 but is now getting ready to start her own company this month, Guthrie Communications LLC.
Guthrie said she has enjoyed every minute of being a township employee, but several factors led to her decision to start her own company, including flying an open-air biplane over the mountains of Arizona last January, which taught her to be fearless. She said she watched “Bohemian Rhapsody” several times and Freddy Mercury’s “Radio Ga Ga” song kept ringing in her ear: “You had your time, you had the power, you’ve yet to have your finest hour.”
“I kept playing that over in my head thinking … I have many more ‘finest hours’ to go,” Guthrie said. “Are they as a communications director in my current position or something else? After much thought, and several other ‘signs’ including tons of encouragement from friends and supporters, I knew what I wanted to do, even if it meant giving up something I loved. Having a husband who is behind me 100% of the way with whatever I do doesn’t hurt either. So I decided to follow my heart and take a leap of faith. The rest is yet to come as they say.”
This month Guthrie announced on social media her new business and services.
“I formed Guthrie Communications LLC in 2019, and I have already filed my LLC so I could own the business name I wanted,” Guthrie said. “I also bought a bunch of domains as I didn’t want anyone taking them. Seems strange, but when you launch your own company, you’d be surprised how many names you want are taken!”
With that being said, we asked Guthrie for some social media expertise.
What new trends do you see for social media coming in 2020? How will these affect your business?
I think social media is an amazing tool. I’ve given statewide to national presentations on the importance of being present on social media. I’ve often said if you’re not on social media, you’re dead. For instance, chefs make Instagrammable food because they know the power of social-driven content equating to feet in the doors and profitability. The matcha craze was totally driven this way.
Can you explain why social media is a great way to stay in the know, even if you’re not in business?
When I discovered Facebook I said; “That’s where everyone is.” I joined immediately. I honestly believe every business needs a social presence. YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, depending on who you are, you need to be there.
I follow everything in Hong Kong on Facebook through my journalist friend’s posts. If it weren’t for my connection to him, I may not even had known about the protests. I learned about the tsunami on Twitter and see every cute litter of puppies born on Schultz Vet Clinic’s Instagram account. Super adorable.
What should businesses concentrate on for social media in 2020? How can you help people with these trends?
In 2020, businesses should be aware of how new algorithms will affect their business and how to tweak their posts so the posts they create don’t have a negative effect on their page reach. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Call me. JK. No really – call me. I can’t survive without excessive amounts of espresso shots and love engaging with people.
If you are a new business or small government or organization, start small on social when you are ready. There is no pressure to begin. But when you do, consistency and brand voice is key. If that means hiring a consultant who can help launch your presence, get you going and show you the ropes so you’re empowered to do your own social, go for it!
The one thing I’ve heard the most from all the conferences I’ve presented at is “We can’t afford to do it.” My response is that you cannot afford not to. Without you behind the driver’s seat telling the information, who is telling your story? You need to tell your own story. Showing people how is what I love.
Guthrie added that she loves to chat with people, and you can connect with her to talk about social media topics at facebook.com/deborahgtv, instagram.com/deborahgtv or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (517) 214-1530.