An Interview with Lex Barber: Marketing Manager @ Liftshare.com | Social Insider

5th September 2016

For our first edition of Social Insider, we met up with Lex Barber, the Marketing Manager at Liftshare. We chat to Lex about social media, content marketing, brand and budgets. Welcome to Social Insider…

An Interview with Lex Barber: Marketing Manager @ Liftshare.com | Social Insider

This is the first episode of a blog, podcast and YouTube series we’re creating called Social Insider. In this series we talk to marketing and creative experts to gain an insight into how they work and find strategies you can put to use in your own business. Today we’re talking to Lex who’s the marketing manager at Liftshare.com. Enjoy!

What is Liftshare?

Liftshare is essentially a matching service, you go online and type in where your going to and from, the date and the time of travel. Just like traditional travel websites you get a list of journeys and those journeys are people offering out their spare seats on the website. I have been here for about eighteen months and I’m the marketing khaleesi (well marketing manager if I hadn’t have picked my own job title) and I manage brand, PR and communications across the board for Liftshare.

How did you start out in marketing?

I kind of fell into marketing, I actually started out my career as a PA, but not a particularly good one. The lady that I was looking after at the time was pretty low maintenance, so didn’t need a lot of looking after. So I started helping out the marketing team that sat within the same department, from there moved over to work for them full time and they sponsored my qualification with the chartered institute of marketing. Then I moved on to other marketing roles there after.

What kind of content do you produce at Liftshare?

I produce a lot of blog content, proactive and reactive. If something comes out in the news about anything transport related, technology related to transport or anything about the sharing economy then I create a blog post on it and share it out across all social media channels. We don’t produce videos or podcasts purely as there is just me and there isn’t the budget to do so. So I rely pretty heavily on blog content but I also produce the odd thought leadership piece for press as well.

What’s the best performing content for Liftshare?

The most popular piece of content at the moment is car pool karaoke, James Cordon’s the late late show skits that he does – they’re really popular. So whenever they come out which unfortunately it’s about 4 to 5 o clock in the morning my time, I put together a blog around those and include the video. Then we launch other content in line with them like our annual campaign called Liftshare week, where by we encourage people all over the country, public and businesses to try Liftshare for the first time or get someone else in their car if they’re already sharing. During that time we equip everyone with marketing materials, posters, leaflets they can use. This year that’s themed around car pool karaoke, so we have cartoons of James car pooling with Adele, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder. I can also set up easy little things like polls and quizzes around car pool karaoke. When there’s a big news story, event or something really popular that has gone viral, like car pool karaoke or Peter Kay’s car share, I can take that and shape a lot of content around it, so reactive content.

Do you use any apps or tools to manage social media?

I use Hootsuite for Liftshare. That works across our Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter platforms to schedule and auto schedule posts for us and the other social media channels I manage.

What social networks do you use?

At the moment for Liftshare I use Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and YouTube. Although YouTube isn’t updated with our own content perhaps as regularly as I would like but Facebook and Twitter are updated as a minimum once daily.

What social network is most effective for you at Liftshare?

Facebook actually performs better for us in terms of click through’s and sign ups but Twitter is definitely better in terms of just having a conversation with people and getting people feeling good about the brand.

What paid media do you use?

At the moment I don’t pay for advertising anywhere. We’re a really small social enterprise and there just isn’t the budget there for me to put adverts in everything. However I do a lot of earned media, so we’re in the press in that respect and on other online media channels. We also have a number of strategic partnerships where by something Liftshare related sits on a third party website. So for example the English football league have a little widget that sits on the fixtures page of every club in the EFL, from there when fans are looking through the page and booking their tickets or deciding which matches they’d like to go to, they can find information on Liftshares or other fans going to the same match to share with. So that’s something Liftshare related sitting somewhere else but we haven’t paid for it.

How do you measure the success of a social campaign at Liftshare?

I’m targeted on traffic to the website and the analytics behind the traffic, so I can tell where people have come from, which post they have come from, what’s performed well and what hasn’t. Also it’s really important to stay on top of how people are talking about your brand, if people are talking positively then obviously that’s good thing; if there talking negatively then you need to take that away and work on it and see how you can turn that around for the brand.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging thing for me is working with the budget and what most marketers are use to working with. It’s really easy and it has been in some of my previous roles just to know that you have a huge pot of money and just throw money at things until they work. Where as now I have to work a lot more creatively, so I will take a minimum viable product to give something a go, see if it works, if it does great, try it again and try it differently somehow. If it doesn’t pivot and try something else. That’s a huge challenge for me, but I also get contacted all the time by people selling ad space, people with awesome opportunities but they’re just really expensive. Therefore I need to be a bit more creative on how I advertise and promote the brand out.

Do you run any social media competitions?

We launch a lot of competitions around football clubs, festivals and any big event where a lot of people are going to the same place, around the same time tends to generate a decent amount of Liftsharers, people looking for and offering out their spare seats. We’ve run competitions for festival tickets with festival republic for Download festival, so if you’ve registered to the site and sent us a message, you would be in with a chance to win a pair of tickets to the festival. We have also run competitions around signed footballs and merchandise for fans of certain football clubs. So even if something is quite small actually it can generate interest, if you pitch it to the right audience. For example Norwich City Football Club fans will want to win something Norwich City related that they can’t buy in the store, so if you can offer that to them that’s a huge draw. Festival tickets to a specialist festival are also a big pull that you can target right in on the audience and make sure the people that want to go to the festival hear about it.

How do you deal with negative feedback on social media?

I don’t really get any negative feedback through social media. I will get the odd question about how the system works or someone needs help with something and I pass that on to our membership team, who deal with the practical help for them. If we did get something negative then it would be dealt with as soon as we see it effectively. Our membership team are here to make sure everyone is happy while they are sharing and that they are sharing safely and securely. So in this instance everything would be passed on to them and they could make contact with the sharers and work from there.

Any blogs you’d recommend to other marketers?

I don’t really read blogs but my one bit of advice for marketers would be to read and watch the news. Just keep up to date with everything, even if that’s just a Twitter feed open with some news websites scatteredĀ amongst it, just keep on top of everything that’s going on in the media. Opinion pieces I read a lot of, places like Huff Post that do the odd article that’s an opinion piece on a certain news story, I read loads of those. I would totally recommend that to anyone, just to give yourself more of a rounded view of what’s going on in the world and peoples different points of view.

What’s your favourite part of working for Liftshare?

Totally the people. We have an awesome team and that really makes the days go a lot faster. Also it’s really nice to be in an office where I can just sit down and have lunch with the rest of my team and no matter who’s there, what level they are or what they do for a living I know that we can sit, chat and it will be chill and fun.

Finally, can you recommend somewhere to visit in Norwich?

I would totally recommend going to Cafe Britannia, the social enterprise cafe at the Norwich prison. It’s run by inmates and it serves incredible food and has the best view of any restaurant or cafe in Norwich, all across the city. So I would definitely recommend visiting there.

Find out more about Liftshare at www.liftshare.com

Thanks for reading guys. If there is anyone you’d like us to interview or a question you’d like to ask, comment below or pop us an email at info@oceanroadmedia.co.uk

Category: Social Insider

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