SoAmpli Meets… Jess Valenghi, team and client manager at Pick & Mix Marketing

For the next instalment of our popular Q&A series, we caught up with Jess Valenghi to talk all-things social media. She discusses the true value of engaging content, killer social advertising campaigns, and why organisations need a strong online voice now more than ever. Here’s her crucial insight…

Summarise your role and what Pick & Mix Marketing stands for

Pick & Mix Marketing is a social media and marketing agency based in York, North Yorkshire. We work with all sorts of businesses – from start-ups to successful SMEs – helping them to get their products and services in front of their key customers online.

I am team and client manager here and look after the day-to-day running of the business including all internal and client-facing work. I’ve worked at Pick & Mix for five years now and have built great relationships with customers over the years. I love my job because I get to work with all sorts of great businesses and help them demystify the world of social media.

The name Pick & Mix came about when our managing director, Sally Parker, initially set up the business eight-and-a-half years ago as she wanted to offer a service that wasn’t a ‘one size fits all’. We tailor packages to make sure what we’re providing to clients is right for them – and their business needs.

How do you best utilise social media and social selling techniques for Pick & Mix?

We use social media in different ways, both for ourselves and clients depending on what their business goals are. At Pick & Mix, we find social media a great way of building relationships and creating communities where both individuals and businesses can thrive online.

Social media advertising is also a key tool that we use when the business goal is to generate sales – we create targeted campaigns to reach specific audiences and generate leads. As one of the most cost-effective advertising platforms, we believe no matter how small your business may be, social media advertising can play a huge role in generating sales.

What do you like/dislike the most about social media?

I love the way social media creates a place where communities can come together and support one another. It’s not only a fantastic place to showcase products, services and successes, it’s an easy communication tool that enables both individuals and businesses to have direct, immediate contact with people.

During the COVID-19 crisis, it has become clearer than ever before that the benefits and main focus of social media is – and should continue to be – people. Businesses are talking about their employees and customers more than ever, friends and family are sharing stories, individuals are supporting one another (for example, Captain Tom, Clap for Carers, the 5,5,5 challenge and so on). This compassion has had a huge impact on how we can get through unchartered territory together.

I dislike the negativity and stigma behind social media and the way some businesses and people choose to use it as a platform to vent and create unnecessary conflict. There are channels set up specifically for this, i.e. TripAdvisor, but some people take their own personal experiences or opinions to the next level – which isn’t helpful for anyone.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have publicly launched updates to try and tackle the ‘dark side of social’ and the more widespread the communication on this issue becomes, the greater chance we have to change the way in which people use social media.

How important is content for the lead generation that Pick & Mix does?

Content is king. At Pick & Mix, all client work begins with a social media strategy and content plan. Identifying not only key customer groups but the type and tone of content – that these groups are most likely to engage and emotionally connect with – is key.

It’s important to always remember that whatever you are selling or trying to gain leads for, you are speaking to real people with real feelings. So, getting this right is a priority!

Are you a fan of employee advocacy? If so, how do you use it in Pick & Mix?

Of course! Employees are the core of any business and organisations that fail to recognise that are set-up to fail, in my opinion. As a close-knit team, it’s important we choose employees that share our values, so we take time in the recruitment process to make sure we find the right fit before taking on new team members.

We work closely, both as a team internally and with our clients, to encourage interaction with the business and do this through engaging on social media, attending networking events and allowing each individual to have their own input into content and campaigns.

Who are you a big fan of on social media? And why do you like what they post?

I LOVE Innocent Drinks on social media – they have got their tone spot on! They think outside the box and make their content fun and engaging. I would love to be a fly on the wall when they are brainstorming their next campaign!

How do you think social media has evolved – and what do you expect for the next 12 months?

Social media has evolved and is ever-evolving… quickly! It has gone from being just about personal connections, to an all-round communication tool. Whether you need to find a ‘how to’ guide, video call a friend, buy a mattress or find a local running club, social media is where you are most likely to research first.

I think social media will continue to evolve based on how users engage with it, over the next 12 months I predict TikTok will continue to boom, we will see more video content from smaller businesses, and VR and AR will become more integrated into the platforms as social commerce goes from strength to strength.

I’m sure there will be more evolution too… who knows what’s next round the corner!

Find out more about Pick & Mix Marketing HERE.

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