By Taylor Bartley
Brad Wester is a local digital marketing consultant who is passionate about helping people grow their business. You may see him at St. Louis PRSA meetings, TEDxArch events or speaking at a local event (such as the WordPress Wordcamp last week). When he is not out and about at St. Louis events, he is running his business, St. Louis Social Media Consultants. Brad stays busy, to say the least, but what we love most about him is his dedication to the St. Louis digital marketing community. We have been dying to pick his brain for a while now and got the chance to catch up with him to ask a few questions.
How/When did you get started using social media?
I started using social media when I was in high school, I believe around 2005-2006. I had a MySpace account that I rarely used, and shortly after that I was convinced to start using Facebook. I didn’t use either one that much. A few of my friends created a private forum with different boards focused on different topics: weekend plans, video games, etc. It was our way of group texting, we never talked about anything important. I used the forum more than any other social network until I was in college.
What inspired you to start St. Louis Social Media Consultants?
I started St. Louis Social Media Consultants as a way to gain the professional experience I wanted to have. It started as a side project that I worked on while I had a different job and it grew from there. There were two sides of the experience I was seeking. I wanted to have more experience in digital marketing, but I also wanted to have the experience of starting and growing a company. I wanted to experience the daily frustrations, the growing pains that all businesses experience, the sleepless nights that come from working too hard or from worrying about where your next paycheck will be coming from. I wanted to experience the highs and lows of running a business, so I would truly understand how digital marketing can best help small business owners.
Which social network do you like best? Why?
That’s a tough question, but I have to go with Twitter because it’s truly social. I can talk with anyone. I don’t have to add you as a friend, there’s no connection request required – I just say hello. It keeps social simple.
What is your favorite SEO tip?
Focus on local SEO and use long tail keywords. If you do those two things, you’ll connect with the people who are actually looking for you and your products/services.
If you own a GM Car Dealership, you don’t want to optimize your website for the keyword “new car”. Not only is the competition going to be really high, but the people searching for that keyword aren’t really looking for you. They may not be located in the same state, they may not be interested in GM vehicles and based on that general of a search term, they probably aren’t ready to buy anyway.
A better option would be a long tail keyword such as, “2015 Buick LaCrosse St. Louis Missouri”. The competition for that term should be much less, increasing your odds of being ranked well in search results. It’s also a search term that targets people looking for a specific year, make and model vehicle in a specific location. People who are using a search term like this would typically be much closer to the purchase point of their buying process.
What is the best part about working in St. Louis?
The people. My family is here and they are all very supportive of me, especially my wife. I couldn’t do it without them. But I also love the marketing community in St. Louis. Everyone’s competitive, but it’s also very friendly. Everyone’s always willing to help if you ask, or at least put you in touch with someone who can help.
What are your go-to apps/sites for social media management?
I don’t use anything too advanced. Buffer for scheduling, TweetDeck for monitoring, Canva for creating images and Google Alerts for monitoring the web for keyword mentions.
Buffer also just added a new feature for creating images called, Pablo. “Engaging social media images in 30 seconds flat”. I’m not in the habit of using it frequently – but it looks promising.
What do you like most about WordPress?
Is everything an acceptable answer?
If I have to pick just one thing, it would be the community support. If I run into a problem, I can quickly search for solutions and almost always find out what steps I need to take to fix my issue. If I can’t find a solution in the forums, I can submit a support ticket with the theme/plugin developer and I’ll usually have a response within a few hours.
Follow Brad on Twitter