Creative Talk with Max Doyle, Hello Social
Hello Social describe themselves as Australia’s leading social media marketing agency, who deliver bespoke social media services. We talk to Max Doyle, Managing Director – to find out how they keep on top of their game.
Hello Social have been in Sydney for 6 years. How did you come to life?
I had been working at another digital marketing agency that had to outsource the graphic design of posts to a freelancer just to get basic posts done. It was poorly set up to do social media. I naively though I could do a better job, so when I was 23 I founded Hello Social.
What was been the biggest challenge in starting your own agency?
The biggest challenge was getting it off the ground and making it profitable initially. We weren’t profitable for 2 years and that’s where 95% of agencies fail. The second biggest challenge was learning how to effectively manage people.
You cover social media, emerging trends, influencers, Marketing, B2B – what is the perfect package for your clients to ensure they perform in the cluttered online market?
It’s all about getting the simple things right. We look at recent trends and what’s working - AKA video and boosting to right audience. Optimising ads and going from there is the long and short of what will help you stand out. There’s not necessarily a secret sauce. Create original content and do it better than your competition.
Do most of your clients come to you asking for help when they have got to critical point – or do they engage you from the onset of a project / brand creation?
Most of our clients come to us at different stages. Generally, it’s for retainer work or pre-planned campaigns, not when they’re in a pickle. Retainers comprise 70% of our revenue.
What does a typical day at Hello Social entail?
We have divided everything that needs to happen in social media into four sections within the month. First week is reporting and learning from the actions of the previous month. Second week is proposing content for following month. Third week is ads focused and optimization. Fourth week is ticking all the boxes and focusing on learning and development. We can utilise this structure because of the recurring retainer model we have. However, there are ad hoc requests, campaigns and deliverables on top of that.
What are the main technologies you work with and why do you prefer them?
We are big fans of Slack, Asana for project management and onboarding, and we use Hubspot as a CRM and marketing automation software for ourselves. We keep things pretty simple.
Are there any new / emerging web technologies that have you excited?
I feel as though there is a lot of hype around VR and AR. I will believe the impact when I see it.
When hiring, what are the top qualities you look for in your social media / content creation team? Do you prefer people who have cross over skills or specialise in one area?
A lot of the roles we have are account management roles, so being organized is a top quality for a lot of our staff. Amongst the creative team, they need a passion for interesting and engaging content. We look for quality leadership in the top managers. Account managers have to have a bit of everything, and we like to hire people who have performed well at that role in the past rather than hiring a new person and having to train them. In saying that, we’d be happy to train an existing staff member on a new skill if they show potential.
How would you describe the culture at Hello Social?
With a team of 20 something, there are subsets of culture. However, we operate in a large, open-plan, self-contained office. There are groups that like to get dinner and drinks several nights per week and definitely enjoy the party lifestyle, and then there are the people that go home and knit. Legit. In saying that, the average age is 26 and we are a fun, young, vibrant group with an interesting snack budget which often causes more discussion than nutrients. #Yakult
How about personality? Is this an important hire factor for you?
It’s important that they fit in with the fun and vibrant culture, and they need to have the personal professionalism to get the job done. We wouldn’t hire a dry, boring person even if they were good at their job.
What’s the best advice you would give yourself starting out on your career?
Be persistent and never give up.
What’s next for Hello Social?
We are opening up an office in Melbourne and Berlin and increasing staff in Sydney to 40 over the next twelve months.