fSpace’s Sabine was invited to guest lecture to business students last week at Notre Dame’s Fremantle campus about her experiences operating a local small business and how social media has effected her career.
Approximately 25 young students huddled around computers and desks were eager to examine Sabine’s portfolio of inspiring published images and to hear first hand what it was like running two small businesses in today’s digital media landscape.
Talking about her time spent studying photographic design in the Netherlands and traveling the world as a professional photographer before arriving in Sydney, Sabine recalled coming to Australia 11 years ago with no plan, contacts, connections or social media.
She was able to successfully develop her client base in Sydney over three years primarily through face to face meetings and other traditional methods before again moving to Western Australia in 2009 to start all over again, for a second time.
Sabine pointed out the stark difference in business environments between eastern states’ cities such as Melbourne or Sydney to Perth and it’s remote markets which inevitably forced her to rely more heavily on social media as a way to source new clients in WA.
“It was actually that sense of isolation which created fSpace,”
Sabine explained how heavily she initially relied upon social media in the creation of fSpace which was set up in Fremantle’s town centre.
However, she was also quick to point out focusing too much on social media could be challenging.
“Social media is fun to do, but it can be risky., if it’s not done right, it can hurt your business. I have never had anyone come into fSpace and sign up, saying they heard of us from Facebook.”
She said techniques such as word of mouth and referral were still the primary way people found out about fSpace.
To conclude the talk, Sabine raised an important question for students to consider regarding whether it was either more beneficial to invest time and money into learning new social media technologies and producing new content, or to use these resources and invest them into traditional marketing techniques which are proven to be effective.
Ultimately, chatting with Sabine gave students a fantastic opportunity to see how the social media skills they are currently studying translate to the real business world for a local small business owner.
Word & Image by Heath Werrett – fSpace Media