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In 2023, social media is all-encompassing. There's a platform to suit virtually everyone, and it's an unusual brand that doesn't factor it into their marketing plans.
Flash back to 2014 for a moment though and you'll see a very different landscape. When POPCOM opened its doors as PR and communications specialists and started to push businesses to have a strong social media presence, founder and director Amanda Lacey ran across plenty of scepticism and raised eyebrows.
"Social media usage was still big back then," Lacey says. "But it was really focused on personal usage. Most brands hadn't really figured out how to use it properly for customer comms or promoting themselves."
Still, Lacey had a hunch that she was onto something.
"I really saw social media as an extension of existing PR initiatives," she says. "So the client education piece really began with talking about 'digital PR' and built from there."
Almost a decade, 5 additional staff and countless successful social media campaigns later, it seems that hunch was correct.
"Sometimes you spot a gap, and the market catches up later," she says.
Yet in many ways, POPCOM has been the logical outgrowth of Lacey's previous working experience.
Her initial background was in investment banking, then there was a shift to comms and PR post-GFC and eventually a stint in magazine publishing.
"It's a broad palette, but all of them really taught me the importance of a digital footprint," she says. "I realised I could share that knowledge – and since I had a young family at home, I wasn't so interested in the 9–5 grind, I needed flexibility. That meant doing it myself!"
While operations have expanded over the years, there's still a heavy DIY ethos beneath the hood of the business. Having the right tools in place to manage operations has been essential.
One of the most recent additions to the toolset has been the American Express Platinum Business Card.
Balancing day-to-day finances
As any business owner knows, one of the big challenges for a growing business is managing cash flow.
Having the American Express Platinum Business Card in place has significantly streamlined the process for POPCOM. This Card has no pre-set spending limit and purchases are approved based on a variety of factors1. It also allows up to 55 days to pay for purchases2.
Accordingly, Lacey uses the Card as a tool for managing a range of business expenses.
Having the right type of card in place can offer a range of different benefits to business owners. It's much easier to streamline internal and external payment processes. Unexpected expenses can also be tackled immediately, rather than needing to worry about whether a monthly spend limit has been exceeded.
Lacey also points to the ability to save through spending, with Membership Rewards points earned through the Card able to be used for certain transactions.
"We work with a bookkeeper and an accountant, but we don't have an internal CFO," Lacey says. "So being able to process pretty much all of the payments we have as a business through one central Card makes the financial administration much easier."
Social media keeps people and businesses connected all over the world. So for Lacey, it's essential to have access to a card that allows for easy international transactions.
"We're really passionate about what we do and are good at spreading the word," she says. "So that means our clients could come from anywhere around the world. We have clients who want their brand built in Australia, and we have local clients who want to launch overseas. We need to be able to easily handle expenses on the ground internationally, and the American Express Platinum Business Card has been great for that."
With a range of business travel earmarked for the near future, Lacey also notes that POPCOM is planning to take advantage of the travel benefits offered by the Card too.
"Being able to meet with clients face-to-face is just so important," she says. "It really builds that human connection and helps build better relationships for everyone. So having access to ways to offset travel costs is really key."
Almost a decade into running POPCOM, Lacey is still looking for new opportunities in the market.
"Expansion is always on the agenda," she says. "The importance of digital PR is only going to grow in the coming years. The medium shifts periodically, but the message really doesn't."
Exploring new horizons can also mean taking a look back to the past, too.
"Publishing is an area that holds a lot of interest for us," she says. "I don't want to say too much just yet, but definitely keep an eye out for some exciting things on that front."
For Lacey, working with American Express has helped provide her with the tools to help scale POPCOM and reach a new range of clients in the process.
"We're not a huge team, but we do have the ability to offer big business service," she says. "Working with American Express has been integral to that process – so I'm really excited to see where we go with them next."