Interview with Tim Haines – October Lansing Marketing Hackers

Tim Haines of Symposia Labs

Lansing Marketing Hackers was a great success last year, both in attendance and speakers. We are looking forward to another great year for 2018-2019. We have lined up Jesse Flores from Super Web Pros speaking in December and on October 10th, Tim Haines founder and project manager of Symposia Labs in Holland will be speaking at our first Lansing Marketing Hackers event for the 2018-2019 session.

Tim will be presenting at WLNS at Noon on Facebook and Instagram Advertising. He also host Drinks and Digital in Lansing, Holland, Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Chicago.

We got a chance to ask Tim a few questions on how he got started and what he thinks are important for people to understand about online marketing and advertising.

How did you get involved in marketing and advertising?

I fell in love with digital marketing both slowly and all at once with lots of stops and starts. I did event marketing for three years with a free-tax filing program sponsored by the United Way. After that, I went into marketing and started freelancing and found West Michigan to be a place that encouraged a startup mindset. One by one, I found others to join my team and that’s how Symposia was born.

What have you seen change over your time in the marketing space?

Almost everything. Social media advertising has become a key part of most digital strategies. That’s why advertisers continue to offer new and innovated products that allow for more precise targeting than ever before. New channels (such as Snapchat) have entered the landscape. Old platforms (remember MySpace?) have died.

Social media advertising has become a key part of most digital strategies. That’s why advertisers continue to offer new and innovated products that allow for more precise targeting than ever before. @TimothyTHaines Click To Tweet

What common mistakes do you see people make?

Assuming that their working with an expert…

  1. Putting a bunch of work into something without an actual strategy.
  2. Forgetting to create personas and consider the needs and pain points of their target audiences.
  3. Putting quantity over quality.

Could you explain exactly how a Facebook pixel works?

The Facebook pixel tracks what you do on a specific website and it also tracks what you do on all other website that use a Facebook pixel. Facebook pixel makes it possible to run extremely advanced campaigns; it is really the technology that makes Facebook advertising so successful. Facebook is extremely good at figuring out what it is users want to see.

How do the changes in 2018 change FB advertising? (FB clamping down on advertisers procuring user data, etc.)

The changes in 2018 don’t have a dramatic impact on advertisers. Depending on the target audience, some advertisers have had to shift their strategies. However, similar changes have happened before. For example, Facebook removed the ability to target by profession last year. To keep winning with Facebook ads, it is important to handle data responsibly, create high-quality ads, and to send users to high-quality websites.

How are advertising on FaceBook and Instagram different? Similar?

As a channel, Instagram is more focused on lifestyle content and is also used by a typically younger demographic (Instagram is highly popular among young adults between the ages of 18 and 29). Ads that perform well on Facebook will not necessarily perform well on Instagram. Having said that, many of the ad units are similar and the targeting itself is the same (the Facebook ads marketplace is used to run ads on both channels).

To keep winning with Facebook ads, it is important to handle data responsibly, create high-quality ads, and to send users to high-quality websites. @TimothyTHaines Click To Tweet

How does one decide which best suits one’s business?

You must have a digital marketing and content strategy that includes detailed personas then you can worry about content distribution and which channels to focus on. The strategy should always guide distribution and channels.

The strategy should always guide distribution and channels. @TimothyTHaines Click To Tweet

If I have no interest in social media at all, is it worth doing half-heartedly? Or should I just not do it if I’m not convinced of the value?

It’s wise to outsource or delegate to another team member if you’re not interested in it. Quality is more important than quantity. Remember that your potential lack of interest doesn’t negate the potential return on investment. For example: I’m not interested much in PR. I just never “fell in love” with it the way that I have fallen in love with digital marketing. My lack of interest in PR doesn’t negate the fact that it constantly has a positive impact on my business when I do it well.

You can either become an expert or hire one.


Tim will be speaking at WLNS on October 10th at Noon. Please RSVP at our meetup page. Check out the Drinks and Digital Facebook group, for more details on events in your area.

If you are interested in the technical or advanced side of marketing and want to become a power user in such apps and services then definitely check out Lansing Marketing Hackers. Lansing Marketing Hackers is a meetup we host with support from UnoDeuce Multimedia and TekSystems on the second Wednesday of every other month at Noon. You can watch our previous events on our YouTube channel or join our group on FaceBook and Meetup.

We look forward to seeing you at Tim’s presentation on October 10th.