Up close and personal

Mel Lee has developed social media strategies for some of the world’s biggest brands including Nike, Cadbury, McDonald’s and the Melbourne Cup.

Mel Lee, Backchat Media

Mel Lee has developed social media strategies for some of the world’s biggest brands including Nike, Cadbury, McDonald’s and the Melbourne Cup.

She is the founder of Backchat Media, a new Ponsonby based trans-Tasman social media and digital agency working on changing how businesses engage their audiences in New Zealand and Australia.

How did you come to be a social media specialist?

I kind of fell into it. I was very fortunate to start in this industry pretty young and I’ve been involved in some high-profile events and with some amazing clients. Now my goal is to innovate in this area as much as possible.

What were you going to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a singer like Britney Spears until I was about 14! Now I still want to be a singer like Britney Spears but I’m being slightly more realistic.

What are your virtues?

I like to think they’d be honesty, accountability and integrity.

And your vices?

A bad habit of saying yes too often, chardonnay and potato chips!

Your best friend would say of you...

That I’m crazy.

Your mother would say of you...

That I’m crazy.

Who is your partner?

My partner is a builder and he loves being back in New Zealand after a few years abroad!

What is your secret passion?

I love to travel. I have this obsession with new places - I currently travel three to four weeks of the month and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What’s your secret talent?

I like to sing!

How do you keep fit?

Spin class and boxing are my favourite - however, lately it’s been a bit touch and go! The goal this month is to get to the gym at least twice a week. Don’t ask me how it’s going...

Where do you spend your holidays?

In Tauranga if possible, catching up with the family, or somewhere slightly more exotic - this year’s holiday will be in Japan! Can’t wait!

What’s your perfect Sunday?

I love relaxed Sunday mornings wandering the markets and then spending the rest of the day eating everything we’ve bought!

Which is your favourite Ponsonby cafe?

Good One - best coffee around.

And your favourite Ponsonby restaurant?

I love Pane & Vino with my friends on a Friday night and a couple of bottles of wine. Otherwise Blue Breeze Inn or Bedford Soda & Liquor- too many to choose from!

Which is your favourite Ponsonby store?

Superette. They have a hilarious little snapchat account and I can’t walk out of there without clutching something leather or shiny.

Please share your best kept Ponsonby secret?

I love the little public library box on Brown Street where you can take a book and leave one in return! So cool to see there’s such a sense of community in one of Auckland’s trendiest suburbs.

What’s inspired you recently?

I am consistently inspired by entrepreneurship. I’m developing a real love for innovation and some of my friends are working on awesome projects. One of my mates has completely redesigned the sushi container to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, and prevent half a billion sushi containers going to landfill each year. Check them out on Kickstarter, you’ll find it by searching Susheco.

Your desert island distractions...

Just give me Lightbox and a wi-fi connection and I’m set!

The house is on fire and your family is safe - what do you save?

My passports, a photo of my Nana and my jewellery box.

“I’d be lost without my...”

It sounds a little cheesy but I’d be lost without my partner. He’s the most supportive person in the world - he doesn’t really understand what my company does but he still uses sentences like ‘Do they really understand the implications of this social media strategy’ and he built all our office furniture. What a legend.

One thing you have learned about life is..?

That you have got to have a vision. If you don’t have a vision you can’t expect other people to come along for the ride.

Your advice to Ponsonby businesspeople seeking social media expertise?

Shop around. There are a lot of agencies out there who claim to offer social media services, but I’ve seen some really shoddy work and a lot of money wasted on campaigns that don’t deliver. Don’t settle for something you don’t understand.

BACKCHAT MEDIA, 2 Fitzroy Street, T: 021 660 934