by Amanda Roberts


1xn3skNzAs a senior graduating with my Social Media certificate in the spring, I am constantly in search of other students’ success stories as I look to enter the job market. For advice, I turned to my friend Taylor Olmstead, a recent Ohio University graduate who is now working full-time as a Social Media and E-Commerce Direct Sales Specialist at Rocky Brands. Though a recent hire, Taylor is in charge of managing the accounts for the new spin-off lifestyle brand, Durango Leather Company, and had some sage wisdom about his approach to social media marketing.


Amanda Roberts: What people/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends and why?

Taylor Olmstead: For social media industry news I follow Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee), Chris Sacca (@sacca), Mashable (of course) and Advertising Age. In particular, I’m getting a lot of value out of Gary’s #AskGaryVee YouTube show, because it gives actionable strategies and tips based on questions from other marketers and brands.

For fashion industry news I follow Who What Wear, Selectism, Esquire Style, Coolhunting, A Continuous Lean and The Awesomer. I also keep tabs on a number of YouTubers and bloggers that I’d like for the brand to collaborate with, and keep a running spreadsheet of people who have reviewed our products so I can occasionally follow-up with them.

AR: What companies/organizations do you think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media?

TO: In my space, I would say the standouts are Topshop, Shinola, Hi My Name Is Mark and Kitsune. The fashion/lifestyle space is really intriguing because a lot of what these brands do on social is only somewhat related to their core product. They really want to create affinity between their brand and the consumer’s aspirations, for better or worse.

AR: What is one piece of advice you would give to a budding social media specialist?

TO: Understand that social media aren’t powerful because they’re shiny and new. Social media are powerful because they are built on human connection and play into our desire for conversation and information. Social is not just reblogging cool articles and then getting your cool blue check mark. If you’re not in the trenches meeting your audience where they are and talking to them about things they care about, you’re doing it wrong. See The Thank You Economy for more on this. I base my whole approach on that book.

AR: When constructing tweets, posts, and campaigns, how would you describe your brand’s social media image/identity?

TO: We’re somewhere between a fashion blog and a rock culture magazine like Spin or Rolling Stone. On any given day I’m just as likely to recommend a new music video as I am to comment on a recent runway show. We want to fill the rocker chic niche, and that community really cares about authenticity, so I have to share what I’m really into and communicate my actual feelings about them to encourage discussion.

AR: Describe the decision-making process between you and your colleagues when choosing what to post on social media

TO: I have a brand manager and an executive above me who have helped me establish the image of the brand and the ideal consumer. From there, I’m given a lot of creative freedom as to what gets posted and when. People around my office will send suggestions and links sometimes, but for the most part I just run with whatever jumps out at me.


Taylor knows that social media marketing is not a gimmick. Brands must get down in the trenches and find out what their audience is interested in and engage them. Likes, comments, and retweets are important, but social media is not simply about numbers. Taylor is building a lifestyle brand where people will come to interact beyond just buying a product. Aspiring social media marketers like myself, take note.