By: Abbey Saddler
Abbey Swihart is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University, receiving her degree in Communication Analysis and Practice with a focus on terrorism communication and politics and minor in Arabic. Abbey is a fashionista and shares her style through blogs and Instagram accounts. She also runs social media accounts for multiple companies. Abbey works for Capital Energy Ohio as their Director of Marketing.
Q: Briefly describe a typical day on the job
Swihart: 8 am – Get to work and check our google analytics to track website traffic. I find patterns of traffic based on our current public pricing, digital advertisements and radio ads. Different sources of traffic mean different channels of advertisement are benefiting us or hurting us. 10 am – Check email, follow up with our radio sales team at 97.1 the fan. I receive an excel file of all the spots we have ran on the radio for the last two weeks. I add this information into my marketing analytics excel file to track overall trends. 1pm – Create direct mailers and matching online/social media content that is used together for marketing campaigns. 2:30pm – Meet with vendor, select promotional products from vendors for company events. 3:30pm – Check our social media accounts to make sure our future posts are clean and ready to go. Check scheduling manager (If this then that, IFTTT.com) to make sure all channels are ready to post. Add a couple of Facebook posts that will be scheduled for next month (we work a month ahead of time right now). More pressing, time sensitive social media posts are added in when necessary.
Q: How did you prepare for you career? (Experience, education, mentoring, internships, etc.)
Swihart: Worked part time with the company before graduation, moved into a full time role after graduation. Interned with multiple companies as a marketing specialist and promotional events coordinator.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
Swihart: Variety. Everyday there are new marketing trends appearing and it is fun to take those trends and coordinate them with my company in the energy industry.
Q: How do you network?
Swihart: Networking events, energy conferences, marketing conferences, networking groups, Facebook networking groups, colleague referrals, LinkedIn messaging.
Q: What companies/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends and why?
Swihart: I subscribe to a newsletter that sends me trends and patterns that I look at. Some social media trends are not relevant to our industry because we specifically target only home owners. A lot of the new social media trends take a while to hit older generations (ie. Home owners). Usually the teens/early generations are the early adapters and out of those trends, only so many make it to the older generations. I do like to read up on it and stay up to date though.
Q: Why do you think social media is important to build consumer engagement?
Swihart: Social media is so important for brands in this market for a couple of reasons…. Building brand awareness is important for reputation and trust in the customer. CONISISTENT Social content is important because it shows the customer that there are regular posts from this business which lets them know that they are consistent and can be trusted. Also, it allows the brand/business to build an image of their own ie. We want to look like a customer service friendly, energy efficient, green company with competitive rates. Social media also is important because it allows the brand to directly interact with customers that may or may not have won over yet. Responses to customer service issues, engaging on consumer’s accounts, responding to comments on the brands own accounts are all ways that interaction plays an important role in terms of building consumer engagement. In an opposite view, this can really hurt a company. I would not buy a shirt from a company with 3 followers on twitter and no posts. I want to buy a shirt from a company that looks big, even if they look bigger than they really are.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?
Swihart: Creativity sets you apart. Everyone in your major will go through the same course list and have the same curriculum. Learning new trends, reading from marketing professionals and researching the competition are all good ways to set yourself apart from your classmates, but companies want more than that, because anyone can do that. Companies want to see what you personally have to offer and what ideas you can come up with. For ex, one thing that helped me set myself apart was my creativity with the current budget and reaching a specific target market. We did not have a lot of money to send out direct mailers to a specific community, so I created a Facebook advertisement that was geo-located and added a gift card prize for people who shared it. All of a sudden we only spent like $45 dollars on Facebook and $50 for the gift card and it hit almost 10,000 homes. We could not have afforded to send direct mailers to 10,000 homes but we could afford that facebook ad. It worked so well that we did it two more times and saw that our website traffic had a 33% increase from facebook. Little ideas like that with major impact is what can help set you apart
Very useful information for students like me who are aspiring careers in social media. If you would like to see her work for yourself I encourage you to follow her social media accounts! You can find her on her personal Instagram account, clothing line account Risingwear & Co, Capital Energy, Title Boxing Club where she runs the accounts for Polaris, New Albany, Henderson Road, and Hilliard locations.