by Jonathan Camargo

Big Spaceship is a digital agency based out of Brooklyn, New York. Named one of AdAge’s 2015 “Agencies to Watch“, as well as Mediapost’s 2014 “Agency of the Year“, Big Spaceship has a lot to boast about, and much of that is thanks to its strategic strategist, Tina Yip.

I visited Big Spaceship during November of 2015 with the Ohio University Multimedia Society, and met Tina there. Her passion about her job and the field of social media itself made the agency visit one to remember. It goes without saying then that Tina was the first person to cross my mind when the interview assignment was first discussed. I was lucky enough to be able to interview Tina, and gain some incredible insight from the mind of one of social media’s best.

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Jonathan: Why do you think social media is important is important to build consumer engagement?

Tina: Well, it’s important for brands to be honest because people are using social media right now. Since the inception of Facebook, the first social media platform to really blow up in the past decade, brands have been on social media for awareness and to build consumer loyalty. If there’s something social for a brand, the brand will be there. Social media is a tool for brands to humanize themselves and have 1-on-1 conversations with their consumers. It’s really different from TV ads, where consumers can’t talk back, but with social media it’s a two-way conversation. It allows brands to have a further connection with their consumers.

Jonathan: What companies/organizations do you think are doing it right, when it comes to social media, and why?

Tina: I’ve always been a huge fan of GE. Essentially, GE is a B2B company that makes crazy hardware that is not necessarily for consumers, but what they’re really good at is that they don’t really treat themselves as a B2B company. Businesses are made out of people, and GE speaks to these businesses as just a normal consumer, and they really stand true to themselves as an innovative company. Not only on social media, but also on mobile platforms and digital, so whenever there’s a new innovation thing that is going on, they hop on it. For example, there is a new mobile app that just recently came out called Poncho. So it’s been around for a few years as a newsletter that essentially humanizes weather, and they recently launched an app, and immediately GE is already on it.  I think that GE does a really good job with being at the front of technology, and of course technology includes social media. Thinking back when new platforms just came out, like when Vine and Snapchat just came out, GE has always been the first brand to just be on it and think about ways that are nontraditional to be on those platforms.

Jonathan: Have there ever been any times that you looked back at a social media campaign, that you were a part of, and wished you could change an aspect of it? Any examples?

Tina: So I’ve always been a fan of follow-up campaigns. For example, this campaign done by Heineken called “Travel Roulette” took this board at the airport where they invited people to press buttons on the board  and it would display a location anywhere in the world and whatever location you’d get, you’d need to drop everything and they would  give you a free ticket to go there.

(Video originally found on AdWeek Article, although link there is now private)

Tina: So, that was a big campaign, there was a video released, and a lot of people on social media were saying how it was fake and they were like “oh, this is totally fake”, “they totally planned this”, “they were totally actors”, so what Heinken did was it took some of these tweets and reached out to those people in real life and brought the board to them in real life to make them play the game to prove to them that “we did this, it was real, and we want to offer it to you and you get to play this right now and we want to send you to wherever in the world”, and people were like “Oh my god, it is real!” So I’ve always been a huge fan of these super reactive, quick turnaround, next-level follow-up campaigns, and I’ve definitely done campaigns myself where I thought that there were opportunities to take in the responses and social sentiment of people and kind of create a quick turnaround follow-up campaign out of it, but often times it’s really difficult to turnaround something like that because often times clients don’t react as quickly, or they think it’s risky, so I really admire brands that have done quick follow-up campaigns.

Jonathan: What is your favorite social media platform to use and why?

Tina: It’s a close tie between Twitter and Snapchat. I mean, I like all of them. They’re all for different purposes. Definitely Twitter and Snapchat though, because, with Twitter, I love being able to meet new people and being able to reach out to whoever I want and communicate with them. Twitter is just an amazing tool where, say you want to tweet at this person that you admire. Chances are that they’re probably going to see it. They could potentially respond to you, and you could potentially have a connection with them and have a back-and-forth with them. Twitter is just this amazing tool that allows you to reach out and connect with like-minded people. Often times, I read an article on Medium, and I give props to the person because I really enjoyed it, and then I end up having a conversation with them. There’s been times where I have made friends on Twitter and actually met them in real life. Back when I was in college I was actually in TweetChats with one of my closest guy friends right now , and one time we went to this event in New York and met in real life and we just hit it off, and now we’ve been friends for like, four years, and he’s one of my closest friends. So, the possibilities of meeting anyone in the world with Twitter are huge. And Snapchat, I mean, you probably use Snapchat. It’s just a great place to have this unfiltered communication with people. The videos on there are just so raw and real and you can just really see people in their truest form, from your friends to celebrities. The rawness of the platform is a reason for why it’s so popular between teens and millennials.

Jonathan: What is one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring social media professional?

Tina: Have a point of view. So if you’re applying to a social media job, people who are judging you in the company on social media will stalk you and they will search you on the internet, so it’s important to show that you have a point of view in something. So if you want to be in advertising, have a point of view in campaigns, have a point of view in how society is evolving, have a point of view in something you feel passionate about to show that A. you have a voice, B. that you’re a good writer, which is so important in social media, and C. that you’re not afraid to put yourself out there and you’ll understand how to use those platforms. Often times, you need to be a user of social media to at least understand how a user uses it, so you need to be on it to be well versed as to how people view and use those platforms. On the flip-side, how a marketer uses and views those platforms as a means of communication. So you have to train yourself to be well versed in both sides, and it’s so important, with any profession, not just social media, to brand yourself. It’s really important to be curious and to take in everything like a sponge and read as many publications as possible, and just learn as much as possible. Be in the know about what is going in the social media world. Oh, and network! Meet all the people! That’s how you stand out.

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My interview with Tina was extremely eye opening. Although I have some social media experience already, I felt as if I was learning revolutionary new viewpoints onto the platform as a whole. There really is so much to social media, and it’s important to understand that your brand’s presence  transcends its digital boundaries. Are your consumers engaged? Are you engaged with your consumers?  Social media is a two-way street, and it’s time to cross that dotted yellow line.