By Garrett Smith

Rob Mixer is the current Digital and Social Media Manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he creates, produces and oversees all official Blue Jackets social media content. Since joining the Blue Jackets social media team in 2012
, Mixer has been essential in the growth of the team’s social media presence, increasing their total followers from 50,000 to over 250,000.

I recently had the honor of meeting Rob when he came to speak to our Social Media class at Ohio University. Considering Rob is also a fellow Bobcat and social media enthusiast, I thought it would be most appropriate to get his insights and opinions on the industry.

Garrett Smith: Would you explain some tools that you use to plan, implement, or evaluate social media campaigns?

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 2.44.13 PMRob Mixer: The tools we use depend on the expectations of the specific partner involved. For example, if the goal is data capturing and UGC content, we will use a tool called Offerpop, which specializes in socially-driven contests, promotions and engagement campaigns. Offerpop collects social data from users who participate in contests and provides us with most everything we’d need to know. We also use a vendor called Phizzle, which powers our text-messaging and in-arena social media content capturing.

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

RM: The definition of “doing it right” is wide-ranging and varies based on your audience, your goals, and your growth. One brand that stands out among its peers is Taco Bell; Taco Bell was really the first brand to accept that a) most of its customers are some variation/combination of drunk, are late night eaters, or don’t want to spend a lot of money to eat. The company embraced its place in the fast food industry and revolutionized its brand using Snapchat. Snapchat is where Taco Bell’s target demographic lives, converses and interacts — so Taco Bell kicked the door open and commanded the room.

GS: What are a couple do’s and dont’s in the social media industry?

RM: One of my major “do’s” is to forge an identity and stick to it. It will shape the success of your brand in the digital space. One of my “don’ts” is to avoid campaigns and activations that make your brand appear disingenuous. Know your place, know your voice.

GS: In your opinion what is the most effective way of achieving the best brand engagement and why?

RM: Humanization of a brand that may seem the opposite (for example, a product or service) is a significant factor in engagement. Look at DiGiornio Pizza on Twitter; would you ever expect a frozen pizza brand to have an engaging, funny and absolutely weird social media voice and presence? That’s the niche they’ve carved for themselves and now, an argument could be made that their Twitter account is at the forefront of their brand (and has probably sold them more pizzas than ever before).

GS: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

RM: Commit yourself to being a learner. Your biggest mistake would be entering the working world with this notion that you have it figured out, or you know more than your superiors (even if you actually do). There is too much information to ignore — most of it quite helpful — that can make you better at your job and give you a road map to being successful in the industry.

It was a rewarding and eye opening experience getting to interview an industry professional like Mixer. One of my biggest takeaways from this interview was realizing that to be a truly successful social media professional you have to always be conscious of your audience and be ready and willing to make the appropriate changes to attract brand engagement. Mixer sums it up best when he said, “Know your place, know your voice.”