by: Sophia Borghese
Tony Caporale is the founder and CEO of Twinbear, a small social media management agency in Atlanta, Georgia. Caporale’s start to working in social media began when he was the touring & production manager for rock band, Collective Soul. When 2004 came around, social media was limited to MySpace. But MySpace was the perfect way to actually see how Collective Soul fans were reacting to the bands and musicians they were listening too.
Moving forward, Caporale saw that both bands and brands have fans who want to connect with and define what they love. It was 2009 when he realized that he could have the same conversation with food consumers as he did with music listeners, then on Facebook pretty much exclusively. Now, his full-time job is working on platforms for Golden Corral — a restaurant many know, today, as the “Best Buffet in the USA.”
Since I am quite passionate about Golden Corral, not just for the food but also the brand, I thought it would be interesting to interview Caporale to learn more about GC social. Here is what he told me:
Sophia Borghese: You mentioned that social media a full time job, how time should a new social media professional expect to spend on their new job?
Tony Caporale: This is hard to answer with a simple amount of time. As there are several roles which could define a social media professional… But if you are assigned to be an accounts manager, which defines most entry level opportunities, you will probably be assigned to cover more than one account. This person should plan on spending a good amount of time in front of a computer screen… The good news? It can be done remotely more and more. So you wouldn’t necessarily be stuck behind a desk all day.
SB: What companies/organizations do are think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media? Why?
TC: There are a lot of great examples out there of companies “doing it right”. Because my company focuses primarily in the food-service industry, we see a variety of strategies. And each could be judged as successful in very different ways. I guess it would be important to define “doing it right”… For me, it means when a company creates great meaningful content that has organic positive performance with a premium falling under “engagement”. When a brand can establish a voice and communicate with it’s customers and online users in a way that builds trust and loyalty, they’re doing it right. Oreos, Little Caesars Pizza, Golden Corral, Taco Bell are a few I would say are in this category.
SB: Can you tell me more about some of GC’s hardcore fans?
TC: Think NASCAR. The true GC fan visits the restaurant more than 70 times per year. They are our mavens. They are our advocates and ambassadors online. When someone says something negative, they fire back highlighting their great experiences. They truly believe that because they’re a fan, the company is grateful and more successful as a result of their loyalty.
SB: What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?
TC: I think the most important trend is user generated content. Because everyone has the ability to “produce” content, we will continue to see a rise in what they produce and how businesses will incorporate that in their advertising and social media content. It is important because it’s viewed as authentic.
SB: What’s the best formula for strong social media creative?
TC: Make sure that everything you create is meaningful to someone.
Caporale and I spoke by phone and emailed each other, so I really got to learn a lot about the social media industry. The coolest thing, I’d say, I learned when we spoked was that he believed that Facebook would be last one standing in the end. I personally don’t use Facebook, quite the way I did when I first discovered it. But I cannot wait to see what kinds of things Facebook comes up with to get my generation engaged, once more.
Another thing he told me about social media work, I found was insightful, was that working in this field is not suited for those who just love selfies. It’s really a full-time job, and often times, people take on once platform and spend their whole days working on it. Even though posting takes seconds, “doing it right,” takes up all the time in ones career. You’re not only posting things, you’re running analytics and you’ve gotta be darn creative too. It’s not enough to love Instagram or Facebook, it means having a two-way conversation with your “people (a.k.a. fans)” everyday.