Ohio University Strategic Social Media

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Category: Interviews (page 1 of 4)

Alternative Press: How They’re Conquering Social Media

by Justin Gamble

For a lot of people social media is just a way to stay up to date with friends and family members you don’t see regularly, but for professionals social media can make or break a company. A long time friend of mine, Anthony Lauletta, recently started a career in social media working at Alternative Press. If you aren’t familiar with Alternative Press (AP), it’s a print magazine that primarily covers bands in the alternative, rock, and hardcore music scene. Anthony began his journey as a social media intern at Alternative Press and was offered a job as a social media manager there when he concluded his internship. Anthony has always been someone that I’ve respected when it comes to his opinion on the current state of the social media industry and where it is headed. I wanted to interview Anthony to get his take on some aspects that a lot of people don’t really think about when they think of social media.

 

J: First question is what is one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring social media professional?

A: The biggest thing is read all the time. Build it into your schedule for the day. Even on your busiest days. I use Apple News, which I like better than Flipboard, but the biggest thing is to find some really good publishers you like. I like The Next Web and Wired a lot for tech news. The biggest thing is try and spend about 30 minutes to an hour of your morning or night just reading all the news from the day. The social media industry, the media industry in general and the music industry too isn’t like being a doctor where you go to school for 4-8 years and you learn specific things that are static and don’t change very much. Those things you learn in school are very important but in the media industry you need to learn how to learn. So, yeah, the biggest thing I would say is to read everyday to learn about new tech and the social media industry.

J: That makes a lot of sense. Staying up to date with the current state of the social media industry definitely seems important. Next question would be: describe a recent successful social media campaign conducted by Alternative Press and why you think it was successful.

A: Sure, I’ll talk about my favorite one that I just did. I did a viral video marketing campaign and the video was on Facebook rather than YouTube. Every month we have a new issue of the magazine obviously and every month we try to do a unique marketing campaign for the issue and the cover stars on the issue. This month’s cover artists were the bands Neck Deep and State Champs. They’re funny guys and the first thing I did when I was thinking of the marketing plan was to think about the bands and their marketable traits. They’re really personable guys and were open to doing stuff on camera so I reached out to their management and we coordinated a time for them to visit our office when they stopped in Cleveland for their tour and we filmed a short skit of them interning at the Alternative Press office. It was a funny video that marketed essentially the awareness of the issue, it didn’t really sell like the hard sells do but it generated a lot of awareness about the product we were releasing into the world. I believe it was successful because we really honed in on what’s marketable about the bands themselves, which is a big part of our product, and the cover is a very important feature of the issue that sells it for the most part. So, it was successful because of the research we did on honing in on the bands marketable traits. We decided against YouTube and to put it on Facebook because social video on all social networks is increasing in reach and visibility to every user and its really battling YouTube’s video content. Facebook’s been doing a really good job in this battle so we utilized this battle and this allowed us to expand our reach to the over 1 million fans on our page and even beyond that because we marketed through State Champs and Neck Deeps pages too.

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Photo of Neck Deep and State Champs taken by Kane Hibberd

J: I think that’s interesting you bring that up too because in one of my social media classes we talked about the same kind of thing, Facebook’s reach through video is almost surpassing the reach of YouTube videos in a sense that it’s a lot easier to share and people feel more connected to it when they can write their own post about it and I found that to be pretty interesting. But my next question would be, what do you think the most important up and coming trend in social media is and why is it important?

A: I would say social video. If you’ve read industry reports on the social media industry video content in general is huge on all social networks and every network is trying in their own way to boost video content. It’s a more immersive experience and its better for story telling in general. People can connect to video content a lot easier, especially when it’s so accessible.

J: How do you think that plays into networks like Twitter and Instagram where most videos are 15 and 30 second maximums? Do you think that’s something that would change in the future or is it something that will remain static just because of the type of social media that it actually is? Like, with Twitter being a micro-blog where people only have 140 characters, would throwing in an unlimited amount of video time throw that off or would it still contribute to it in a similar way?

A: I think it’s going to be changing really soon to be completely honest. I mean we utilize a lot of Twitter advertising for different videos and they’re extremely targeted which is the only way we see real results with Twitter video. For us, Twitter advertising isn’t really the best route. We don’t get the biggest return on investment there as far as social ads go. Our State Champs/Neck Deep video which was just under 2 minutes was put on Twitter as a full video and promoted as an ad so I do think that full video on other networks is going to be a huge thing in order to sustain themselves and to be able to grow.

J: Definitely some valuable insight there I could see full video being extremely valuable to advertisers and something that more social networks may have to look into incorporating in order to compete with powerhouses like Facebook. So this next question, the way I had it written was “Which forms of social media tend to result in more revenue for your organization?” and I don’t necessarily mean directly result in revenue cause obviously you guys aren’t making most of your money through social media as a magazine, but where do you see the most growth for a company as a whole?

A: That’s actually a difficult question because we monetize our socials in so many different ways. Facebook’s a big one. We have a lot of advertisers, for example for the Alternative Press Music Awards we have a bunch of sponsors, the two biggest ones being Journeys and Monster Energy, and we do different types of social advertising through the Facebook business manager interface where we can advertise through each other’s pages. The easiest way to answer this question is that all the networks are growing and changing constantly, but the one that I use most frequently with our partners is Facebook. The thing with social media and how it generates revenue is that it’s a very creative game and you have to utilize the technology to your advantage and see how that can help a partner. One of the deals I’m working on right now is with a gear company and they want to know how to inform our audience about all the artists that play Ernie Ball (guitar) strings. The best way to reach them is through social video and we put up twitter ads and target them to fans of those bands. We could do the same thing on Facebook, but they wanted to use Twitter because it’s short, sweet and to the point.

J: I mean its kind of well known that Facebook itself is, well its not exactly dying, but our generation and younger people are less prone to be using it now or paying attention as regularly compared to social sites like Twitter. Do you notice that has any affect on your advertising compared to when you post stuff on Twitter? Are you getting more engagements via Twitter even though it’s a smaller social media site as a whole compared to Facebook?

A: Different types of content do better on each platform. A good example of a post that did really well on Twitter recently that I put up was when Oli Sykes from Bring Me the Horizon performed at the NME Awards and he f*cked up Coldplay’s table I took a gif from the YouTube video and the caption was something like “When your band doesn’t get asked to play the super bowl halftime show” and posted it to Twitter and it went viral. We had tons of verified accounts and influencers re-tweeting it, which was great. When we put the same piece of content on Facebook, it reached about half as many people as the news post we posted to Facebook about the same event. So to answer your question, different types of content do better on different networks and it’s a lot of experimenting. Is that what you were asking?

J: Yeah, that more or less answers it. I was just curious because you guys tend to have a younger audience as a magazine as a whole, so I was just curious where that stood because younger people are using Facebook less and less. That’s why I was curious, but it definitely makes sense to say that different types of content will do better on certain social networks and you can see how that works but just looking at social network feeds. It makes sense that a gif would do better in a place like Twitter where its right there for a second and you view it, get over it, and move past it. Where as on Facebook you click on something to look at what it is and spend a little bit more time on it.

A: Yeah and I think the age gap does have a little bit to do with that too cause our audience on Facebook is a slightly older demographic than our audience on Twitter by just a little bit, so I think that may partly be the reason for that too.

J: Sure! So my next question is what is your favorite part about working in a career where social media plays such an important role in day-to-day business.

A: I like a really fast paced environment because I enjoy being not necessarily hectic but always going and I like fast paced environments. Everyday is something new and it goes back to point one that the industry is always changing and its always trying to solve a little bit of the puzzle which I really like. Everyday you have a new opportunity to experiment with what works and I love that part about social media. Experimenting and picking different variables with social networks and picking different key metrics to study for certain social posts. Almost every post that we put up on our socials, even if I don’t study it in depth I try to analyze why its doing well or why its doing poorly. Essentially it’s kind of like search engine optimization, but with Facebook key words will limit a posts reach so I’ll look at that to see why it didn’t do as well or I’ll look at a band that it’s about and maybe our audience doesn’t really care about that band so maybe we should cover them less. So it’s really just a lot of experimenting and it’s very fast pace and those are the two things I like most about my job.

J: Alright cool and the last question I have for you is what way do you guys analyze the engagements you receive across your social networks to determine if a campaign was successful or not?

A: There’s two key performance metrics we study at AP and they’re growth and engagement of social posts. Each campaign may have different key performance metrics based off the type of content were publishing. For example for the State Champs/Neck Deep video we did video views was a key performance metric. We choose it based off the type of content we have and what platform were releasing the content from. A key metric we analyze on Facebook more than we do on Twitter is total reach. Where a key metric we analyze on Twitter that we don’t really analyze on Facebook very often because it’s a lot more complicated to gain this metric is engagement rate. It has a lot to do with the types of metrics we have access to from the social networks themselves because we don’t really use a third party analytic source at the moment, but the two biggest ones are growth and engagement.

     Anthony’s interview gave me a lot of insight into what being social media professional is like. The creative freedom that social media gives to users is something that really interests me. Anthony says that’s one of his favorite parts of being a social media professional and I can see why. There’s no set formula when it comes to creating a successful social media campaign, there’s no way of knowing how it’s going to perform prior to the implementation of the campaign. That mystery makes social media marketing a challenge, but not knowing is also exciting because you get to watch your successes develop before your eyes and you can easily learn from your failures. Social media is constantly changing and it continues to open new doors for companies to advertise in ways they never even thought possible. Interviewing Anthony has created a new way of thinking about social media for me. Initially I never saw it as a creative process, but experimenting is really paving the way for professionals trying to master social media.

An Interview with Mai Nguyen: Social Media Strategy and Analytics for Business

By Jasmine Grillmeier

Image courtesy of KaboomPics.com

Mai Nguyen began her career as a Freelance Social Media Assistant at Ologie and spent a year there, managing Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center’s various interactive media applications and developed content for SJRMC’s social media accounts. After her time at Ologie, she joined Fahlgren Mortine’s team as a Search Marketing Associate, developing skills in search engine marketing and social media analytics. After three years in this position she was promoted to Social Analytics and Search Marketing Manager at Fahlgren Mortine, a role in which she has now been in for the past four months. I had a chance to work with Mai while interning at Fahlgren Mortine this past summer and saw her to be a very valuable mentor for anyone wanting to learn more about social media and be successful in this space. Based on the great impression I got over the summer and knowledge of her social media background, I was excited to get a chance to speak with her to get her insight on the industry and learn more about social media strategy and analytics in the professional world.

Jasmine: What type of consumer research do you conduct before planning a social media campaign?

Mai: It depends on where we are in our social media process with a client. If it’s a new relationship, then we’ll conduct a general social media audit that will give us an idea of the landscape in which the brand operates. This type of audit usually includes data on user engagement, post content performance, competitive data, and organic conversation about the brand. If it’s an existing relationship and the brand just wants to know where they are in relation to their competitors and the overall industry (a snapshot in time almost), we’ll look at performance data by brand, but we’ll also look at the way the industry uses social media to support their business objectives and reach their core audience. When it comes to an individual campaign, the type of research that we conduct depends on the objective of the campaign — is it strictly awareness based, is it focused on generating leads, etc? Who should we target with this specific campaign? Is it only meant for a subset of our target audience, or are looking to expand outside of our current audience makeup? Is paid social appropriate for this campaign?

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

Mai: I’m not going to go into specific tools because we’re in the process of evaluating our current set while demoing new ones. Instead, I’ll talk about what we’re looking for when choosing tools. In terms of planning, I would choose a tool that provides data for competitive auditing and the ability to benchmark. For implementation, monitoring tools should allow for scheduling capabilities, content tagging, real time engagement with fans, social listening capabilities, and perhaps influencer outreach. For evaluation of progress, choose tools that are transparent in the way they present and report on data. And as a social marketer, it’s imperative to truly understand methods of derivation when a tool touts things like engagement rates, influencer scores, and “proprietary” metrics. Always ask these tools and their reps to explain their various processes.

Jasmine: If a student wanted to pursue a career containing social media strategy planning and analysis, what personal skills and/or experience should one have?

Mai: I think you have to have a solid understanding of how social operates from a professional standpoint, and the experience that gives credibility to your claim of knowledge. Citing “Facebook” as a skill in one’s personal resume is largely unnecessary. There are vast differences between using Facebook as a private person, and using it on behalf of a brand. This insight doesn’t just apply to Facebook, but across all social platforms.

When it comes to strategy and analytics of any kind, I think an appreciation for and a level of comfort for collecting, utilizing, and analyzing raw data are imperatives. Regurgitating data isn’t the same thing as understanding it. Citing a stat is not analysis. Always ask yourself “so what?” after you have presented a piece of information. Help people make connections between data and the next course of action. (I would also like to posit the notion of expanding beyond social analytics — it’s much more useful to become well versed in overall web analytics, and the way that social informs that space.)

From a practical standpoint, I would encourage you to become highly proficient at using Microsoft Excel because the software allows you to take raw data and give it form and structure. As marketing becomes increasingly data driven, those who have the ability to filter out the noise to find actionable insights will stand out.

Jasmine: Are there any trends in the social media strategy or analysis space that you think are worth exploring?

Mai: From a social analytics standpoint, I think social will continue to be asked to “prove its value,” so questions surrounding social ROI will not be going away any time soon. Broadly speaking, I’m interested in the way social networks are becoming more and more like search networks — Facebook continues to ramp up its search capabilities, and Pinterest sees itself as sort of a competitor to Google Images. As someone who also has a background in search, the intersection between search and social is becoming increasingly apparent. Finally, I think the “social” of the future will be even more dependent on paid efforts to reach target audiences, and there will be less emphasis on organic efforts. Organic social will still exist and real-time engagement efforts will continue to grab buzz from time to time, but I expect paid social to own a large portion of a brand’s social media budget.

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

Mai: Understand that social doesn’t exist on its own, and that it is merely another factor to account for when evaluating the way a customer experiences a brand overall. When we think of social, it’s important to see it beyond the social networks that make up the space. Social can support overall business and marketing objectives, but it has to be used in conjunction with other methods of outreach in order to be truly effective.

And for you, Jasmine, my last piece of advice is to show your thinking. It’s not about having the right answer all of the time — I’ve found that it’s far more useful to care enough to ask the right questions, the smart questions, the ones that allow for deeper exploration.

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My biggest takeaway is to plan social around a business strategy, not just a social strategy. It’s essential to be asking questions and developing objectives based around what the client wants out of a marketing campaign, not blindly implementing general social media tactics that might not be right to achieve the objectives. For example, instead of telling a client, “You need to be using Periscope because everyone is doing it” you should be discovering the exact reasoning behind your proposal and showing how it will achieve the business objective, such as “Based on the amount of community engagement Periscope fosters, I believe your company should look into implementing Periscope sessions into your social strategy in order to achieve the business objective of increasing engagement and building a stronger relationship with the customer.” In order to be a well-versed professional in the social media industry you must be looking at the big picture and providing value for your clients by backing up your suggestions with industry knowledge as well as well-developed research.

INTERVIEW: Dr. Stephanie Tikkanen on Social Media for Marketers

By Ciara Sebecke

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Dr. Stephanie Tikkanen is an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University.  She has a Ph. D. in philosophy and communication and an MA in communication, and now teaches classes on interpersonal communication and other communication classes. She is not only an avid user of social media, but an expert on how people use it.
Dr. Tikkanen stands out as a professional due to her research on the growing role of new media  in interpersonal relationships. She studies how new trends and technologies such as mobile phones and social networking sites affect relationships between people.
Social Media is a new form of media but it is quickly surpassing traditional forms of media. It is vital that marketers embrace this growing new form of communication and use it to its full potential. Today, Dr. Tikkanen shares her thoughts and insights on the best ways brands can  use social media and how that may change in the next few years.

Ciara: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?
Dr. Tikkanen: Keep an eye out for anything new: a new network, a new analytics tool, a new app, anything. Social media changes very rapidly, so you’ll need to be on the cutting edge to stay informed and effective. By being an early adopter, you’re going to be the one who helps shape how the app is used—but you also get first crack at a cool username!
Ciara: What companies or organizations do think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media? Why?
Dr. Tikkanen: I think one of the most important things that a company can do is to match their social efforts to the demographic they’re trying to reach, which requires an understanding of how that group uses that technology. One example is how Taco Bell uses Snapchat. They have cornered a very specific market, and do some really creative stuff to connect with them!
Some other organizations that use social media well are some of the pro sports teams. I had a chance to talk with the social media managers of the Penguins and the Indians last semester, and it was fascinating to hear how they’re using social to connect with fans during the games but also keeping them engaged during the off-season, as well. 

Ciara: What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?
Dr. Tikkanen: This is fairly basic, but I think that the emphases on mobile technology and imagery will continue to grow. Companies that are not adapting traditional website content to mobile formats will lose a lot of younger followers who are no longer tethered to a desktop. In a related vein, companies need to focus on image-based content; on mobile devices, people do not want to read long articles. Many viewers need to see images and videos to stay engaged. 

Ciara: Do you think that all brands should embrace social media for marketing purposes or do you think it is inappropriate for certain companies or organizations? Why?
Dr. Tikkanen: I’ll reiterate: a brand needs to use the best medium it can to match its products/services with the intended consumers. Since so many consumers are on social media, I think it’s a perfectly suitable place to reach most of them! In fact, you can reach really highly targeted audiences, which gets you more bang for your marketing buck. However, if a company is trying to advertise to, say, individuals who are trying to go “off the grid,” perhaps Facebook isn’t the most appropriate medium to reach them. 

Ciara: What do you think is the best way for a brand to embrace the trend of cell phones being used as a “second screen” with television viewing?
Dr. Tikkanen: I personally love the incorporation of twitter conversations! I have been known to use a show’s hashtag to join a larger conversation.
However, I don’t really think this is sustainable; a growing proportion of viewers do not watch shows in real time, opting for streaming services like Hulu or Netflix. As a result, tweeting when you watch may just result in spoilers—and lost followers. 

Ciara: Do you use social media differently now that you study it and have done research on social media use? (Personally and/or professionally)
Dr. Tikkanen: ABSOLUTELY, and in many ways! I actually study how people respond to distressing disclosures in online settings and how we use social media to garner support. As a result, I have to read and craft a lot of “vaguebooking” messages—you know the kind, the really needy-sounding tweets or statuses that are designed to elicit attention. As a result, I find myself unwilling to post anything like that on my own social media.
I also find that I am more mindful of the types of content that I put on each type of social media as I am more aware of who my audiences are. For example, I use twitter to communicate with my students, Instagram with my friends, and Facebook for a huge mix of all sorts of people. Consequently, the types of content I put on those three sites are wildly different.

Also: I will NEVER use Snapchat. I’ve heard too many horror stories. Just… no. I don’t care how good Taco Bell is.


To sum it up– If you are a brand,  you want to think like your intended audience. Stay up to date and make sure your content is visual and engaging. All social media platforms are different and every audience uses social media in a different way.
If you are a student or social media professional, keep educating yourself and stay a step ahead of the latest social media trends. Consider your audience while posting on any given social platform because the ideal content is vastly different for each site. Social media is a huge part of marketing and advertising in our world today, so to be successful in the industry you must stay ahead of the game!
Dr. Tikkanen does all of this and more. She continues to stay ahead of the curve and is constantly making new connections and insights on how people use social media. To connect with Dr. Tikkanen on her social media sites or to read more information on how people use social media, check out the links below:
https://seelio.com/stephanietikkanen

New York City Fashion Publicist, Amanda Ranieri, Gives Us Her Take On Social Media

MAR 1, 2016 – 7:00AM

CHELSEA WILLIAMS

 

INTRODUCTION

It’s no secret that Fashion is one of the most competitive industries to work in. With over 4 million employees in the US market alone, the fashion industry is a pillar leader in our global economy, with an estimated net worth of approximately 1.5 trillion dollars. Throughout this already selective industry, competition only increases within each sector of it; perhaps the most notoriously competitive being, of course – Fashion PR.

 

Fashion PR is known to be ‘cut-throat’ – not for the faint of heart. When Taylor Swift wrote the lyrics, “darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a day dream,” she was talking about the Fashion PR girls! Not only are they young, beautiful and chic, but the men and women who work in PR are incredibly smart and witty. They have to be able to think on their feet, making major decisions within a matter of seconds sometimes, and must be able to deliver the same message to several different publics, in a way that each group can not only understand, but can appreciate. They must find the best way to launch and present a campaign – and stay within budget while doing so. Working in the Fashion Industry is stressful, regardless of which sector; and PR is stressful regardless of which industry – so when you bring the two together into one career, you need someone who can handle the heat, and stay on top of the media and your publics.

 

Last week I interviewed my former boss, current mentor, and very dear friend of mine: New York City fashion publicist, Amanda Ranieri, hoping to get an inside look of what life is like working in one of the most competitive industries in the world, in one of the most competitive sectors in the world, in one of the most competitive cities in the world. Throughout my interview, I asked her several questions about her personal experience using social media and how the tool is used in the fashion industry, PR, and her day-to-day job. She offered substantial advice on how aspiring publicists, and fashion industry hopefuls, can prepare themselves for the post-grad job hunt by staying ahead of the social media game to ensure a successful career in PR.

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TRANSCRIPTION (VIA FaceTime)

C: Amanda! It’s so wonderful to see you! I can only imagine how incredibly busy you must be this week, since New York Fashion Week: Fall/Winter 2016 (FW16) presentations and shows were last week (February 11-18), so I really wanted to thank you so much so setting aside the time to talk with me today and answer a couple of my questions!

A: No problem! I’m more than happy to answer your questions and give you a look inside what I do, and maybe offer some advice on how to work in fashion PR – or better yet, survive it!

C: Survive it! That actually is a better way to put it! During my internship, when you were my boss, there were definitely times when I wasn’t sure I would make it – but of course I did; and better yet, it taught me how much I LOVE this job!

C: Amanda, when you were my boss I looked up to you so much. You taught me more about myself (my strengths and weaknesses, my passions, my dreams) and about what I wanted to do in those three months than I have learned in my entire time being an undergrad, and I am so honored to be able to share your wonderfully useful knowledge with others!

A: I am honored myself to have the opportunity to pay it forward, and share my experience with others! When I started, I had a little bit of help here and there, and that help and advice made all the difference for me; so I’m excited to share what I know!

C: That’s awesome! On that note, we’ll jump right in – with question number one.

C: So Amanda, how important/relevant is it to implement social media in the fashion PR industry? How much of your job, working in Fashion PR, involves social media on a daily basis? Specifically, take us through your work day using social media!

A: So, to answer your first question – ‘How important is it to implement social media in the fashion industry?’ It’s not important – it’s vital. My job as a publicist is to, not ONLY earn press for clients – it’s a LOT more than that! Another part of my job is to actually track and report that press to said client – which sounds a lot easier than it really is.

To tie your next question into the first: ‘How much of my day involves social media’ – I would say nearly all of it, because of that combination of earning press, and the process of tracking and reporting. Earning press coverage is really kind of pointless if we don’t know when and where we’re being covered – if we didn’t show the client numbers, it would be really difficult to determine what’s working, and what isn’t. It’s my job to also know exactly where a designer’s (client) garment was featured and when – and generally speaking, in a perfect world –  as the publicist, I should be the FIRST to know about the coverage – then the client – then the public. If the client knows before I do, then I’m not doing my job. They are literally paying us hundreds of thousands of dollars (amounts that most designers do not have to lose) to help them earn press and then report that press back to them. A client should never be reporting press to me – I should be the one calling my client saying: ‘Hi Karen! Have you seen Women’s Wear Daily today? You’re going to die – your pants made the cover!” A client should absolutely never call me and ask me if I saw WWD because she heard the good news from either a friend or one of her employee’s; and on the flip side – when it’s bad news, a client should never be the one to inform me of press coverage (or the lack their of) because they’re usually not happy about it. I should be the one to deliver the bad news so that I can come to the client with a solution and a plan in a way that they can understand, and help to keep the client clam and happy.

So – because of how incredibly important it is for me to report updates to my client, social media is VITAL to use in PR; it’s basically my job to filter social media (nearly all day long), looking for press coverage for my clients!

On an average day, my social media use begins first thing in the morning. I usually wake up, and while I am lying in bed I check international, national, and local news using my NPR and CNN applications on my iPhone. Then, while I’m drinking my coffee and eating my breakfast I check all the major print publication websites (such as Vogue), web-based publication sites (such as Refinery29), and major blogsites (such as ManRepeller) – looking for any press coverage for my clients. On my way to the subway, I usually pick up a copy of ‘The Wall Street Journal’ and ‘Women’s Wear Daily’ AND check their websites after. During my commute, I usually check several celebrity/socialite Instagram accounts (such as Gigi Hadid) – especially if I am anticipating any present coverage. Then throughout the day (usually every hour or so) I recheck all of the outlets I have mentioned to see what’s going on and to see any coverage. I also do the same thing at night before I go to bed and make any notes on my iPad that I need to. I really cannot reiterate how incredibly important it is to monitor social media CONSTANTLY and consistently when working in PR. It’s a major part of our daily job

C: Do you think that you use social media more often in your job or in your personal life (outside of work)?

 A: Absolutely – 100% – I use SM more in my job. I’m sure that people in other fields use social media in their personal lives more, but like I explained earlier, social media filtering is how I spend about 60% of my day. So for me personally, and I’m sure most other PR professionals, I use social media significantly more often in my job than in my personal life! It’s sort of funny actually when you think about it! Since I started working in PR, I’ve double, if not tripled, my social media use, but spend time on my personal accounts probably 90% less than I used to! To be completely honest, personal social media is not really where my interest lies. If I am on my personal social media, it’s usually only when I am commuting to work on the train in the morning and at night.

C: We are constantly seeing Instagrammers/bloggers and celebrities with new outfits, jewelry, clothes, shoes, etc. on social media websites – in class, we call this social media ‘swag’. Very few people realize the ‘swag’ we see on SM is actually loaned or gifted to them – not purchased. Someone like you, a fashion publicist, is the person that sends, regulates, tracks/manages that ‘swag’. Can you try to explain, to the best of your ability, the process of gifting and loaning clients clothing/products and why this is a necessary process in today’s fashion PR world regarding social media?

A: Of course! Before working in fashion PR, I had no idea that the majority of what we see celebrities wearing in either magazines, award shows, premieres, or even just doing their groceries sometimes, is generally not actually theirs – and in fashion, it’s the job of the publicist to regulate that process.

Before you are able to actually go to the store and buy that super cool ‘Rebecca Minkoff’ jacket, fashion publicists are getting the ‘proto-types’ of those garments – nearly eight months before. As soon as those collections hit the PR showrooms (NOT retail floors), stylists are fighting to borrow those looks for personal projects (such as magazines, websites, blogs, TV shows, movies, music videos, and celebrity appearances). Those stylists want to be the first to show their audience the cool, ‘new’/’hot’ thing, or have their celebrity clients be the first one to wear it. But since we only have the ‘proto-types’ of these garments, it’s generally the ONLY one that currently exists – besides pieces that other PR Firms have and the copies that the designers have –  because of this, the celebrity can’t buy it; and why would they, when their stylist has built relationships with publicists who will ‘loan’ them for free? The stylist will request the garment/look, the publicist will send the garment to the stylist, the stylist will them to use or not use the garment, and then send it back to the PR agency by the agreed upon deadline.

SO – most bloggers/Instagrammers/celebrities DO NOT actually own the product that they are featuring; ESPECIALLY if that item/garment is not yet available to the public via retail/department stores – it’s usually borrowed from a representing PR agency; and that it basically the majority of my job! The reason that we loan these garments is because that person is going to feature/wear our clients clothing and earn our client millions of views, likes, and comments via social media – which is the majority of my job!

C: What specific fashion blogger/Instagrammers do you think are currently the most important/influential in the fashion industry? What is it about them that makes them so popular – what is their ‘IT’ factor, in your opinion?

A: Like I mentioned earlier, fashion blogger: Leandra Medine, who created ‘ManRepeller’ was recently said to now be more influential than Anna Wintour, so I think right now she’s the one to be watching. What makes Leandra so popular or/what her ‘IT’ factor is, is that she is SO relatable. Even though she is a famous fashion blogger, wearing a variety of luxury garments she is relatable – when you watch an interview with her, she reminds you of your best friend. Of course, not all famous bloggers are like that, but I think the majority of them are. I tend to believe that their ‘IT’ factor is the fact that most of them come across as very normal, down to earth people, which is not always something we see with celebrities and the likes of.

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

A: As far as the fashion industry goes, the people that I follow and look to to stay up to date on social media trends most often would be Leandra Medine who runs the blog/Instagram ‘Man Repeller’. She was recently said to be more influential in the fashion industry than Anna Wintour – so right now Leandra is a “big deal”. I also follow, for the most part, the major fashion print publications, such as: all the ‘Vogue’ accounts (VogueSpain, VogueAustralia, VogueChina, etc.), Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and others like that. As far as online publications go, I keep up to date on Refinery29, PopSugar, and others like that.

C: How was social media used this year during New York Fashion Week (FW16 & SS16 seasons)? Do you think that it was used in a ‘new’ way – if so how? How is social media changing/currently being used by fashion industry professionals?

A: The biggest way that NYFW utilized social media in the 2016 Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer fashion week presentations was by featuring their personal GeoTag on SnapChat. Fans/followers were easily able to see their favorite celebrities, models, and designers post personal SnapChats. By using SnapChat, viewers were given an inside/behind the scenes look to the event. NYFW, for years, has been considered pretty ‘exclusive’, since most shows require an invitation for admittance – so by using a GeoTag, NYFW reached a new/wider demographic than they have in the past.

C: What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?

A: Although it does relate to the fashion industry, I think the latest and upcoming social media trend is the use of ‘SnapChat’ with GeoTagging and companies, publications, etc. using personal ‘SnapChat’ to promote either their company, business, or an event – and I believe this will (or at least should) apply to every industry (Automotive, Food, Cosmetics, etc.). Using a SnapChat GeoTag isn’t free – which is something that we, as companies and journalists, have been spoiled by with the explosion of free social media promotion through Instagram and Twitter – however it truly is money well spent since the app is free to users (our target), thus, their more inclined to download and use the application – GeoTagging already is big, but I believe that it will continue to grow.

C: Ten years ago, social media was dominated by young people who wanted to socialize with their peers. You probably know better than most that nowadays social media is used by everyone: of all ages, race, gender, etc. – everyone is using social media in business and education, and using it to advance their careers! What advice would you give to aspiring fashion publicists about how to utilize modern social media for their benefit? Do you, as a hiring manager, take a special interest in applicants who mention their blog, or online portfolio on their resume?

A: Not just publicists in the fashion industry, but every entry-level applicant or recent grad who is looking to work in PR should be utilizing social media on a daily basis, on several platforms, and should be consistent with it! There is no reason why you, a person who has been formally educated in publicity, image management, etc., should not be utilizing social media.

It really, really is a HUGE plus when an applicant includes a link to their social media accounts and blogsites – and so when I see those on a resume, I absolutely check them out! You already told me what you can do on your resume; this is an opportunity for you to show me – prove to me that you not only talk the talk, but you also walk the walk. It’s an opportunity to say, ‘I told you that I follow X,Y, and Z publications consistently on my resume. Here’s proof that I actually do!’

So my advice to aspiring fashion publicists is to: A.) find what you enjoy in the industry – your niche and B.) Start a blog/account dedicated to that thing, and get creative with it! Don’t just tell them – SHOW those employers why they should hire you.

C: What advice would you give to aspiring fashion publicists about social media modesty/privacy? Ten years ago, parents and adults all around were terrified about their children/students sharing too much information on social media. Now, people are sharing much more, but where should we draw the line? What is appropriate for social media, and what is inappropriate for social media? How important is it, as a fashion publicist, to exercise caution when it comes to your personal social media posts?

A: I think we can all remember the days when social media was widely considered to be ‘dangerous’, and seen by most adults/professionals as just a way for young people to interact and socialize with each other – but now-a-days, it’s considered a tool rather than a toy; which is awesome! People today are still trying to test the waters when it comes to how explicit or modest they are with their content.

In my personal opinion – how much you share on your accounts/sites is really dependent on the goal or purpose of the site; the message is what matters. So if you are a stand-up comedian, for example, you may be ‘allowed’ more controversial or risqué posts because of your industry and goal; but if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you may benefit more from being modest; creating/circulating content that appeals to a wide variety of audiences. But for the average Joe or Jane, I think a good rule to follow is before you post/circulate content, ask yourself the question: ‘Would/could this content offend my boss, parents, or peers?’ If the answer is yes, then you probably should not post/circulate the content. Everything you post on social media has the potential to follow you, and with a little of bit of searching anyone can find an old post of yours. Just be sure to ‘Think before you post.’

The rules regarding social media digression for PR professionals is a little bit different. It’s quite a bit stricter. As a publicist, you are expected by clients, partners, employers, and others in your industry to be an expert in brand/image management, and I believe that should reflect on your social media. Absolutely everything that you post should hold to the standard of your position. PR specialists need to be extremely mindful about what they post about their personal life, but more importantly what they post regarding their firm, or the clients that they represent – and should reflect your nondisclosure agreements at all times.

C: Finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social
media professional?

A: One piece of advice I would give to aspiring social media professionals would be to learn how to utilize social media to advance your career from a professional stand point – AKA just because you have a personal Instagram account that you use to casually interact with peers DOES NOT mean that you know how to use Instagram for a business – you would not include on your resume ‘Proficient using Instagram’. Businesses are not concerned that you know how to post cool pictures of you and your friends – they’re interested in what they can post to create conversation around a product and make money! I would suggest to recent grads to really begin looking at social media from a different perspective: take it from strictly ‘social media’; meaning socializing with just friends and peers, and really start looking at it from a ‘socially-professional media’. Learn how to bring your SM skills to your professional environment!

C: Amanda, thanks so much again for taking the time to talk with me today – you gave such incredibly useful advice, and really gave us an ‘outside the box’ perspective on things – which I think is so important! Such as: being super mindful about what you are posting on social media – there really aren’t ‘how to’ books dedicated to using social media to promote yourself, while respecting your audience, so that was really great advice! We definitely learned a lot today, and like you said, once we’ve acquired some experience like you, we’ll be sure to pay it forward and share our lessons with future PR professionals!

 

CONCLUSION

Miss Ranieri offered some really great advice, and even raised a TON of valid points during the interview. One thing that seemed to come up more than once was the fact that companies are really beginning to utilize SnapChat, and are successful with it because it offers a more personal, ‘inside look’, into what goes on within a company on a day-to-day basis. The main message that Amanda, intentionally or not, conveyed to us during the interview, was the importance of using social media to build your brand, or promote yourself! It makes sense that someone who claims to work in Public Relations – a career which focuses on gaining popularity by creating buzz – should pretty easily be able to do that for their own blogs and social media accounts! I also think the fact that she reiterated the fact that by providing these online portfolio-types, you are showing your skills instead of saying/listing them like you do on a resume. A lot of people claim that they are a hard worker on their resume, but what specific example can you either explain or show that assures your interviewer that you actually are? We need to start focusing on show, rather than just telling; and social media is such an amazing tool that we can use to do that. From the interview, we can agree that while working in Public Relations in 2016, Social Media is the backbone of a campaigns success – and knowing how to use it is how firms make the company message come to life.

 

 

Want To Learn More About Social Media & the Fashion Industry? Check Out the Links Below:

 

How Social Media Has Changed The Fashion Industry

Social Media’s Influence on the Fashion Industry

How Social Media is Transforming the Fashion Industry

Social Media Gives Fashion Industry A Total Makeover

The Strategic Use of Social Media in the Fashion Industry

 

External Sources:

BusinessVibes. (2015, May 7). 30 Shocking Figures and Facts in Global Textile and Apparel Industry. Retrieved March 1, 2016, from http://www.business2community.com/fashion-beauty/30-shocking-figures-facts-global-textile-apparel-industry-01222057#2yxshox07YaFwTZ4.97

Didienne, A. (2015, January 28). How many people work in the fashion industry worldwide? Retrieved March 01, 2016, from https://www.quora.com/How-many-people-work-in-the-fashion-industry-worldwide

Carrie Williams Sheds Some Light on Professional Social Media Use

By: Liz Sanz

Carrie Williams is a production manager for Comedy Central, currently moving into a producer role. She has been with #ComedyCentral for a few years now, really focusing on creating content for the brand that will be later distributed and promoted. She has experience with creating remarkable content, pushing that content out to audiences, and working in an extremely creation-centered position. I know Carrie through a friend of mine, and after hearing about her job and daily activities, I thought she would be a perfect fit for an industry professional interview about #professionalsocialmedia. Enjoy reading everything we discussed below!Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 7.51.58 PM

LS: What do you do within your position that is related to social media

CW: So with my title, I produce custom content for advertisers
on Comedy Central. It really just depends; each advertiser that we partner with has different objectives; some just want to launch their content on air and some want to take a more multi-platform approach and what that means is we will produce content that can live online, on air, and socially. We also produce more classic style 60-90 second pieces for on air as well as short versions to run as pre-roll ads before our online content. A lot of work we do is tied to a sponsor, and they will come to us with brand objectives, and then we will pitch ideas on how to complete brand objectives and go from there.

As a company (on our own), we are definitely starting to use social media more, with different platforms seeming to resonate more and being our main focus at this time. We are trying to sort of make an appearance on all different platforms, but certainly a couple stand out.

LS: Which ones are those?

CW: Right now, I would say Snapchat is our main focus – it really just focuses on content and that is our biggest focus with working with Viacom and Comedy Central. We also incorporate Instagram and Twitter into the day-to-day, but now we are really starting to tap into Snapchat to feature some of our content.

LS: What type of content do you produce (for social media/marketing campaigns) and why? How do you choose your approach when creating this content?  

CW: Fortunately for me, I lean heavily on the marketing team; they are sort of a filter between my creative group and the clients. They really work with the sales team and researchers to figure out how we can best target our audience. It’s a double-edged sword in a way, but the great thing too, is that the client comes in generally knowing what they want, so we can offer to create content that we may distribute on Vine or Twitter, but they may want to solely focus on Snapchat. They generally already have an idea. It’s sort of a balance between showing the client all of our cards and what we can do, and them having them pick where to go from there. And a lot of that depends on the talent involved (and what/who is being promoted.)

It is sort of an organic process, if you will.

LS: What is your personal choice of social media outside of the work place? 

CW: I love Instagram and I love Facebook for different reasons. With Facebook, I’m a military child and I have moved around, I’ve lived in different places and my family is everywhere, and I love the fact that I can keep in touch with friends through that. With Instagram, I love being able to editorialize my pictures and look at pretty things, whether its different designers or makeup trips and tips.

Between the two, I would personally say that I like Instagram the best though regardless of reasoning. I love looking at the world through a lens. If I am eating dinner and my food looks beautiful, I love to take a picture of it. If I see something funny or a quote I like, I love being able to post that. I enjoy Instagram for the content that I personally like absorbing. Snapchat and Facebook can seem like a lot of noise at times, and in my free time, I like being able to put a filter on what I see.

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

CW: I think a successful social media campaign can be subjective to the audience’s wants and needs, so I don’t have a “campaign” that jumps out in my head, but I do have a friend that started a fashion blog that I think she has a done a really good job with. Her name is Natalie Pinto and we went to school together and I have watched her from the beginning until now (it’s been about 3 years) as she has grown and built a company solely based on her following. I think she really did it the right way, with the quality of images she uses as well as the pieces she puts together and the way she has advertised herself on social media is just really well done. The quality of the camera, and the photos she takes are just great and there is intention behind what she is doing, and you can really see that when following her. If I could call out one social media influencer I really enjoy who has done a good job with social media, it would definitely be her, and her blog turned company is called The Fashionably Broke.

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

CW: I mean I think as I mentioned earlier, it is just such a huge part of our daily lives now. People aren’t just tuning in at 6pm while they watch the news during dinner, but we are now consuming media all the times on our phones, before work, during work, when we get home, etc. and even when we shouldn’t be on our phones. This unfortunate addiction in the world of media is real and actually fortunate because we can really reach and tap into a different audience and a broader audience morning, noon, and night and I think that is really powerful. And based on research and strategy, it is truly brilliant how we can really approach and target consumers with the content we choose to distribute all day every day.

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

CW: In terms of if you want to be a #socialmediainfluencer or use social media in your career, I think you have to treat it as if you are a professional and as if it is a true job (whether for work or not). There is this untapped world of social media influencers, and you would be surprised by how expensive they can really be to work with, but it is because of how they produce their content and develop the following that they have. If you want to develop a following, you have to be authentic with anything you’re doing. You have to dedicate yourself, you have to be passionate, consistent, you have to POST WITH INTENTION. You can post things that are sort of half-assed, but to really get a following, people are attracted to QUALITY and things that are well done. You can’t just post one really great thing one time, but it has to be consistent and frequent. Being #AUTHENTIC to what you’re passionate about is my biggest piece of advice. Consistency, intention, and quality, are really all huge in becoming a successful online personality/influencer.

Hope you enjoyed! #ouj4530

Ashley Osborne: Discusses working on Warner Brothers Pictures account & being @PROUDOFMYCROWN creator

by Shyann Williams

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 11.20.22 PM

Ashley Osborne is a recent graduate from Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. I had the opportunity to work with Ashley my sophomore year in an organization she created in 2013 called Amplified Communication, a PR, marketing and event planning organization catered to amplifying and connecting millennial entrepreneurs and their brands. Ashley is currently a social media coordinator at a digital marketing agency, Resolution Media working on the Warner Brothers Pictures account. She is also very active on her personal social media accounts and is the creator of @PROUDOFMYCROWN. I have always looked up to Ashley as a professional in the marketing and public relations field, she has played a huge part in the young professional I have become. I knew instantly that I wanted to interview her and was very excited to hear her insights on the social media industry.

SW: What’s your favorite social media outlet and why?

AO: Wow, just one? My favorite social media outlet, right now, would have to be Facebook because I am learning a lot about Facebook and how lucrative it is. Facebook is one of the first social media platforms to introduce advertising and gain billions in revenue. Facebook has helped me stay in touch with friends, find housing arrangements, plan events, share media with people who care about me and many other things. It’s so personal and their technology is getting better at serving me the content that I want to consume.

SW: Which social media platform do you think is here to stay and which one has the biggest impact on social media marketing? What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?

AO: Facebook is absolutely here to stay and has also changed the game when it comes to digital advertising. If Facebook didn’t exist, my current job wouldn’t exist. Facebook is actually one of the few publicly traded companies that earns a profit each year (no shade to Twitter). That says a lot! Facebook is extremely global and improving day after day. Facebook was the first social media platform to give marketers the opportunity to advertise. Their advertising technology is awesome because they have so much data! I always recommend brands to allocate much of their budget to Facebook advertising. Facebook also owns Instagram, so that’s that. The most important trend rising in social media is the way people engage on social media during live events. Brands need to get active in the social digital spaces where they belong. Advertisers are essentially authors of culture, so it’s important for brands to stay on top of cultural current events in the most authentic way. Meet people where they are and take advantage of being engaged and creating “moments” (this is where Twitter shines). Moments create memories and brands want to be remembered.

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

AO: I’m lucky enough to have relationships with representatives at social media companies; Facebook, Twitter, Google, Snapchat, etc. because of my job. So we get first updates on new products and trends because it’s a two-way street. People who work at social media companies want our agency clients to spend budgets on their products, so they make sure we’re always up-to-date on the latest technology updates and social media products. I also use Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news that is passed around my friends in the industry.

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

AO: I think that Dove does an amazing job with social media. From their campaigns to their day-to-day presence, they stay true to their brand and seem to get better and better with each new campaign they run. I also really appreciate entertainment brands on social media. They don’t directly try to sell you a product, but rather an experience.

SW: Being a professional in the social media field, how do you bridge the gap between being a professional while also maintaining your personal brand on your social media?

AO: I would say it’s fairly easy. My personal and professional are pretty much one in the same. My job is what I do, but it’s not necessary a complete representation of who I am. I love my work, but it’s not the one and only thing I love, so I show those layers of me on social media as well. Also, I think that working in the space has given me a special perspective on social media. You can be anyone you want to be on the Internet. I carefully post things that I want to represent me and that my parents would be proud of. I’d rather not give people a reason to get the wrong impression of me. Knowing myself helps.

SW: Of all the projects you’ve worked on, what has been your favorite dealing with social media thus far?

AO: My favorite social media project this far would have to be my current job. I work at an agency, but my only client is Warner Brothers Pictures. I am a paid social media coordinator and this position has allowed me to learn a lot about strategy and execution of paid social media campaigns. I run campaigns for all the WB movies and I have learned SO much about digital marketing. There is a true art and science to social media. Acquiring this knowledge and these skills about a space that I have loved since its existence is irreplaceable and I’m excited to see where this job will take me!

SW: Explain @PROUDOFMYCROWN and why you created it?

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 11.33.36 PM

AO: @PROUDOFMYCROWN is a platform where I display the crowns of Black men and women; their crowns being their natural hair. I created this for two reasons: I’ve been passionate about wearing and embracing natural hair since high school. When I finally decided to make that transition, I noticed that a lot of the content I’d research was always catered to women, not so much for men. But I thought, I know plenty of black men who grow their natural hair out instead of cutting it down to a fade or taper; where is their love? So I created the platform to showcase both sexes. I plan to add more layers onto the platform once I have the following, turning it into a platform to promote entrepreneurs, stylists and artists. I also created this platform to show companies and brands that I want to work with that I’m able to build, manage and art direct social media platforms. I have paid social media experience via my job, but @proudofmycrown will be managed and grown organically.

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

AO: Be a user of social media! You’d be surprised about how many people work with social media, but don’t use it actively, so they don’t always have that first-hand knowledge of updates and nuances that you can only learn by experience. Show people what you can create on social media. Be cautious of what you post on social media – yes, people are watching! Keep up with platforms and learn what their strengths and best purposes/practices are. Knowing these things will be of great help when you are creating and executing social media strategies and campaigns for your clients! Use social media as a research tool.

Ashley dropped several gems in this interview, it was very interesting getting insight from a professional in the social media industry. I loved how she discussed Facebook’s importance in the social media industry because I often hear people talking down on the network and I also believe it is here to stay. Also, your personal social media accounts are a great way to gain experience on social media is something I took from this interview. This was a very inspiring talk with Ashley, I am excited to experience a professional career in social media.

 

 

 

 

Interview With Complex’s Shelbi Jones

By Alyssa Das

I recently was able to interview my friend, Shelbi Jones, about her views on social media in general and as a career. Shelbi works in Advertising at Complex in Chicago. She’s been my friend and role model since high school. For someone who is not even a year out of college, she is full of industry knowledge and advice, I just told her yesterday she is a “giant vat full of knowledge.” I am extremely lucky to have so many friends doing dope sh*t.

 The first thing I asked Shelbi was for advice:

Me (Alyssa): What advice do you have for an aspiring social media professional?

Shelbi: One piece of advice that I would give to an aspiring social media professional is to make an effort to understand the different roles of social media in business. We use social for anything from promoting our brand to using social influencers to promote other brands for advertising campaigns. It’s important to understand what part of social is the most interesting to you. Do you like reporting, copywriting, developing content? We have two different social teams at Complex. We have CORE who reports for us, works with social influencers and more brand partnership focused issues. Then we have the Social Squad who works closely with editorial. They control our Twitter accounts, Facebook and Snapchat. They make sure we are one of the first outlets tweeting about any big news in pop culture, music, sports and style. They also go to tent pole events, like All-Star Weekend or SXSW to generate social content for our audience.

A: What is the best advice you could give to someone in an entry-level position?

S: The best advice I could give to a person in an entry-level position is to make your goals known. Don’t be overbearing, but let your manager and team know where you want to be in the foreseeable future. For example, I told my manager now that I have an interest in events and promotions, now whenever our events and promotions team is in Chicago he allows me to go on-site and assist them, which definitely wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t speak up.

A: Can you tell me a Complex social media success story?

S: One of the latest successful social media campaigns that we completed was in partnership with Chevy Trax.

A: What made it so successful?

S: They wanted to raise millennial awareness of their latest small SUV, so we partnered with influencers in NYC and LA to create the campaign, Hidden Gems. Influencers were given a Chevy Trax SUV to ride around in for the night with friends. They were also given an itinerary of Hidden Gems in each city and they were contracted to post about the happenings of the night and mentioning the SUV. I think it was successful because of the social influencers who we used. They had a plethora of followers and were known around each city. The program generated interesting content beyond just using the hashtag. The program was so successful that we went on partner with them again for Trax 2.0, which took place in Austin and New Orleans.

Here’s a screen shot of an interactive map, showing each city with #HiddenGems, from http://partner.complex.com/traxhiddengems/ Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.17.39 AM

A: What do you think the most important trend in social media is?

S: I think the most important trend in social media is getting away from using famous people to endorse products and focusing on social influencers. Consumers are interested in the opinions of people who are like them. Following the Kardashians is entertaining, but Kim and I aren’t using the same shampoo or driving the same car, ya know?

A: Who, other than Kanye, should I follow to keep up on social media?

S: My favorite account to follow on twitter for social trends is @247LS. Laundry Service is a social media agency with offices all over the country. They’re really up to date with everything trending in social and they are constantly getting me hip to new trends. I feel like a lot of social trends that sites talk about are just regurgitated and always about millennials. Laundry Service doesn’t do that. They are the ones who taught me how people are making their own custom snapchat geotags for weddings and other big events. I’ve seen the custom geotags but I had no idea how they were being made. Laundry Service had the run down.

I am extremely lucky to have someone like Shelbi in my life, someone I can call or text for advice on stuff like this and for personal stuff. I’ve always thought Complex was a cool brand and this interview was a great way to get to know more about the internal environment of the company. She also provided a lot of good tips on who to follow, when to speak up and what to focus on. I also got to learn about a Complex campaign and partnership I have never heard about. For more Shelbi wisdom, check out her Twitter.

Nate Riggs: The Inbound Master

By Tyler Prich

Inbound Marketing is one of the fastest growing forms of marketing, and social media plays a pivotal role in making it work. Inbound Marketing is about creating content (Blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.) to attract viewers who will share the content across social media. Nate Riggs started his career as a social media consultant at the very beginning, when Facebook still had .edu proceeding it and AOL chat rooms reigned supreme. But, Nate explained, the economic downturn of 2009-12 put many marketers out of work. Many of them hopped on the growing social media train, thinking it would be their saving grace. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Social media consultants popped up left and right, so much that the title lost all meaning. So Nate took a step back from social media consulting and focused on finding social media’s place within the bigger marketing picture. He most recently started his own inbound marketing company called NR Media Group.

Nate riggs

Source: http://www.nrmedia.biz/company/

I chose to interview Nate because his experience with social media goes back to its root in chat rooms and forums. He has seen the business evolve from the very beginning, and offers an analytical perspective of social media in the marketing world.

Q: Since the economic bubble popped in 2009, has there been a recovery for social media in your eyes?

I think it has matured drastically. While there are still a lot of consultants out there that do good work, for instance Jay Baer, but they are fewer and farther between. Now, those independent consultants got swallowed up by larger companies. For instance, you talk about social media for a small/medium sized business, locally run, where the numbers just aren’t there. Like Bob Evans, we were small. We had around 200,000 fans on Facebook, and managing that alone was a full-time gig. My second week on the job, I open up the page and the page is being bombed with dirty toilet pictures. That became a 48-hour job of cleaning up and responding to criticism. Businesses then realized that it takes a team of people to manage this. Now what they did, was create a director to oversee a team for social media. All of the sudden, there were entire staffs and firms dedicated to running social media.  Then what we saw was the advancement of third-party software. Monitoring systems, sentiment analysis, low-level dashboards all looking for the insights that we need. Now, every marketing system monitors social media, like HubSpot. Then we have one like Sprinklr, which is made for major companies like Cisco. The whole industry, driven by conferences, has really pulled together the stragglers of the social media boom, and now they are working in corporations to drive the industry forward.

Q: What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important? (He is a noted skeptic of Snapchat)

Number one, technology is not a trend, but technology causes trends or can influence trends. Something like Snapchat, that’s just a technology and why I’m a skeptic is that marketers kill the ideas. We look at it and think, “How are we gonna make money off this?” That’s not the intention of what that technology is designed for. Think about Snapchat, it’s about privacy, I see something and I want it to go away. And there are people pontificating about how Snapchat is the future of business, which is what I heard about Google+ and Vine and the list goes on and on. Even a year ago, it was Meerkat and Periscope, and while they’re still out there and have interesting political applications, they’re dying too. What I do think is the next trend? I think there’s two. From a marketing perspective, social media moves from marketing into customer experience and service. The other is that social media is going towards privacy, and that’s driven by millennials who don’t necessarily want to put everything out there. I was part of the first wave of users who went, “Sure, here’s my life, put it online!” As a 35-year old, I regret a lot of that, and I took two or three of my years offline, because I didn’t want to be that public anymore. Your generation saw those mistakes and responded by saying, “well we don’t want everyone to see what’s going on. We can share business with the people we actually care about.” That close-group communication is going to heavily impact how marketers focus on that one-on-one customer service interactions.

Q: Back in the day, you started off doing weekly podcasts, is there a specific advantage to using that as a medium over others?

A: The big podcast we had focused on the restaurant business, but we stopped after around 55 episodes because the restaurant industry wasn’t the inbound target we thought it was. That being said, that one show landed me 4 or 5 speaking gigs, a whole bunch of network connections, clients, the list goes on-and-on. And so yes, there are results from podcasts and here’s why: a couple years ago, automakers shifted towards Bluetooth enablement in car stereos, and now that it’s become an everyman type of thing, it opens up a whole world for drive time listening. You wonder why talk radio has remained so popular, because average commutes are around 40 minutes in the city. And now that podcasts have grown out of iTunes, where it used to be only an Apple product, now you can hookup any podcast app in your car stereo. Both production and access to podcasts have become cheaper and easier. I think we’re going to see people replace drive-time radio with podcasting. We saw it start with Sirius XM, but podcasting gives so many more options as opposed to terrestrial radio, that only offers one show per station at one time. I can speak from personal experience, we’re getting ready to launch a new one in my company, Podcasts are a great marketing tactic.

Q: Who do you follow who in order to stay up to date when it comes to social media?

A: There’s always the analysts, like Jay Baer always has his pulse out there. Here’s the secret sauce though, if you want to stay up to date in marketing, you need to find the speakers and the conference goers. So people who work in corporations with ridiculous travel budgets and attend once a month, or the speakers who are going multiple times per month. It’s those people who are speaking who are doing most of the media, and are out there having conversations with people doing the work, talking with tech vendors, investing. That circle of folks are the ones to stay up to date one, folks like Anne hanley. If they’re out there traveling, they are the first place to get the news.

Q: How important is it to have strong writing skills in the world of marketing and social media? Given the rise of branded content.

I would say critical, but it’s not even critical anymore. If you don’t have them, you don’t work. At the end of the day, you have to sit down and write a compelling piece, whether it’s a blog post, script for a video, or a proposal. Whatever it is, if you can’t write, you can’t be a marketer. Plain and simple. That’s why we’re seeing branded content, which is a very Scripps term, I think the more dominant term is content marketing. When the journalism industry got shaken up and many journalists became unemployed, those journalists launched other businesses. They retain those writing skills and are able to produce unique content and then become an industry resource. Not to say don’t go out and work for a publication, you should get a few years under your belt, but the real money comes from working for a corporation and using those writing skills to tell their story and being a content marketer.

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

Ah, that’s a good one. The most important piece of advice I would give is to become a systems expert. If that really is your goal, you should sit down every week and look at no less than 3 technology demos. Because there are hundreds of systems out there that help you monitor, manipulate, publish, post, catalog, whatever social media. And chances are, when you go into an organization, you’re not going to run Twitter from Twitter, or Facebook from Facebook. So, get familiar with analytics, get familiar with dashboards. Even the high-end ones. You can contact Sprinklr and go through an hour Webinar to learn the ins and outs, and having that knowledge makes you stand out to a hiring person. Scott Brinker built this graphic, that is the landscape of marketing technology. There are 1,876 vendors over 43 categories. The more of these systems you know, no matter what for, it’s going to make you a really good candidate for social media jobs.

Nate and I’s interview lasted around 30 minutes, and he rambled a bit, but the information was worth it. He offered a unique, technical-based view of social media. The graphic he provide me of the systems, and the advice he gave about learning these systems can place you ahead of the game in the job market. Social media is a valuable tool that fuels the inbound marketing process, and the systems are the key to harnessing it.

 

An Interview with Big Spaceship’s Tina Yip

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.

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