Episode 116: The State of Social Media
Everybody will bali. I'm caroline april and as always looking for my good buddy seth robinson out seth. Hey how's it going going okay. How are you holding up in the weather. I'm good. I mean i'm in chicago so we we've had weather but we always do so. Yes aim you know. But my sister lives in texas and she's been living in a hotel for the last three nights because they she's in san antonio and is in the thick of the hell is going on down there So she had to move her self. Her has been there two adult children while they're college age children who just happened to be home on break. So there were at the house they would have been better off being at school and their dog living in a hotel room. So you know they're safe and sound but it's a bit of a nightmare we're all I guess they could have jumped on a plane to cancun point Getting a text about that from my brother-in-law who is a judge in san antonio. He's my my My sister's husband obviously and he was a staunch republican. And i think he's jumping ship at this point they do so so we have a guest today. Yeah we wanted to talk about a topic. That was a really big deal. Several years ago right like i thinking about it and social cloud and mobile like they were vendors that were putting those three together like this thing you know they they would call it a saying and social has obviously been a big topic sense that point but i think not in quite the same way not not in terms of businesses using strategy and it's obviously stepped into kind of a different part of the spotlight with interactions with society and how it's kind of changing and driving society. So we wanted to have someone on that Spend oliver time dealing with these things. It's not senior director of social media. Kelly stone kelly. How're you doing. i'm awesome. I'm also in chicago. Land and this is a snow that i've seen in my adult life because it just keeps coming. Yeah i moved here from minnesota so I've seen it. You know i'll be glad to see it. Go also exactly. The first snow is always fun. The one hundred and eleventh snow is not fun. No get old. I'm a new england person and so this is just the way it is but Yeah christmas right. It's like if you're going to have snow at least some of the. Yeah we did. We had a ton of snow for christmas. We've just had a ton of snow all but february been unusual. But it's it's fine You know you'd have to put your boots on and your coat and bundle up and deal with it you know. The movie fargo So where francis mcdormand and she's pregnant and she's just got that leg giant park on that like hat with for ram and everything and she's in the big boot. Yeah that's kind of here for a while. Not real sexy but you know it is what it is all right so social kelly like like. I said this has been in the spotlight in different ways. It's kind of been A narrative that's unfolded in some interesting ways over the past ten years. And so i thought we would just start at a real high level. What do you see as the state of social here in twenty twenty one. What are some of the biggest issues. What are some of the biggest challenges moving forward. I think what we've seen and asked five to ten. Years is an unrelenting march towards sophistication. I think one of the most insidious things that the social media industry ever did was allow regulators citizens governments to believe that social media is perpetuated by young kids. Funny colored hair who wears who wears zip ups and Talk in memes. I think it's a lot more scary when you consider. Social media is actually perpetuated by people. Like me who have mastered disagrees and are using it for a high level of research and sophistication had ask somebody in twenty fifteen what role social media hasn't elections. They might say you know. Barack obama had a really great social media presence and it probably had an impact as opposed to today. We know that the twenty sixteen electric is very much influenced by the perpetuation of social media. So it's an entirely different worlds. It's different professionals. That are running it and it's very different goals and outcomes today. Yeah i think that's that's interesting. I think there's been a lot of underestimation when it comes to social media and like you're saying kind of underestimation of who's doing it. I think there's been underestimation of these companies in terms of what happens when you get to scale and i think there's been some underestimation of of people that are using it about like what it looks like to be broadcasting to everyone and that maybe if suddenly you're broadcasting to everyone in your network and you're putting out certain messaging you're not being careful about how you would normally changed that messaging because you're aware of which group you're talking to so i think all of that has kind of led into the current situation. I we've seen this across the industry. There's all sorts of tropes about politicians. Anthony weiner not understanding the difference between a direct message a publicly broadcasted tweet these taken down politicians and pillars of society alike. Yeah i. I agree that i think that With you kelly. In terms of social media's initial caricature of being only the dominion of teenagers and kids and they definitely used it. They're awful lot of the larger platforms now as you. Well know. and they have their own little things that they've moved onto but as far as the use of social media as a business tool specifically marketing and communications but other ways use it. And then i want. I don't want to focus entirely on the channel. But that's an area that i spend a lot of time my time on and you know we've asked them how they communicate using social media and the they all enthusiastically say that doing so But in practice it doesn't really look like they've evolved all that much or they've learned the specific techniques that it takes you. What what are you seeing from. A business perspective When it comes to the use of some of these platforms. I think we've seen a really big divide between those who are doing it right and those who think they're doing it right Specifically in the last year we're recording this podcast in three different locations car. United states were one of many businesses that has not reconvened since march. It's very feasible that we work with people that may never meet now in this remote virtual worlds and environment where we're inundated with every company that we've bought something from in the past ten years telling us their cova response plan. Social media has been a way to cut through some of that noise and reach people in unexpected ways and support people in unexpected ways so having just a social media presence has evolved. You not only need a presence. You need a strategy with tactics that roll up to it. What are some of those tactics. Some of the tactics that have helped win hearts minds and accounts are being a person online and being genuinely helpful. We had a very distinct shift at the beginning of the quarantine pandemic of making sure that we are being genuinely helpful to people who are following us and serving the needs of the people who choose to follow. I think the people who are doing it right are those who are scheduling their social media. Presences who are making sure that they're consistent across Days and weeks so they're going in there checking in on people they're making thoughtful comments shea share useful content and being very thoughtful about how often they're going to the well to ask people to take an action. That's very business related So they're thinking about this as more than just one platform and more than just one direct shot from a post to assail. They're thinking about this as a nurture cycle And they're incorporating smart things like video and photos and things that make people stop scrolling pay attention. Yeah i i liked that point about the last thing we need about scrolling and paying attention because i wonder to play devil's advocate here because as an older person i often wonder You know how much of social media is fad versus Something that's up substance in. How much of it is a grant waste time for many businesses and people in in real life and and i'm curious what your thoughts are on that. There's definitely a lot of time wasting going on out there. Which can be therapeutic in this day and age doom scrolling as a thing that people do for better or for worse. But all of that said. I think we've transcended the flash in the pan trend. I can remember in the ninety s. why does pepsi need a website Clearly every business needs a website just like now every website. The is a social media presence. A huge part of my early career was justifying why we need social media and why it's important and how it can help affect our board directed. Kpi's it's more about. What are you going to do with social media to be true to your brand and perpetuate it that in the marketplace You know those conversations are happening. Whether you're on social media or not the differences now you can listen in on those conversations and participate. Learn something from it as well. Your point there about the social presence enhancing companies identity. What are you seeing out there. In terms of companies really understanding that and integrating their social activity in with whatever else is happening whether that's the overall marketing strategy whether that's the overall content strategy I think that a lot of companies you know ten years ago. Maybe tweeted social as something that was happening vacuum and even if they were managing it and maybe giving it attention it was a little more isolated from other parts and now i think we're seeing that if it's if it's part of that brand identity than it has to be integrated with everything and so are. Are you seeing companies embrace that or is there still a learning curve. There i think the companies that are embracing that immigration are the ones that are making progress with social media. It can be really attractive and tempting to try and have the next viral post. But that doesn't work for every business and the tweets that would surprise and delight us from wendy's wouldn't go over very well if they came from the cdc or if fidelity tried to make a mr beast style video on youtube it would be this bizarre upside down world So the organizations that are using social media effectively are the ones that recognized that social media is not an offshoot that exists on a for a different work stream from the rest of your marketing. Social media needs to have a seat at the table and it needs to be something that happens at the beginning of creating a campaign as opposed to at the end. We've created this great microsite. How can you press your magic viral button to get it in front of people so figuring out how to integrate social media in tier plan makes a huge impact in not only how it's perceived on social media but how it performs within your organization and how we're seeing this happen is You know there's a push towards a digital strategy that encapsulates social media and also thinks about video when email and search engine marketing and all of these different things that create a cohesive plan that your audiences engaging with after the fact so curious That all said how does one a business for instance go about choosing the social media platforms that they want to use. I mean there's certain criteria that they should be looking for. I know it's not many are not using just a single platform they're using a different apps and different platforms. That are out there but they all seem to have a distinct message. Verse linked in is different than twitter is. Different from facebook is different from all these other smaller ones. That have cropped up. How does one go about evaluating what they think is the best tool. That's going to get them the best. Roi i think the first thing to kids for is your audience. You're going to have a lot more success. Talking to people in place that they already goto as opposed to bringing them to a new place so depending on who your target audiences that place very well may be linked in or it could be twitter. It might be instagram. It could even be tiktok if you're looking at a younger audience but figuring out where that audience is is the first step then you have to figure out what sort of content is going to be attractive and useful to them. How do you reach them with something that they want to engage in So you want to build content around their needs and solving for their business problems. One thing that. I have said before that i still think is really valid. If you're feeling stretch then if social media's new to you kick one site and do it really really well before you try to do five sites with the same contents and just repeating it and over again One site done very well might be all that you need depending on your business needs and of course t. a. Does have a marketing tool kit to help you. Assess the these needs were currently in the process of updating it and not be available at connect dot com dot org when it's available. I also wrote a blog post as a companion to this so watch for that on the website as well. I like that advice because it's You know you can be jack-of-all-trades kind of thing just to use the metaphor here but Sometimes it's best to just be really good at the one thing and then maybe to extend it to this be really good on one platform. Nothing annoys me. More than people telling me if i write something or if built some sort of power points like pushed it out to all your channels. I'm like what does what does this mean You kidding you can this builder person in may push it out to all of your channels. They cultivate one. That's great so sort of like that advice right or not. A television set with multiple channels. Where people that are. Trying to perpetuate very specific business needs. And i think that when we start to think about it and then this mechanical way we start to lose the magic of it we start. Lose the social aspect of social media. Yeah i agree hundred percent and that kind of ties into the last thing. I wanted to ask you kelly. As we're dealing with you know social aspect and social issues going back to point you made the beginning of the podcast here recognizing that the message that you want to put out on social media is going to maybe a broader audience than you would have if you were having a live event you know with with people that are are bought into you know to your company and so if a company puts out these messages on social media that they want to identify with so for example if a company puts out we support. Black lives matter. That's going out to a very broad audience. there's probably going to be some blowback on that. You know what advice would you have for companies as they have these internal discussions. Think about what messages that they wanna put out and then prepare for whatever the repercussions might be. I think the first thing that you need to do is have a concept of what your core values as an organization are and make sure that your communications are congruent with those core concepts the aware that at you may lose customers as a result of taking a stand and be okay with the concept that perhaps those weren't the customers that were right for you. If you're okay with all of those assumptions than yes take a stay and make your opinion known Because there will also probably be a equal and opposite contention of people who respect taking a stand Also what goes hand in hand with that is. Make sure that you have a process in mind outlined in writing preferably about what happens if something gets bigger than you anticipate We call this a crisis. Communications report We have a little bit of a standard operating procedure around that intern. Who to contact how to assess if this is a big deal and what happens then if calling it a crisis. Communications plan is intimidating. Just think about it as a playbook of what will happen if the unexpected happens Stay true to that plan. Foul the course And consider before you may make these statements that one they're out there they are out there As you've mentioned seth things can get bigger and go to different audiences than you intended. There used to be this question of. Should i maintain a personal and professional. Facebook page should maintain a personal and a professional twitter account. Chances are if you had to separate those audiences and you're concerned about your professional network tapping into some of your personal things that you're putting out on the internet. You probably don't wanna those on the internet to begin with an having those two separate only increases the chances that you'll make a mistake in post something in the marketplace. The internet dangerous sometimes. Yeah yeah don't don't turn tweet. And the internet never forgets. No doesn't well. These great insights. kelly. I really appreciate you joining us today. Thanks for having me. This is great. Yeah thank you very much. This has been a great conversation on a big topic and mike. Kelly said she's going to have a follow up blog post here so we'll link to the blog. I in the show notes. So that when that post goes up people can check it out and Kelly looking forward to seeing you again in person sometime in the hopefully near future. Absolutely stay safe guys. Yeah it'll be nice when we can all get together again. But in the meantime. Thank you kelly again. I take care already bye-bye.