Social media and the campaigns that drive brand success are nothing without the people who make things happen!
Each week we profile one innovative industry executive and get them to answer 12 questions. Then, we share their insight with you!
So get ready to listen in… Or read of course! The choice is yours! Let’s get started:
So to get started, I will just go ahead and let you take the floor to tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into social media.
Cool. Sure. Okay. So my name is Emily Davis and I’m the content and social media manager for Jack Wills, the clothing retailer. I have been there for almost a year now pretty much a year on the dot next week! I have always worked in social media; my previous roles at the National Lottery ran by Camelot, and Ann Summers before that. So, a bit of a mixed background really with retail… always customer-facing. And so, how I got there… I fell into it really. I studied English & History at university, but was always sort of interested in marketing. However, I just sort of “fell into” a social media role, and really enjoyed it. I really liked how quick the reaction was. So, you could see whether or not something really worked or not. Whereas with traditional marketing you didn’t get that same feedback.
Kind of that delayed response?
Yes. And then, I just kind of got hooked on it really, and it all started from there.
It is one of those things that just happens when it happens. With social there was no plan… at least when we started.
It was fairly new then, and for businesses. I mean, for users it wasn’t new, but for businesses to be investing in like personnel and to be having a strategy… that was pretty new. It was a bit like the “wild west… it was exciting!
I was the only person at Ann Summers doing social media when I joined, which seems crazy. Like you’d hire someone with no experience from university and then to have them learn on the job really. That was kind of the way it was about 5 years ago.
And that’s kind of how I think it is still going in a way. You hire people that use social media themselves; kind of that practitioner that is already ingrained in the field without realising it.
Yeah, yeah definitely. It has kind of… Everyone that uses social media, in a way, is kind of a social media manager of their own social media.
About Social Media In General
1. What is your personal favourite platform social media platform?
So for personal use, it has to be Instagram. I love that obviously it’s a visual platform and I kind of love how beautiful and aesthetic it is. And I mean obviously they have introduced the algorithm that actually advertising isn’t as big there yet, so it still feels quite democratic. And it still feels as a user it’s more aimed at me, rather than aimed at a brand.
So it’s that more personal experience in terms of seeing things from people you follow and etc.?
Yeah. Absolutely and I just feel I get more access I think than it feels I do on Facebook now as to what people are doing, their everyday life… And I really like the stories. I mean I know there has been a lot of pisstaking recently of them doing that but… I like it. It is kind of instant. And it’s a bit more raw than some Instagram feeds, and I like that kind of contrast.
So then how do you feel about Instagram and Snapchat having the same capabilities?
Ummm… I can see that if you work for Snapchat you’d feel like they’ve kind of stolen from you a little bit, but I think I can kind of… sort of… see why they do it, and that actually it works for them. I don’t think it feels wrong. When you see it, it feels natural. I mean, these things grow and develop. That is all they are doing. It is an organic space. They are kind of growing and evolving with each other. So I think it is only natural that they are going to take inspiration from each other.
I mean, the brand I work for now, Jack Wills, Snapchat is a little young for us, so actually having the functionality of Snapchat on Instagram where our audience is makes a lot of sense for us, so as a brand, it’s great!
2. So then in terms of Jack Wills, what is the social media platform you guys focus your efforts on?
So I would say our three core channels are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. In terms of what is more important for the brand, I would say it is Instagram. In terms of like revenue and traffic driving, it is still Facebook. So there is sort of like a balance there that I quite like. When we want to drive traffic, and drive numbers onto the site, Facebook is great for that. We can do targeting, we can put money behind our ads, it is great. When we want to tell people about the brand and show people something beautiful Instagram does that perfectly. It is kind of like the shop window, and Facebook is kind of the path to the store.
3. So, this is the big loaded one… what is the future of social media?
Uh… if I knew that I would be a millionaire… billionaire probably. I mean we are seeing a move towards video and we are seeing a move away… I mean with stories and Snapchat, we are moving back towards more authentic content. So I think it might continue to go that way. But these things kind of swing. So you will probably get a move to authentic and then you’ll get a move back to beautiful set-up aesthetics so… I think these things evolve.
About Great Social Media Campaigns
4. So then, this is the one that we discussed earlier… what is your favourite social media campaign this year?
So, I struggled with this a little bit when you first asked me and then I thought “Oh my god, obviously… Burberry‘s London Fashion Week Campaign.” I just thought it was amazing. Every single channel, they had done something tailored and personalised for the channel which I thought was really an amazing strategy, because it really brought the show to life. I then went to Maker’s House to see the exhibition kind of inspired by the social media coverage. So, it was just amazing! I mean, I haven’t bought anything, but that is because I can’t afford it! But they effectively have converted me into a Burberry fan. I mean, what I really liked was for Snapchat the models had Spectacles.
And I just thought that was a really nice touch because I was wondering what they would do for Snapchat… and it was perfect! And everything else looked beautiful, and they had obviously kind of done it… they had an Instagram Story with a cameraman that just looked right for Insta-stories. It was really well done! So yeah… snaps to them!
5. So then can you tell us a bit of something you at Jack Wills have recently done?
So we had a big campaign that we were really proud of in January & February. We launched a sporting goods sort of… athleisure line for the first time. So we have done lots of lounge, jogging bottoms and things like that – that is what we are known for, but this was the first time we had done it like a technical wear. So, it was a new audience for us. So we targeted a whole load of influencers with the overlap of lifestyle fashion and then also fitness to reach that new audience. We completely took over the feed with this collection for two weeks which was quite a bit of a gamble; with the same content, same range of clothes the engagement rates might have dropped, but they didn’t! So we were really really pleased with that!
And then, we got some kind of lifestyle partnerships in too; Sugar-Free Sippings, they do some really nice food content so we were able to tap into that too and give our content more of an authentic feel. Because it is a lifestyle. It’s not just about buying a pair of trousers, you are actually living it. So yeah… that was really great for us!
Yeah exactly. It is nice to see apparel brands positioning themselves as a lifestyle brand, and less about selling the actual clothes themselves.
Yeah! Because, for the customer it doesn’t end with them buying the clothes, they go and wear it in their lives, so I think you need to reflect that with your content.
6. What is the most important things brands need to keep in mind in order to create a successful social media campaign?
I think it is understanding: 1. Your audience and 2. Your objectives. I think it is very difficult to be everything for everyone, so understanding what it is you are trying to achieve, and who is it you are trying to talk to. Once you have those things sorted, everything else kind of comes from that. You really need to know that. I think it is easy to have a bit of ADHD in social media, and try and do everything. A bit of focus sometimes is really good.
And be realistic about your goals right?
Yeah. So, I was talking about Burberry earlier… we can’t all be Burberry. So what is achievable for you and your brand or social media channel. And always aim high, but aim within reality.
Not everybody has Burberry’s budget! Haha.
7. So then what would you say is the most important KPI to keep in mind?
So, for me, when I’m looking at my brands performance, it is always engagement rate first and foremost. We do certainly look at other things i.e. follower growth, revenue but… are people engaging with the content that we are putting out. Do they like it? Do we still have a good relationship with them is kind of the key.
And do you think that is the same for a lot of brands?
I think it is the same for a lot of brands but, when I go to conferences… more and more people are talking about how we measure the value? And I think it is more and more moving towards… “We need a sort of pound sign on it.” And while I think it is important, it is dangerous to go too far down that road because you can then alienate the customer.
It turns into more direct marketing?
Yeah. And while direct marketing is great, it is not so great on social media.
8. So then where do you see social media fitting into the future marketing mix?
That is a good question actually coming on from what we were just talking about! So I mean, at the moment, I sit within the sort of the Marketing Content Team and then we also have a Digital Marketing team who look after the more revenue driving. I think the dream would be that we all would be working together within the same mix with the understanding that we do have slightly different focuses.
So, that integrated approach is kind of the secret to good marketing?
Yeah, yeah so with direct digital marketing, that doesn’t mean that that is not engaging. you need to use great content with that too. In the same way that what I am doing in social media, and sort of more brand led social media… its not completely separate from driving revenue. It drives revenue too, its just that its the secondary purpose… further down the line.
9. What do you think the biggest obstacle is of social media?
I think, there is a little bit to do with reporting still. There is a lot out there; a lot of different metrics that aren’t quite measuring up which is a bit of a day to day challenge. I also think that our followers are getting a bit more savvy. You know, a few years ago it was all new and a brand talking to them was quite exciting and I think now, people are used to that. So, as a brand, or any social media business really, you need to be thinking how do we keep this fresh and relevant? How do we carry on talking to these people who have seen it all before now?
So that whole what’s next approach. How do I capture their attention more than ever before?
Yeah, exactly. Potentially they are a little bit cynical and a little bit jaded. You have these big influencers now who are individuals and don’t need to be a brand to have a big social media following. So, why should they be listening to us as opposed to these really cool 20 year olds with huge Instagram followings?
10. What would be the one piece of advice you would give someone starting off in the industry?
I would say, when you’re first starting in, you have a really good opportunity to just look at everything with a new perspective. Which, when you are first coming in, I don’t think you realise how good that is. Just remember all of those things that you notice that don’t quite make sense or you think “Why are they doing it this way?” Hold onto that for as long as you possibly can. Because that is so valuable and so useful. I mean, I have been working in the social media industry for 5 years now, and it is quote hard to take a step back and think, “what is this like for someone that doesn’t live an breathe this every day?” So while you still have that sense of newness and freshness…
It’s like that curiosity… you are interested in everything and want to know more kind of thing? Always have that mindset you think?
Yeah definitely. Curiosity is a really good word! And just that enthusiasm!
11. So then, where do you see the ad format transitioning? There are a lot of them right, now, but which do you think will really take off?
That’s a good question! I mean, we are sort of playing around with canvas ads on Facebook at the moment where you have that really good mix of video… still… which I quite like. I think any opportunity to show off a bit more content is really great!
Again, ad format of the future is so hard to know. I would have said video a few months ago, but I actually feel like people are a bit saturated with that a little bit. And kind of having something where the user needs to kind of go and engage with it and gets to make that choice as opposed to having a video pre-rolled and forced onto you… its quite good.
It is harder to get someone to take that step, but when they have, they are already more engaged.
Fun Fact time!
12. What is one thing someone would NOT be able to find about you from looking at your social media profiles?
Umm… yeah… I don’t know, because so much of my life is kind of rolled into social media. But, I think one thing I try not to advertise too much on my social media is that I am a real reality TV junkie! Haha.
Haha. So then… what is your favourite show?!
Um… I keep up with the Kardashians!
You dooo?! Haha. You are speaking to the American in the room!
I can’t help it, I am a little bit ashamed of it, but… I also love it! So you know… live the truth!
You have got to love the drama!
I do! I do! I just love it! You know, I am trying to persuade people now that they are kind of like the new feminists! This is women power! So you know, I have tried to say that. I don’t know if its true or not, but… that’s my excuse!
Amazing! Alright, well thank you for stopping by, lovely to speak to you. And thank you guys for listening/reading!
Be sure to stay tuned for next week’s podcast!