Welcome to this week’s 12 Questions Podcast! Each week, we talk to one innovative industry professional, and ask them 12 questions on their experiences and industry insights. Because let’s face it; social media and the campaigns that drive brand success would be nothing without the people who make things happen.
This week we’re in Glasgow chatting to Tala Byrne – senior social media channel manager at Dog Digital.
So let’s get started! Why don’t we kick things off with a bit about you and how you got into the industry?
Yeah, I mean I started while I was at university. I was studying English and Politics. So, not all related to social media funny enough, but I wanted to do an internship in marketing and I got a part time internship, a small social media agency in Glasgow that I did a couple of days a week. I used to kind of help out with things like writing some social media content plans and research based tasks which shows may be how much social media has come on in a few years. And then, they offered me a job when I graduated and I stayed there for a while and moved to one or two other agencies.
I’ve always specialized in social media but I have kind of worked in other parts of marketing as well but nothing I’ve enjoyed quite as much as I love social.
About Social Media in General
1. Which is your favorite social media platform?
It’s difficult. I’m really quite into Instagram at the moment. I really like Instagram stories. I think it’s having a really big moment. So I think that for brands, Instagram stories is a really nice way for you to have a bit of a more personal relationship with your customers. And I also like the Instagram has you know, partner apps like Boomerang, Hyperlapse and things that are there to help you create nice content for Instagram.
I do also think Pinterest is quite underrated. I think it’s got one of the highest dwell times of any social network. So people who are into Pinterest, are really, really into Pinterest, which seems like a bit of an untapped niche to me. For some brands, with the right type of product, I think it could do really well. So I do think that Pinterest is a little bit of an unsung hero. So I’m just waiting for the right client to do a really big Pinterest campaign.
2. What social media platform is used most by your brand/agency?
It’s a difficult one. We’re kind of in the process of trying to get a little bit more active across the board with social. But definitely, we find that Twitter and LinkedIn are our main channels; that’s where we’ve got the biggest following and it’s where most of our clients and partners and staff and things like that will interact with us. But, we are trying to build more of a presence on Facebook and Instagram because because Facebook is a great tool to use to get in touch with talent. With Instagram, we are looking to kind of showcase a little bit more of our creative side. So yeah, we’re kind of in the process of refining the strategy at the moment but it’s quite exciting times.
3. In your opinion, what is the future of social media and what platforms will lead the way?
I mean I think there’s a couple of things that for me are kind of sticking out at the moment. One is the payment through social media. We’ve started to see that there are features becoming available for small businesses to kind of pay through Messenger; so you can like buy flowers and pay for it through Messenger which I think is really interesting. But I do see that becoming a much bigger thing. I think that you know, eventually maybe people won’t even go to websites to do online shopping at all; just be browsing through things that you see on social and buying them instantly.
And I also think that media will become a lot more centered around social media. So we’re already seeing you’re consuming content in the form of news articles on social via articles that live entirely on social. I think we may even end up seeing the same thing with things like T.V. shows. Eventually, maybe you’ll stream all those through social as well. And so I think media and social are going to become a lot more reliant on one another.
So I think it’s going to be a natural progression that maybe eventually it will all live entirely on social media.
About Great Social Media Campaigns
4. Tell us about one social media campaign you liked most this year.
I think it’s really easy to see the huge budget ones that are kind of go across T.V. and they’ve got a little bit of a social incorporated. But I usually prefer the campaigns that are a little bit less flashy and maybe do something creative with like a smaller budget or with a very simple idea.
I did like last year’s French campaign for an alcohol addiction awareness charity. They created a fake Instagram account with the girl who always had a drink in her hand that amassed over one hundred thousand followers, and nobody even knew what the campaign was. Then, they had a reveal video where they said, ‘Did you even know is that this girl only ever had a drink in her hand?’ And I think it was interesting because that kind of like covert social media campaign is something that I’ve not really seen a lot of and so I think that they managed to do something completely new. And it had a lot of impact I mean for quite a small campaign that got coverage across you know global industry, publications and etc.
Equally, there’s a more recent one as well that was for Worldwide Breast Cancer‘s campaign: #KnowYourLemons. And they have a picture of the different lemons showing the different symptoms of breast cancer. I just thought it was really clever, because it’s hard to educate people about something like breast cancer symptoms over social media with so many restrictions on what you can show in photographs. And the hashtag #knowyourlemons was quite playful. I mean, the campaign was kind of all about a single image, but it got so many shares across social media. I thought it was really interesting; the idea of the campaign surviving around this one piece of content rather than you know, loads of different types of content across multiple different networks.
5. What about the latest campaign your brand or agency was involved in?
We’ve been working on an on-going campaign for about a year for an international fitness brand. And what’s interesting is, it is in multiple different languages. So we’ve been involved in the social media for like six different European countries, which has been quite a challenge in terms of translation. Especially when you want to be actively community managing and don’t have these native tongues in-house, so we set up smart processes and ways of thinking about how we wanted to create great content on a practical level. Which I think, is sometimes something that a lot of agencies don’t place enough importance on.
But it’s I think with fitness as well it’s one of these ones that is quite restrictive particularly when you’re focusing on networks like Facebook which this campaign does. They’re so strict about what you can say about healthy eating, healthy diet and etc. So finding a way to promote it and without offending anyone, it needs to have a much more positive lifestyle kind of spin on it – which lends itself to social so well.
6. What is the most important thing brands and agencies need to keep in mind, in order to build a successful social media campaign?
I think it’s probably just know your audience. I’m sure a lot of people say stuff like that but… and it can be quite tempting, I think it is a shame when a ‘cool idea’ turns into ignoring your target audience. For example, I always think of House of Frasier’s emoji campaign last year. The idea itself wasn’t bad; hijacking news stories and using them just didn’t fit with the House of Fraser as a brand at all or their audience and because of that, they kind of got quite a lot of backlash on social. So I think it’s definitely think about the audience first and what kind of content will resonate with them and let the campaign idea come after that.
I think as a brand you really have to put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. It is my favourite thing to do. When I see Facebook ads and I don’t understand why I’m being targeted, I click the little drop down, and look to see like why you’ve been targeted for that ad. I do it for all sorts of different ads and then critique what they’re doing in my head. It’s so fun!
7. In your opinion, what is the most important KPI to watch during a social media campaign?
I think it really to me I prefer to set KPI’s based on what the objective of the campaign is. I don’t necessarily think there’s a one size fits all approach. Ultimately, it should come from what the client wants to achieve. But I do think that generally engagement and engagement rate is something you’ll be looking at whether it’s a brand awareness campaign, product or action driven campaign. Engagement really will always be something that is important, if not the most important.
I do think as well that on-site social metrics, looking at the quality of visitors on social media is also important. I like to look at bounce rates and session durations. I think it is not given enough importance. Because ultimately, we need to think about not just who’s seeing things on social media but how well do they fit with our target audience. Because how much time they spend on your site will suggest they are interested/engaged, or if it is just a case of passively liking things on social.
Because really, there’s no point in having a Facebook Page with a million people on it, if none of those people are ever going to be interested in your product. You’d be much better having a page that say two thousand people on it but to live locally to where your business is or they’re very niche and they’re going to be super likely to buy from you. I think fans and followers are a vanity thing. And sure, there is some value in that, but it needs to come in moderation with the other things I think.
8. What will be the role of social media in the marketing mix of the future?
I think this is something that we’ve been working on a lot as an agency at the moment, is this idea of customer experience and thinking about the different touch-points and how people interact with brands before and after they make their purchase. Because really, it is no longer as simple as seeing one piece of content and buying it. Sometimes, it is more likely that you follow a brand and see several bits of content, visit the website, and back-off.
So, we’re really trying to think more about that customer experience and understanding the relationship between social and other different channels. So thinking about how we’ll influence organic, paid search and etc. So, in my mind it’s going to become more important to understand the customer journey. You need to really ask yourself, who are your customers? What stage of the customer journey are they in? And how do I tap into them on social media?
9. What would you say the biggest obstacle is in the field of social media marketing?
I think it’s just saturation. I think there’s just too many brands and content on social at the moment. It’s kind of a double edged sword really, isn’t it? Audiences are starting to get bit more fatigued and fed up with seeing brands on social media. Therefore, there’s more pressure on brands to stand out and be different. I suppose the good side of that is that it pushes you to create content which is high quality and is super relevant because you know that the audience will just scroll past otherwise, but it can be difficult.
As agencies or brands, we now need to think about both high quality and tactical content by using analytics to influence our strategy.
10. If you had to give one piece of advice to someone has just started in the industry, what would it be?
I would say, get on your personal social media and think like a consumer. One of the things that I find really helpful is screen-grabbing good content that I get served on social media and using it as a kind of an inspiration file. Or vice versa with bad content.
11. In your opinion, what is the ad format of the future?
I think going back to what I was saying earlier by media will almost start living on social media. Therefore, any ad format that doesn’t make you leave the social networks are the best, because people hate being redirected. So, things may be looking at like Facebook Canvas where you can have a ‘website-like’ experience within Facebook and never leave. I think they’re going to become more and more important as ad formats. Users want minimal clicks. So I think any ad format that plays into that behavior will become more and more successful.
12. Finally, tell us one thing someone would NOT be able to find out about you from looking at your social media profiles?
My social media is full of fun things! But if I had to pick something, it would probably be that I reread the same books and watch the same TV shows once a year or more; each time pretending I don’t know what’s going to happen. None of my friends can understand why I do it, and I don’t either really! Haha. It is funny, because it is like I think I will pick up on something that nobody else ever has, but I don’t think I ever do!
And that’s a wrap, thanks for stopping by Tala! Stay tuned for more exciting industry insights each week.
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