In a Huge Company, Community Managers Become the Heroes

Special Guests: Amrita Sahasrabudhe, Brian Marks

Social Pros Podcast | Real People Doing Real Work in Social Media

Amrita Sahasrabudhe, ARAMARK

Amrita Sahasrabudhe, ARAMARK @amritasocial

Amrita Sahasrabudhe, Director of Marketing at ARAMARK Parks and Destinations, and Brian Marks, Senior Manager of Digital and Social at ARAMARK Parks and Destinations, join the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss how the community directs their social strategy, how their responsibilities differ depending on the destination they’re involved with, and how their community managers are the heroes of their operation.


Brian Marks, ARAMARK @bmarks

Brian Marks, ARAMARK

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Tweetable Moments

“We let the community direct where the strategy goes.” -@bmarks (tweet this)

“We treat each of those communities as its own brand.” -@amritasocial (tweet this)

Training and Decentralization

Aramark Parks & Destinations is involved with running some of the most beautiful destinations in the United States, including Denali National Park in Alaska, Lake Powell in Arizona, and the Philadelphia Zoo. For the national parks, Aramark operates the facilities (hotels, lodges, activities, rentals) and also market the destination. For attractions like zoos and aquariums, the business model is different; Aramark runs the retail, food, and beverage operations but is not in charge of driving visitation.

With far-flung destinations across the country and a wide range of services offered, Brian’s and Amrita’s teams have their work cut out for them.

“We have a matrix of community managers,” Amrita explains. The digital and marketing teams plan content ahead of time, but “having that on-site community manager becomes so important for authenticity.” The community managers are not doing that full time. Some of them are HR managers for the attraction, some of them are front desk managers, etc. They all share a passion for their respective locations, love what they do, and contribute content regularly.

Notably, they don’t brand themselves as Aramark – the @TravelAramark Twitter handle is a small tool in comparison to the individual Facebook and Twitter pages of each destination.

Social media management tools like Spredfast and Zuum Social keep them active across the social sphere.

Campaigns like the above, which slowly revealed a massive new product at Lake Powell, are integrated across all platforms. The photo was slowly un-blurred over 5 days, not just on Facebook, but also on their website and via email marketing. “It was all timed together such that our consumers would be hit by it via different channels,” Amrita says.

Quarterly, the community manager “heroes” meet with Amrita’s team and all share what they’ve learned on each of their respective pages, with each of their respective communities.

Social Media Number of the Week: 10 years

Facebook celebrated 10 years on February 4th, and in commemoration, Time Tech created a little app to help calculate how much time a user has “wasted” on Facebook. For Jeff, it’s a little over 27 days.

But Jeff disagrees with the Facebook Time Machine‘s diagnosis that these days were wasted.

“I think the knee-jerk reaction of people covering social media from the outside is to talk about time wasting,” he says. Facebook succeeded because it connected us with each other. “I certainly know it adds value on a daily basis to my life to keep abreast of what’s going on with friends and family.”

Holy Social!

Univision got a 13% Facebook engagement rate with one post, which may not sound like much, but in these days of diminished reach, it’s astronomical.

Even more remarkable was the fact that they didn’t create this piece of content, but they were listening and agile enough to be able to grab it and atomize it, immediately pushing it out to various content platforms.

As a news organization, Univision is used to building its infrastructure to be agile, but every business needs to work real-time marketing into its abilities. You can and should source content from your fans. Not only is it free, but it’s also authentic.

The Big Two

What’s your one tip for becoming a social pro?
Brian: “Be prepared for change always.”
Amrita: “Take a risk and keep testing, because what works today won’t work tomorrow, but what worked yesterday may work again.”

If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be?
Brian: Elon Musk.
Amrita: Sheryl Sandberg.

See you next week!

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