Jason Miller, Social Content Manager at Beam Global, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss the complex legal issues of running an alcohol-related brand’s social media operations, the off-limits social channels, and how important storytelling is in the face of the visual takeover of social.
Live from WOMMA Summit, it’s Social Pros!
Read on for some of the highlights and tweetable moments, or listen to the full podcast.
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“We try to stay true to the channel’s founding principles.” -Jason Miller (tweet this)
Dealing with Scrutiny
“Everything we do is under very close scrutiny,” Jason says, “both internal and external.” Beam Global crafts and markets dozens of the world’s top spirits brands, including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Sauza, and Skinnygirl Cocktails, amongst many others. As a company that sells alcohol, Beam’s actions on social media are closely monitored.
Every piece of content they put out there has to be approved by a compliance team (what is the tone? what is the message?) and by an intellectual property team (is this violating anyone else’s intellectual property?).
Jason and his team have found creative ways to keep their social channels agile in the face of these seemingly overwhelming restrictions. The teams reside in-house and are divided by “category groups” – some people focus on the vodka brands, some focus on the bourbon brands, some focus on tequila, etc.
“The advantage of having a social content team in-house, especially for a spirits brand, is the ability to get some leeway and to earn trust with your legal team,” Jason says.
This means that if they’re running an event, they can go through possible scripts ahead of time with their teams and then make sound decisions on-the-fly based on what actually happens at that event.
The Big Picture
The increasingly visual world of social media forces people to create content in many different ways. Being able to tell stories about a brand, though, is still the most important skill – and one of the hardest ones to hone.
“I still feel the writing background is super important, but if I was looking to get into social media now, I would definitely take more photojournalism classes,” Jason says. “I would take probably a video editing class.”
But even knowing that, people working in the higher levels of social media and organizing across multiple brands or multiple markets need to be able to keep an eye on the big picture. That one Instagram photo is important, but it’s not as important as guiding the storytelling for an entire brand, a whole company. “I think that’s something you can teach, but there’s a level where you have to just get it to really excel at that particular skill set.”
Four Your Information
How did you get involved with social media?
Jason was working in PR in the restaurant industry when MySpace tanked and Facebook rose to glory. The CMO rejected his team’s idea to join social networks, but they created pages anyway, just to listen and do a little bit of customer service. Then the day Oprah announced she was joining Twitter, that same CMO basically said, “Jason, you’re doing social media.”
What do you like best about social media?
Every day is a little bit different and presents a new challenge.
What do you like least about social media?
Since every day is a little bit different, there are no days off; you are always on your toes.
If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be?
Ke$ha. You’ll have to listen to find out why.
See you next week!