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Mastering the Many Roles of a Social Media Professional

Authors: Jess Ostroff Jess Ostroff
Posted Under: Social Media
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social-pros-iconThe Social Pros Podcast in May brought in a new batch of expertise, featuring guests from Plus Your Business, the Google+ experts; SAP, a German multinational software company; Canva, the Australian, “amazingly simple” graphic design app; global retail giant Walmart; and the world’s largest credit union Navy Federal.

This month’s social pros touched on topics across the entire scope of social media marketing. From Pinterest to Google+, from content to community, they’re covering all the bases to innovate in the field while keeping their teams running without a hitch. Social media marketers have to wear many hats at once. Read on to see how these pros wear their hats and navigate smoothly when switching between them.

Plus Your Business Founder, Martin Shervington

Martin Shervington, Plus Your Business
Martin Shervington, Plus Your Business

Google+ is not going anywhere. Martin made that clear when he appeared on the Social Pros Podcast. People occasionally like to announce that “Google+ has failed,” but even after its leadership changed last month, Martin assured us that nothing would change.

“Google+ is Google,” he says. And it’s misunderstood.

The main purpose of Google+ is not to be a direct competitor to Facebook; rather, it’s to add a social layer to the rest of Google’s products.

And those people who love to proclaim to Google+ is dead don’t really know what they’re talking about. “When you look at the authors, most of them haven’t posted for the last two years, let alone built up a network and really understand what’s going on. ”

Martin’s advice for social pros is that social isn’t about you; it’s about the community. If you’re always posting about yourself, or for yourself, you won’t make it very far.

But if you create good content with your community first in your mind, you will be successful. “You find that people are around supporting you and sharing new content, engaging with it, amplifying it, embedding it on their websites, doing all of that stuff because they love what you do.”

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SAP Digital Strategist, Nick Robinson

Social Pro Nick Robinson, SAP
Nick Robinson, SAP

Over at SAP, social media has become more than a job description. Now it’s a skill set that everyone is expected to have a handle on.

But instead of spreading their social presence as much as possible, Nick’s team is trimming it back, eliminating overly specific email and Twitter accounts in an effort to centralize their efforts.

By concentrating on fewer Twitter handles (down from over 200), they can more carefully and frequently engage with their audience without anyone wondering where to find them.

Nick is also the co-author of StumbleUpon for DummiesHe sees StumbleUpon as “one of the most cost-efficient content syndication channels out there.” The targeting is “amazing.” You can target, within a single category like “adrenaline junkie,” between 10 and 20 specific data points so your content is only going to exactly the people you want to see it. In Nick’s opinion, nothing beats StumbleUpon for paid discovery.

Not surprisingly since he is a software guy, Nick’s one piece of advice for social pros is to know the numbers. Analytics tools are improving all the time, so there is no excuse for ignoring the data behind all of the social media implementation your brand does.

Strategizing and execution are only half of the picture; the other half is analyzing that strategy and then tweaking it based on the analytics. “If you look at any executive, they know their numbers intimately.” You spend all that time and money thinking of the strategy in the first place, so making sure it works the way you expected it would is essential.

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Canva Head of Social Strategy, Peg Fitzpatrick

Peg Fitzpatrick, Canva
Peg Fitzpatrick, Canva

Canva is a wonderful new graphic design tool that’s free to use and will be useful to virtually any digital marketer. In minutes, you can create a polished, professional image to use in blog posts, Facebook posts, etc.

When Peg joined us on the podcast, she had only been working at Canva for about a month but had already taken their Pinterest follower count from about 1,600 to over 10,000 in that time.

Peg loves that working involves so much social. Even when she’s not writing a blog post or working on her book, she is always writing because she’s constantly telling Canva’s story.

Pinterest has been Peg’s favorite platform since its launch, and she’s thrilled at the recent developments that have made discovering content on Pinterest easier than ever. “It’s getting stronger for marketers. More and more brands are getting bigger on Pinterest and planning whole campaigns.” Peg gives some great tips on how to optimize your Pinterest boards and pins; it’s not just about hitting “Pin It”!

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Read the full show highlights here:

Walmart Senior Director of Digital Communications, Chad Mitchell

Chad Mitchell, Walmart @cmmitchell4
Chad Mitchell, Walmart

Chad’s team has their work cut out for them. Walmart is the world’s largest public corporation and operates in 27 countries under 55 different names.

The digital communications team is relatively small – just 3 people – but brings together the work of many other divisions of the company, including Public Relations and Marketing.

Since Walmart receives a huge number of mentions per day, one of the interesting things Chad measures is velocity rather than volume. Is a news item or a post still generating a lot of discussion after 20 minutes? After 2 hours? This is one of the many ways he differentiates news from noise in his daily interaction with customers, fans, and critics.

Chad encourages social pros to keep reading and learning. He sets aside a portion of his day to keep up to date with social media news and trends (he is a big Convince & Convert fan!) and to stay up to date with general internet buzz. It’s a fast-moving field, and he needs to stay on top of any developments.

He had so much to say that we had to cut out the Holy Social! and Social Media Stat of the Week segments on this show, so make sure to listen for all of his insights.

Click the play button to listen here:

Read the full show highlights here:

Navy Federal Social Media Manager, Michael Toner

Social Pros Michael Toner, Navy FederalMichael hasn’t been working for Navy Federal for long, but already he knows that the credit union is all about its members. Membership is open to any American military serviceman when s/he is serving active duty and can be maintained thereafter.

In one way, this makes Michael’s job easier; his social media conversations are with members rather than customers, and they are already invested in the success of the union. He translates the conversations they’re already having offline and in branches into an on-going online interaction. Customer service and education both happen in the social sphere.

His plan for the future is to get individual Navy Federal employees active in social. This will make his team’s efforts more local, and it gives them a force of built-in brand ambassadors that stretches across the country.

Michael’s main advice is that social pros need to be able to state their own vision. Being a leader is integral to success in social media because it gives you the ability to be transparent. If you are comfortable with your own voice and vision, you will be able to communicate that to others, and in turn they will want to jump on-board. Michael strives to be open and honest in his online communications, whether as Navy Federal or on his personal pages. That honesty is essential for fostering positive relationships online.

Click the play button to listen here:

Read the full show highlights here:

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