Who are you and what does your company do?

Director, Social Media and Digital at TBWA\Chiat\Day in LA, for the agency’s largest business. I won our first piece of social media business 4 years ago and helped build the new practice from the ground up within Chiat, to service and grow it. We turned it into a Top 5 brand in social media (according to Digiday) and very proud of that. TBWA\Chiat\Day’s motto is to locate and involve brands in modern culture, to be the influence behind the popularity of brands.

How and why did you get started in social media?

In previous roles, I managed digital for several different clients. As social media began to emerge and take off, I started to educate businesses on social’s value, and how to adapt as it started to grow more and more important.

While social media allows you to manage connections directly with your consumer base, it also challenges you to find new ways for exposing your brand in a fun way.

What do you believe the benefits of using social media for business?

It brings brands to life and gives them real voices. I believe social equals human; it allows you to communicate with consumers in a different way to other mediums like TV. Whether you spend months or even longer crafting a beautiful piece of advertising or content for a TV spot, once it hits the air it doesn’t belong to you anymore, it’s in the public’s hands. One of the key benefits of social media is the ability to manage conversations in the right way. It’s a big responsibility on behalf of a brand, but one that you can manage cohesively across different platforms if you’ve learned how to relate to your fans and users on the platforms, wherever the brand’s presence can be felt. In today’s landscape social media is ingrained in everything we do.

What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?

On social media you’re supposed to be a human with the voice of a brand and not be the brand itself. You have to focus on building a relationship first, being open, honest, helpful and always ready to provide information when necessary. A common mistake is aggressively promoting products; let customers come to you. And be nice, because you never know which interaction will be your next big advocate.

With platform algorithms changing and increasing premiums being put on reach, don’t make the best content that no one will see! Have a plan, make sure your message or content is truly interesting enough for someone to care, and work your plan to put it in front of the right people. But be ready to change and optimize in real time.

What qualities do you think social media managers should have?

Social media managers should stay relentlessly current, be engaging with an ability to tell a good story, nimble, and open to trying new things.

They need to understand that they are a representation of the brand, that they build relationships on behalf of the brand, and people’s view of the brand often happens through them.

I don’t want people just checking boxes; they should have opinions that they can back up on which box makes sense. In other words, understanding what is good or bad for the brand, which is a good platform to use or why and then turn that into a smart play.

If your brand has events or places that bring enthusiasts together, get out of the office and meet them in real life. Some of our best community influencers were a result of visiting them in their environment, shaking their hands and putting a face to the screen name.

How do Business owners know if their social media campaign is working?

It’s important to have a good analytics team that you trust. In social media, it’s less about selling widgets and more about getting consumers interested, wanting to spend time with you. If you approach social media this way, you’re looking at interactions, engagements and relationships, at how people are talking about your brand and how you can influence that. If you have good analytics minds that can pull these insights, it steers you away from the traditional metrics of ‘how many widgets did we sell because of this tweet?’

How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?

Over the next 5 years it’s going to get increasingly mobile, mobile and more mobile. Screen sizes are getting bigger, bandwidth is getting stronger and faster, processors and operating systems are getting better. Our phones, tablets, and wearables will be even more pervasive in our life. The ‘mobile web’ will be The Web over the next 5 years. I think social media will be more deeply tied into our online profiles so that they’re carrying with us wherever we go online. Now they need to start working better on mobile battery life!

If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?

Try different approaches and win as many times as you can. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t curse your failures but use them for learning. One of my mottos in social media, as well as in life, is that simple is better than complicated.

I always say keep a smart balance between depth and breadth. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket or on any one platform. Today’s Snapchat was yesterday’s Twitter so always be flexible when tomorrow’s news arrives and be smart about how to handle new playing fields.

Avoid joining platforms solely to be part of the noise, always have a purpose. These channels belong to the users so don’t risk ruining it for them. It’s best to think like a real user when trying to add value.

If you’re advising clients on spending the time, energy, resources and money on a platform, then be sure to have the correct method to evaluate it and a good plan to sustain it.

 

Manal Bouchacra

Manal is interested in social media and is working on her creative writing skills. Outside of work she enjoys the gym and hanging out with friends and family.

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