10 Ways to Prepare for Your Social Media Manager Interview

August 10, 2013

How to prepare for your social media manager interview

Introduction

Social Media Manager has become a rather popular position lately. Whether it’s a dedicated or partial position, the function exists within most organizations.

Enterprises, non-profits, small businesses and associations understand the benefits of maintaining social media channels to generate awareness, engage with prospects and interact with customers and partners.

A Friend’s Interview

Recently, a friend of mine was preparing to interview for a Social Media Manager position. He was looking to transition into that position from a related role and asked me for advice on how to prepare for the interview.

Here are ten tips on how to prepare: they’re meant for people who haven’t done the job before.

1) Clean up your social media profiles.

It's important to manage your privacy settings on Facebook

Pictured: privacy settings options on Facebook.

I can guarantee you that your social media presence will be a key consideration for this position. Your prospective employer will look you up on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (in that order).

Congratulations on passing the “sniff test” – you scored an interview.

That being said, between now and the interview, clean up and optimize your profiles. Professional-oriented sites like LinkedIn are a given; also be careful to review the “Who can see my stuff?” settings on Facebook and un-tag yourself from photos that you wouldn’t want your mom to see.

2) Find and discover the organization’s “brand voice.”

Every organization has a “brand,” which means that every organization has a brand voice. In other words, do some research on your potential employer.

Check their website for a listing of their mission statement or core values (example: the core values of Zappos).

Understand what’s important to the organization, along with their vision for the future. Then, subtly reference some of the information you learned during your interview. When you get the job, you’ll need to tweet, post and pin with the brand voice.

3) Practice being the organization’s Press Secretary.

Jay Carney (photo via Wikipedia)

Photo of Jay Carney via Wikipedia.

Jay Carney is President Obama’s Press Secretary. Like all presidential press secretaries, Carney has a challenging job. He needs to stand up in front of the White House Press Corps and answer questions.

Sometimes he’ll be thrown “softballs,” while other times, he’ll need to address pointed and difficult questions. Carney needs to answer the questions in the “brand voice” of the Oval Office. As a Social Media Manager, your followers on Twitter (for example) are the press corps and you’re the press secretary. So watch a few White House news briefings and see how Carney handles questions.

4) Immerse yourself in the role.

Plan a number of 30-45 sessions during which you observe brands in action (on social media). “Like” some brands on Facebook, both in the target industry and a few outside of that. See how they’re crafting their status updates on Facebook.

Then, venture over to Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and other social networks and observe how brands are using those channels. Pay particular attention to how those brands engage with their audience. You get bonus points for tracking a single brand across channels and figuring out how they uniquely use each one.

5) Be prepared to define ROI.

It’s great that you’re proficient at tweeting, posting and tagging. It’s even better when you can do it in the brand’s voice. Some organizations will want you to take it to the next step and measure the Return on Investment (ROI) of social media.

So do some research on ROI models (for social media) and be prepared to talk through some of them. Then, turn the question around and ask about the organization’s goals with social media. Suggest particular social media metrics that can be assembled to tie back to those goals. The key point: the definition of social media ROI should be unique to each organization.

6) Do research on social media advertising.

Twitter's Promoted Tweets set-up

Pictured: some of the targeting options available in Twitter’s Promoted Tweets.

There are lots of options for spending money to augment your reach on social media: Promoted Tweets, Boosted Posts (Facebook), Sponsored Updates (LinkedIn), etc.

Do some research on how these work: how are they priced, what are the benefits, how can you measure, etc. If your prospective employer is not yet using these tools, you can score bonus points by planting the seed (with your knowledge).

7) Consider celebrating your outsider status.

Let’s say you’ve never worked in the industry of your prospective employer. Especially for social media marketing positions, employers are starting to look past the “industry experience” pre-requisite.

If the topic comes up during the interview, be prepared with a way to celebrate you outsider status. You may bring a new perspective to the organization’s approach to social media and be able to communicate in a fresh, new way (while maintaining the brand voice).

8) Research agency relationships.

While this may only apply to larger organizations, do some research to see if your prospective employer uses agencies in its social media: PR firms, design firms, interactive agencies, etc. A good place to check is the “Press Release” or “News” pages on their website. Having this information in your back pocket keeps you better informed going into the interview.

9) Think up a creative idea or two.

Do NOT tell your prospective employer what they’re doing wrong on social media. However, it’s fine to observe what they’re doing and think up new and creative ways to do the same thing. Sort of like this: “I noticed you’re doing <this>, have you considered doing <that>?”

10) Research past campaigns and contests.

Take a look at past social media campaigns and contests run by your prospective employer. Understand what they were looking to achieve and how it was received by participants. You’ll have a role in campaigns and contests going forward, so speaking knowledgeably about them during the interview puts you ahead of the pack.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember the “larger calling” of your role. It may be neat to tell friends that you get paid to tweet, post and pin, but it’s all in the context of the organization’s goals.

The social networks are the tools that you use to help achieve those goals. Portray that message during your interview: your excitement about the opportunity is less around social media and more about leveraging social media to advance the organization’s cause.


A New Way to Follow Up with Attendees after Events

July 6, 2013

The New Way

Photo credit: Flickr user bernatcg via photopin cc

Introduction

Recently, I attended a virtual event. The event had a large number of sessions and virtual booths (exhibitors). Due to a number of meetings I had scheduled that day, I couldn’t stay too long. I attended one session and visited a few booths to see what was going on.

The Current Way

A day after the event, I received an email from the event organizer. They thanked me for attending and invited me to log back in to view all of the sessions on-demand. So far, so good.

And then it started. Over the next two weeks, I received emails from exhibitor after exhibitor. I recalled visiting some of the exhibitors’ booths. For others emailing me, I had no idea they were even part of the show.

The New Way

I don’t like the current way. It results in too many emails, most of which aren’t relevant to me. So here’s the new way.

Warning: this takes extra work on the part of the event organizer. But in the end, I think everyone wins.

1) An exhibitor can only email an attendee when the attendee requests it, on the event website.

2) All post-event emails come from the event organizer (only).

3) The event organizer becomes an Editor of sorts, assembling emails that pair vendor-neutral content (the on-demand sessions) adjacent to vendor information (product listings that relate to a session).

4) Continuing the Editor role, the event organizer builds sections of the event website (or, the virtual event environment itself) segmented by “solution type.” As attendees view on-demand sessions, they’re able to view lists of vendors within each solution type.

5) In this way, it’s the event organizer who’s helping move attendees along the sales cycle!

Benefits of The New Way

More Credible Emails

In The New Way, the emails come from a credible source. I attended the event, so I’m likely to consider the event organizer credible. An exhibitor I never heard of that’s decided to start emailing me? Not so credible.

Better Email Management

We receive far too much email

Photo credit: Flickr user deltaMike via photopin cc

The New Way results in far less emails. By centralizing the sending from a single source, attendees have one opt-out to manage, rather than 5, 10 or 15 opt-outs from all the exhibitors. With a single opt-out, the stakes are also raised for the event organizer.

More Effective Emails

Today’s approach (from exhibitors) amounts to a shot in the dark. The recipe for the email is:

You attended event X. I sell a product, Y that has some relation to X. Want to buy?

With The New Way, the emails focus on the content of the event and attendees are invited to self-select their follow-up paths. They do so based on the sessions they view, the pages they visit and the requests they submit for more information.

More Qualified Leads

The New Way can invert the process: instead of exhibitors pursuing attendees, the attendees can be the ones asking for appointments with the exhibitors. It’s the job of the event organizer to facilitate this match-making: NOT to simply hand over lists of email addresses to exhibitors.

For bonus points: event organizers can create multiple “email tracks” (by topic) and invite attendees to select the track(s) most relevant to them. Combine this with email analytics and marketing automation to tailor subsequent content down to an individual basis.

Conclusion

It’s up to you, event organizers. By adopting The New Way, you can make your attendees much happier. And if done right, you can enable your exhibitors to achieve higher ROI than they’re getting today. Let’s leave the shot in the dark emails to those selling snake oil.


Why Big Data is The Future for Virtual Event Platforms

May 18, 2013

The future for virtual event platforms

Image source: User gwire on flickr.

Introduction

Previously, I wrote about the future of face-to-face events. The future of events lies in technology that creates business intelligence from event data. Events create a massive amount of data (trees) and technology should enable event planners and sponsors to “see the forest from the trees.”

Virtual/hybrid event platforms can play an important role in this future. These platforms are a primary driver of “event data.” The future for virtual event platforms is to pair the data they generate with third party data sources to generate comprehensive event intelligence.

Let’s consider reasons why Big Data is the future for virtual event platforms.

Data is no longer in one place.

Data is no longer in one place

Image source: Horia Varlan on flickr.

In the early days, data generated by the virtual event platform was the one and only source of event data. Along came social media and attendees began to tweet, post and pin their way around (and often outside) the event experience.

Throw in hybrid events (which have a corresponding face-to-face event) and you have another universe of data being created “on site” (check ins, user-generated video, badge scans, etc.).  The reality is that event data, even for virtual events, is widely dispersed. To drive true event intelligence, “someone” needs to coalesce that data and make sense of it. For me, the virtual event platform should be that “someone.”

The ever-elusive “ROI” can be defined up front.

Virtual event planners still struggle to answer the question, “how are you measuring [and proving] ROI for your virtual event?” One reason is that the planner doesn’t quite know how to measure ROI. The other reason is that tools aren’t readily available to do so. By working with Big Data, virtual event platform providers (and the event planners) can define the ROI model when the deal is sold.

I imagine the platforms providing both standard and custom “ROI packages.” Standard packages could be “sentiment” (for internal, HR events) or “retention” (for training events). Using “pre” and “post” data, planners can now make statements such as, “our virtual town hall meeting drove a 45% increase in employee satisfaction.”

When you define, measure and prove ROI, it’s more likely that this year’s virtual/hybrid event will happen again next year (and the year after that).

The core technology already exists.

The foundation for the future is already in place: virtual/hybrid event platforms create online experiences, store data, process data and present/render data. The missing piece (and yes, it’s a big one) is the ability to integrate (import) third party data coming from social media, the broader web and face-to-face event systems.

The strategic value is in the data.

The value is in the data

Image source: User andertoons on flickr.

Content and user experience will always be critical to the success of an event. You need the right content and user experience to drive engagement, after all. After the event is over, the strategic value you take from it is found in the data.

Attendees will remember the content and user experience. Business owners will remember the data. Why do virtual event platforms need to work with (and make sense of) data outside their own platform? Because it paints the whole picture. And because true ROI cannot be delivered without it.

Conclusion

There’s a technology company called Splunk that “turns machine data into valuable insights no matter what business you’re in.” (source: Splunk web site). Splunk is a publicly traded company with a market cap well over $4B. There’s value in data. Virtual event platforms can be the “Splunk for event data.”


My Grown-Up Christmas List for Digital Events

December 19, 2011

Introduction

Driving in the car during the holiday season, I love it when Amy Grant’s “Grown-Up Christmas List” comes on the radio. Here’s what Ms. Grant wishes for in her song:

“No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end.”

Sounds about right to me. Now, I’d like to provide a list of my own. It’s certainly not as noble as Ms. Grant’s list. Mine is a grown-up Christmas list for digital events.

A User Experience That’s More Whole

Ms. Grant sings, “no more lives torn apart.” My corresponding lyric would be “no more user experiences torn apart (by new browser windows).” Think of it this way: the more browser instances you see “popping up” in a digital event, the less cohesive the user experience. We need to deliver better and more integrated experiences. How often does Facebook launch a new browser window? Never.

A Consistent User Experience Across Platforms

Ms. Grant hopes “that wars would never start.” Well, we’ll always have “platform wars” (e.g. iOS vs. Android). And as digital event platforms “widen” to meet a growing array of platforms, my wish is that the user experience remains consistent across all of them. My iPhone and Android experiences ought to be the same. And to the extent possible, my iPhone experience should resemble what I see on the desktop. Is that HTML5 I see under the tree?

Driving Adoption by Meeting Expectations

Ms. Grant hopes that “time would heal all hearts.” Digital events have their share of naysayers, who are not convinced on the “return on investment” (ROI). For these naysayers, my wish is that “baby steps” are taken in 2012. Throw ROI out the window for now. Make a small bet and see if digital events (at a small scale) generate a Return On Expectations (ROE). The healing process here is about finding ROE first, then delivering on the ROI as you progressively scale up your bets.

More Discovery and Connecting of People

Ms. Grant hopes that “everyone would have a friend.” Most of us login to a digital event with no pre-existing friends (at that same event). My wish is that digital event platforms prove more effective in helping us discover and find new “connections” (people) as a “side effect” of attending the event. We need to reproduce the serendipity of meeting others at face-to-face events, online.

More Focus on the Attendee Experience

While Ms. Grant sings, “and right would always win,” I shout, “the attendee must always win.” My wish is that digital event planners always put the attendee first – they come before the speakers and the sponsors. Deliver them what they want and need – and you will always win. And they will, too.

Keeping the Lights On (Event Communities)

Ms. Grant sings, “and love would never end,” while I sing, “events don’t need to end.” With digital events, there are no walls to tear down and no stands to ship back to your vendor. Why, then, do so many digital event planners “abandon” the digital event once the schedule of sessions has concluded? Digital events can and should sustain “365 communities.” Attendees stay engaged with one another until the next scheduled activity (when they continue to engage, of course).

Conclusion

Thanks, Amy Grant, for the wonderful song. My hope is that your wish list comes true for all of us. Secondarily, let’s see if my digital event wish list comes true in 2012.

To all of you out there, thanks for reading. And, Happy Holidays.


Live Webcast: How Smart Marketers Succeed with Virtual Trade Shows

October 26, 2010

“Now, more than ever, B2B marketers are sponsoring virtual trade shows because they are cheaper and can attract larger audiences than live, in-person events.  Next year and beyond, B2B marketers will be able to choose from 100s of virtual trade shows. In other words, what was once considered a gimmick is now a part of the B2B marketing mix.  But just signing up as a sponsor doesn’t guarantee success — a proper plan and execution does.”

That’s the lead-in to a Live Webcast that I’ll be doing with Craig Rosenberg (@funnelholic) and FOCUS  (@FOCUS).  Register to view the Webcast on-demand:

http://www.focus.com/webcasts/marketing/fad-roi-how-smart-marketers-succeed-with-virtual-trade-shows/

View the slides:


What I’ve Been Tweeting (Edition 1.1)

August 2, 2010

Because tweets are temporal, while blog postings are permalinked…

Virtual Events

  1. Virtual Meetings and Exhibits Still Coming of Age: http://bit.ly/aFZF3B #eventprofs #virtualevents
  2. RT @CiscoIBSG: Can Virtual Experts Smooth Expat Transition? How P&G Is Successfully Using Cisco #TelePresence: http://bit.ly/afrmsS
  3. From @CiscoLive & @dveale: embed event video across the web, drive new registrations! http://bit.ly/9CWvxC #eventprofs
  4. Event Planners ‘Check In’ To Location Based Services: http://bit.ly/cFMH9A #eventprofs #wec10
  5. Getting started with #virtualevents? Download my eBook, “Virtual Events: Ready, Set, Go”: http://bit.ly/asJqFs #eventprofs
  6. RT @InXpo: We’re excited: “Latest Cisco Offering: ‘Collaboration for Events’ features INXPO Virtual Platform”: http://bit.ly/apKOH6
  7. Virtual Events ROI Case Study: @virtualedge Hybrid Event: http://bit.ly/cRJt2b #eventprofs #virtualevents #ROI

Social Media

  1. RT @clickz It’s All Fun and Games for Brand Marketers: http://bit.ly/aV8H3r (by @tessawegert)
  2. Twitter time-savers by @markwschaefer: Success in just 20 minutes a day: http://bit.ly/9aHoiu via @addthis
  3. RT @mashable How Twitter in the Classroom is Boosting Student Engagement: http://bit.ly/bmgxpw #classroom #education
  4. From @MarketingSherpa: #Webinar Promotion that Delivers: Use Email, Social, Viral Referrals and Video: http://bit.ly/ddDbhY
  5. 5 tips for lively Twitter chats: http://bit.ly/dqjQlL via @addthis – great article, @leeodden
  6. RT @mashable SCVNGR Launches Sophisticated Rewards Program http://bit.ly/bEQz5l #foursquare #marketing #rewards

Product Ideas

  1. Idea for @LinkedIn: ability to add “Notes” to a Connection (e.g. “Met at SXSW”, “Ask for recommendation”, etc.)
  2. Idea for MLB: for fans’ favorite players, send mobile alerts for “check ins” from home plate, 1B, 2B, 3B
  3. Next move for Facebook: embedding “Like” capability into rich media (e.g. video, audio). Let me “Like” a song from my iPod
  4. Idea for @Facebook: use Facebook Questions (itself) to address users’ questions about the new service
  5. Idea: integrate a brand’s CRM w/their Facebook Fan page – brand mgr sees user’s likes and comments superimposed w/their CRM records
  6. Idea for Google: when search results contain an address, embed Maps functionality, so I can see driving directions right there

General

  1. Good quote from Ask.com: “Google is a verb. But don’t forget that ‘ask’ is a verb too”
  2. Excited to be working for one of Lead411’s hottest companies in the Midwest (@INXPO): http://bit.ly/b2g1Ox – we’re also hot on West Coast!
  3. Physicians confirm we’re alive by checking our pulse. Bloggers, check the ‘pulse’ of your own blog – is there a constant, steady beat?
  4. Event and meeting planners have so many tools at their disposal these days that they’ll need to start wearing Craftsman belts
  5. ESPN and Playdom now under the same parent company (Disney). Wondering (and excited) about possible tie-ups…
  6. Interesting POV from @kimmaicutler: “Why the Facebook/Amazon integration is bigger than you think”: http://bit.ly/bVwz5J

Previously, I posted “What I’ve Been Tweeting” Edition 1.0.

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ROI Case Study: Virtual Edge Institute’s Hybrid Event

July 28, 2010

Introduction

Virtual events have enjoyed phenomenal growth in demand and visibility.  Notable brands and associations have hopped aboard the virtual bandwagon, delivering innovative experiences and impactful results.  The first phase of the virtual event industry is what I call the “early dating period”.  As the industry evolves and matures, we are moving from early dating to an era of “meet the parents”.

That is, a phase in which we receive increased visibility and a challenge to prove and justify ourselves.  The parents, in our case, are the company executives who fund our virtual event campaigns (e.g. our bosses, our CFO, CMO, CEO, etc.).  To date, virtual events used for lead generation have been the most effective at demonstrating ROI.

Why? Because lead generation has existing methodologies and metrics on ROI (e.g. “cost per lead”, “cost per inquiry”, “cost per sales engagement”, etc.).  So a virtual trade show investment could simply “plug into” a corporation’s existing ROI methodology.  For other event types, however, ROI, impact and effectiveness have not been explicitly measured to date.

To evolve our industry, it’s crucial that event planners, platform vendors and ROI experts work together to define and implement methodologies to generate quantitative results for our virtual and hybrid event investments.

Michael Doyle of the Virtual Edge Institute (@virtualedge) is a firm believer in event ROI measurement.  The Virtual Edge Institute is “an international organization dedicated to advancing the development and adoption of virtual event and meeting technology and best practices for collaboration and marketing”.  Doyle hosts the Virtual Edge Summit, an annual hybrid event that brings together virtual event practitioners, experts and solutions providers.

For the 2010 Virtual Edge Summit in Santa Clara, CA, Doyle partnered with ROI of Engagement to measure the impact and effectiveness of the event.  The summit was a hybrid event, with on-site and virtual components running simultaneously.  As such, Doyle sought to study and measure feedback from each attendee group.

The study was based on ROI Methodology™, which ROI of Engagement describes as “a step-by-step approach to collecting data, summarizing and processing data, isolating the effects of programs, converting data to monetary value and calculating ROI”.  The methodology studies results along the following five levels:

  1. Level One: Reaction and Satisfaction
  2. Level Two: Learning and Understanding
  3. Level Three: Application
  4. Level Four: Impact
  5. Level Five: ROI

Virtual Edge Summit 2010 measured the first two levels.  The results of the study have been published here:

http://www.virtualedge.org/forum/topics/measuring-and-maximizing-the

On this page, you can download the White Paper, “Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of a Hybrid Event“.

Virtual Edge Summit 2011 is scheduled for January 2011 in Las Vegas and will be co-located with PCMA.  Doyle plans to apply valuable feedback from the 2010 ROI study to improve the experience for the 2011 event.

Doyle is focusing on consolidating the virtual component on a single platform (in 2010, there were several virtual platforms to choose from) and increasing networking opportunities for both on-site and virtual attendees.

In addition, the 2011 event will embark upon another ROI study – this time, the study will take advantage of all five levels in the ROI Methodology™.

Conclusion

It’s a great time to be in the events industry.  Never before has there been so many technology tools at your disposal (e.g. virtual event platforms and much more).  For continued growth in virtual and hybrid events, the industry will need thorough and proven ROI methodologies to demonstrate and quantify ROI, impact and effectiveness.  Event planners: look to the initiative from Virtual Edge Institute and ROI of Engagement and consider how similar methodologies apply to your next event.

international organization dedicated to advancing the development and adoption of virtual event and meeting technology and best practices for collaboration and marketing

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