The Social Media Strategies Summit
in Chicago is weeks away, but Technorati recently sat down with one of the featured speakers
, Travis Wright, who bills himself as a "Public Speaker, Digital Disrupter, Marketing Provocateur, Stand Up Comedian, Tech Blogger and Brand Awesomeizer."
In his day job, Travis
is rocking social media for Norton, the technology security folks. In his spare time, he's taking on NFL teams and their lack of social media prowess.
In our Q&A with Travis, we cover these subjects and more...including his go to tools for social media, the future of the industry, how social engagement has changed over the years and other random stuff, including memes.
What do you do in your role at Symantec?
I'm the "Global Social Media Awesomeizer" on the Norton
Global Social Media team. I've been working with Norton for about a year as a consultant for the company. I've been working on every aspect of social media within the organization with Social media, SEO, eCommerce, the Norton.com team, PR, Brand Marketing, Marcom and the Optimization team. My tentacles are weaved throughout various areas of the organization and helping evangelize social media to help integrate it within products, projects and marketing more effectively. I also work with other brands.
You’re speaking at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago a few weeks. What do you hope attendees will learn from your session?
This particular session is on the "Do's and Don'ts of Twitter". I'll be sharing strategies, tips and tactics on how to acquire, engage and monetize your communities more effectively and how to avoid those social "bumps in the road" that can happen to brands.
How do you think social media engagement has changed since the early Twitter days?
In the early days of Twitter, it was mostly tech influencers and early adopters. It was great to connect with the brightest minds at that time and begin building relationships with those influencers. I followed as many of the brightest minds in tech and learned from them. The content they shared was fabulous. My Twitter stream was full of golden nuggets of awesomeness. Now, in 2013, the stream can be harder to manage with so many people sharing worthless tidbits of information and spamming links. You really need to manage your lists these days, as it helps you monitor more effectively.
What are some of the common mistakes brands make when engaging with their audiences through social media?
There are two types of content, educational content and promotional content. Educational content informs customers and compels them to share the information… and the "Sell Sell Sell… BUY BUY BUY" promotional product messaging. Newsflash, no one comes to social media to be SOLD to. You don't log into to Twitter looking for things to buy. So, as a brand, you want to "sell less" and educate and entertain more. Ask, "What's in it for the customer? Why would THEY want to read or share this information?"
You’re known as a bit of a comedian. How can brands use humor in their social media efforts to drive serious business?
I've done stand-up comedy on and off since 1995, and it helps me hone my presentations to make them more entertaining. I don't think that brands need to be comedians, but humor does make content more engaging and feel more real. It really depends on the brand voice. Humor may not be appropriate for some brands and industries. However, in my opinion, a bit of hilarity interjected into the brand messaging can help endear your customers to your brand. Everyone loves to be entertained and to laugh…and by interjecting a bit of personality customers may be more compelled to buy from you.
It’s been some time since the Kansas City Chiefs incident. What were the high level take-a-ways from that situation from a social media management standpoint?
I think it made sports teams realize the power of the fans. In the NFL, the teams make so much money from broadcast revenue sharing, close to 1/4 of a billion dollars a year. NFL teams could, in theory, have an empty stadium for every game and still be close to profitability. That's crazy. I've talked with 4 directors of interactive marketing for sports teams and they all were aware of the Chiefs incident, and they used it as a teaching moment for their digital and social media teams on what not to do. Brand managers are important. Community managers are important. Don't leave these key positions up to unpaid interns or inexperienced, emotional people. These people are the front face of your organization and they need to be trained on what to do, and what not to do. One bad message can have massive implications. That being said, the Chiefs and I are on a good ground now, since Save Our Chiefs
helped get the GM fired. I'm now a new Chiefs season ticket holder.
What are your go to social media tools, including software, tools, devices, etc.?
There are too many to mention. It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. I like to find compelling content to share with my audience, so you could use a tool like Percolate
to aggregate content for you and find stuff that your brand may want to share to your audience. I also use apps like Zite, Feedly, Pulse and Flipboard to keep an eye on compelling content to read and share, while on my mobile.
As far as social metrics, I love Unmetric
for gleaning competitive data on social channels. And my new favorite tool is Sysomos
. It's essentially the Library of Congress for every tweet, blog post, news article, video and forum post from the last 2+ years. It's sortable and exportable and with some processes that I've created, you can find everywhere that has mentioned any of your companies main keywords and sort them to find the most authoritative sites for guest posting or "Business Relationship Optimization
", BRO, as I call it.
Where’s social media, in your opinion, headed in terms of brands leveraging it as a marketing channel?
It's all about content now. Search engine optimization is the process of getting content ranked well in search engines… Social Media Optimization is the process of getting content shared and amplified. The key is content. Brands need to have a content creation ecosystem in place, or use an inbound marketing engine, like Full Quota
. If you don't have great content, you need to find someone to help you create relevant, shareable content immediately. Or you will lose marketshare to your competitors that are doing it well.