Monday, August 30, 2010

Meet Our Summer Intern!

Meet our Summer Intern!

Hi, I'm Lauren Pereny and i'm visiting from Michigan to stay with my aunt, Francine. I'm 15, 16 in October, and in the fall will be a junior at Lamphere High School. I'm interning here at WAG for three weeks, and I'm really excited to get going. Being new to the working world, I'm anxious to learn a lot on how businesses work. This is my first job-like experience, but I definitely know what it is liked to be coached. I'm on the varsity dance and track and field teams at my high school. I also have participated in two school musicals and was the student director for the fall play. I belong to the drama club, and also something called Interact, where we do community service projects such as caroling for senior citizens or fundraising to donate money to a worthy cause. This year, I was also given the opportunity to become a Link Leader. We coach the upcoming freshman and welcome them into our school, giving them a helping hand along the way.

I have a love of traveling and learning about new cultures. I'm a big fan of history and the arts. Music is a huge part of my life and I could literally live at concerts, I enjoy them so much. I'm a big fan of photography and I love to be inspired. So everyone should get ready to put up with me for the next couple weeks, because I'm raring to go.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Social Media Q&A

Social Media Q & A with Justin Noland, WAG's Social Media Manager:

We know you have some questions so, let’s take a moment and get to know the person that is ready to take your brand’s social media presence to the next level.

FP: When did you start in social media?

JN: Personally speaking, I started being active in social media five years ago with the breakout of MySpace. I was also quickly entranced with the blogging world as I saw well written and current information about topics that mattered to me.

Professionally, I became interested in what this age of new media opportunities would mean to the marketing profession about two years ago. I entered UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business specifically because of their progressive stance in the education of Marketing MBA candidates. The opportunity to learn from the innovators and build my understanding based on the forward thinking of the faculty was too great to pass up.

FP: What is social media?

JN: Social Media is a term that describes a variety of new mass media outlets, but it’s more than that. It is the building of relationships, the conversations between people and a different type of outlet for new information and content. From a business standpoint, it represents a new way to engage your target consumers in a meaningful and impactful way.

FP: What is a social media campaign?

JN: A social media campaign starts with the development of a message and a voice for your brand. The brand takes that message, reaches out to the target consumer and delivers it in a creative and relevant method, while giving the consumer some level of incentive to pass the message along to their friends creating viral growth. The incentive here does not always have to be a coupon or a prize, but could be a simply a form of entertainment, a laugh, or just quality information.

FP: How do you monitor social media for a client?

JN: Great question, there are a variety of ways to monitor social media and new products are continually being developed in order to gain better insight from a marketing standpoint. Right now, I’d have to say that my favorite tool is Brandwatch. It is a cost option, but I feel it provides the right tools needed for a brand to really understand what is being said out. Specialty tools within Brandwatch also help you keep tabs on a particular campaign and can even help you understand what your competitors are doing. So far, Brandwatch is the most comprehensive way to monitor your brand on social media.

FP: How do you measure ROI?

JN: I’d love to take credit for this answer, but I can’t. My answer to this question comes straight from Olivier Blanchard who writes “The Brand Builder” Blog. If you haven’t read his blog, I would encourage you to and to watch his video presentation on social media ROI. It is not only informative, but will help you when deciding on which agency to hire to assist you in your social media ventures.

Measuring ROI in social media is pretty much the same as measuring it in traditional marketing. The bottom line question is “what did I get for what I spent?” If you have developed your campaign the right way, by setting clear goals and setting a baseline for analytic measurement, then simply take the metrics from your monitoring tools (I’m a fan of Omniture, but Google Analytics is helpful too) and see how they correlate to higher sales, better customer retention, or whatever your primary markers for success are.

Then we look for trends. Is traffic up in-store after posting on Facebook? What about Twitter? Does a higher sentiment analysis on Twitter lead to a larger basket size or more trips? Finding trends and tracking them back to their point of origin is the key to measuring ROI.

FP: How do you build an audience?

JN: This really depends on the campaign and what our goals are, but for most campaigns it simply comes down to engaging the consumer with relevant information. Just by joining the conversation and providing the consumer an incentive to listen, your audience will grow.

However, depending on the type of campaign, using Facebook ads or banner ads on the right kind of blog can certainly help build awareness of the campaign.

FP: Do you offer a guarantee?

JN: Yes and no, I always guarantee that I will work hard for my clients and represent them is the best way possible. I guarantee that I will give sound social media advice and always be open to the conversation that’s out there. I am not the guy that is going to guarantee a higher SEO or a certain number of fans because that just isn’t the best approach to social media. Plus, marketing is only one step in the brand equation and a multitude of other factors affect consumer behavior.

FP: How does social media impact SEO?

JN: SEO in its most simplistic form is about generating a higher number of links to the page or site that you want to promote. So, a simple answer is that social media will help generate more links. It’s more complex than that though. Social Media helps build relationships with your consumer base. The more loyal your consumer is, the more likely they are to want to pass along your information. That is what generates links.

FP: Outside of school, how do learn more about social media?

JN: By keeping my eyes open and reading plenty of blogs. Social Media is constantly changing. Understanding these changes and their effects is necessary to be best prepared for the future. Just be open minded and objective. Will this tool help? If the answer is yes, you need to learn more.

FP: What are your thoughts on developing a brand’s voice on social media?

JN: I am of the school of thought that having an anonymous “brand voice” is not the way to go in social media. Social participation works best when done by an individual, real or not. Many companies operate their Facebook page or Twitter account anonymously without identifying the person actually responding to customer inquiries and comments. This detracts from the effectiveness of the effort.

So the question is less about what my brand’s voice should be, but what the individual should sound like. They are the brand ambassador and should reflect the brands goals, passions and interests, while remaining personable and interesting. However, the voice depends more on the target audience that you are engaging with then it does the brand itself. Who are you talking to? What do they expect from your brand? What are their goals in life? Listen, understand and engage.

Have more questions? Email Justin yourself at

Francine Pinoni

WAG Partner