Frederic Mailloux is a Senior Social Media Consultant and a former Social Media Director at TC Media. He is here to share few secrets of the ever-changing social media space. Let’s get it started then!
Frederic, let’s go straight to the point – social media return on investment. Can you give us an example of a social media campaign that is beautifully linked to ROI and how to get it started?
When I arrived at TC Media (we had 125 papers running all across Eastern Canada), around 30% of our website’s traffic was coming from social media, which was clearly not enough. We get our digital revenues per page views, and social media was underutilized. So the first thing we did (the data team and myself) was to look at the numbers, both on GA and Social analytics. With that in hand, we then analyzed the content that was published and how much it was performing. From that, it was just a matter of finding the voice and tone of the brand(s), and how every journalist should be using social from then on. I’ve come up with a deck and presentation on how social affects your PV numbers, and how using social in a better manner would mean more eyeballs on stories the journalists were working hard for. After one year, social traffic had almost doubled, representing around 55% of page views source. All because we organized how employees should use social media and gave them very few specifics guidelines so that their job would be easier.
All that made it easy for the social team to calculate how much revenue we could expect from a single follower in a given timeframe. This number helped tremendously to target our acquisition cost (yes, we did some paid acquisition campaigns in markets we reached less of the population than we were happy with) and forecast how much time it would take to make ROI on these as well.
Can you share a proven method of retaining follower base and the way of measuring the retention rate?
Let’s be honest: you will lose followers along the way. Maybe because they are not as attracted to your brand anymore, maybe they’ve had a bad customer experience, maybe the content you publish is not relevant to them…It happens. And brands shouldn’t be concerned as long as they GAIN more followers than they lose.
So the best method to retain – and gain – followers: get to know them. Find out who they are what they like, why they are attracted to your brand on social media, what type of content makes them engage with your brand. You might find some insight on your social audience that rubs you the wrong way (why don’t they like my super duper promotional posts!) but you’ll get a better grasp of what to do with your social channels. Most social media analytics or social media tools have the information needed for measuring retention rate. Explore the native analytics, get familiar with it: there’s a wealth of insight there.
What are the biggest challenges in a social media manager’s job and the way to overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges is how brands and companies view and utilize social media, and what they expect it to be for their bottom line. Social Media Marketing is SOCIAL first, media second and marketing third. Social is not just another marketing channel. It’s the only way people can interact directly, in real time, with their favorite brands. As a social media manager, you got to think about the relationship between the brand and the audience. You’ve got put the audience in the middle of all your initiatives. You must be able to answer “What’s in it for them?” to every piece of content you publish, every campaign you put out there. In a nutshell: SELLING SELLING SELLING = bad. Engaging, conversing, creating a relationship = good.
There is another hurdle: getting people to understand that in social media, they are not going against their “real world” competitor. Brands on social media are challenged by each and every bit of content that people put out: hockey scores, Minion quotes, vacation pictures, Memes, cat videos…
They say that failures make us stronger. Can you give us an example of one of your failures, experienced during your career in social media? What did you learn from it?
Kelly Farrell has almost a decade of professional experience in social media, educating companies to see the value in social media programs and understand the conversations surrounding their brand. She is here today to share her strategic approach to social media.
Kelly, you worked as a team leader with a global team to create and deliver strategic webinars and workshops. I believe that in this fast-changing and competitive market you learned a lot about a result-oriented approach. Can you give us an example of campaign/social media activity that was beautifully linked to ROI?
Great starter question! One of my personal faves would have to be when The Daily Show did hidden videos when Jon Stewart announced his departure last year. Comedy Central created this campaign to create buzz for the new host, Trevor Noah, by utilizing Google ads and YouTube videos. What followed was a reported 38 million impressions, almost 3 million views, and even a Webby Award for Best Use of Data Driven Media. It was so fun to follow on social and uncover all the Easter eggs along the way – fantastic way to keep fans engaged and intrigued by the new host, loved it!
Can you share a proven method of retaining follower base and the way of measuring the retention rate?
That’s tough to narrow down to just one method to be honest! But if you’re particularly focused on seeing results and measuring retention, I would suggest outright asking your audience what they like. It seems so obvious, but a lot of companies want to avoid looking naïve on social, when actually, the audience will appreciate the chance to participate in the content they see and feel more connected to the brand. And most social networks make it easy to incorporate now too with the addition of polls. Asking their opinion ensures your content will hit the mark, and you can measure the results instantly through the poll answers, or in the native analytics of the network. When you start to see an increase in followers, you know you’re making an impact. If you start to see a drop off, take a deeper look at what content was posted when you see the biggest decline so you can revise your content strategy.
What is the biggest challenge in a social media manager’s job and the way to overcome it?
I would probably say resources. Depending on the role and the company, many social media managers find themselves overwhelmed if they have to take on the role of leader and executor. This is where managing your resources really comes in handy, and I would advise anyone in this position to consider the following:
- What is the current state of your social media presence? Are you stretching yourself too thin right now, focusing on a lot of social networks rather than honing in on a few key ones to do really well?
- Get organized! Nowadays there are so many ways to make your time more efficient by utilizing templates for editorial or content calendars, software to auto schedule and manage feeds, etc. It takes time to build out a process that works for you initially, but you’ll cut your time sourcing and managing content in half.
- If you’re set on getting more resources, whether its budget or people, everything you do needs to be visible and tie back to ROI. For example, if you get advertising spend, be sure to report back on how many more impressions and clicks you got as a result.
They say that failures make us stronger. Would you be so kind and give us an example of one of your failures, experienced during your career in social media. What did you learn from it?
I can recall a campaign I did back in the day when I was marketing in the music industry. One of the bands I supported was going to go on tour to support the 10 year anniversary of their most beloved album. During this tour they would play that album in its entirety live. So when it came time to put together a plan for online advertising, we made the mistake of only targeting older fans who supported the album when it was first released, trying to re-engage them and their love for the band. But when we looked at ticket sales, we saw that majority of those purchased were in fact from the newer and younger fans! It turns out they were more excited for that tour because they had missed out originally and were die-hards for the classic album. Though the tour was still successful, we couldn’t help but wonder how many fans we alienated by not broadening our reach in online advertising. All that to say, my key takeaway was to really understand the data and who your audience is on social – don’t just go by who you think the audience is. Experiment with A/B testing and pay attention to who’s clicking!
How do you define the success of a non-quantitative social media activity?
For me, this is where storytelling really comes in because qualitative metrics are all about shifting sentiment. While quantitative metrics are great, at times they lack the context needed to truly evaluate the success of your efforts. For example, if you’re just focused on the number of comments you receive on a post, you could deem it successful due to high volume. But without the sentiment, you’re overlooking if those comments were primarily positive or negative, which puts a completely different lens on it.
Any golden tip on achieving a consistent analytical approach?
I would say that no matter where you are getting your analytics from, the most important thing is to be consistent in the beginning so you can actually benchmark your success. Set targets for a quarter for example, and keep the same ones for each campaign you develop. Then once you achieve those targets, revisit your goals and define new analytical targets. Too often businesses create the content and report back on what metrics they achieved, but if you ask me, that’s putting the cart before the horse. You need to know what you want to achieve before you can establish how to get there.
What is the one social media metric you would die to measure, but no one out there came up with a solution yet?
That’s a tough one! I think the biggest challenge for any social platform currently is accuracy with the qualitative metrics, such as sentiment. They’ve come a long way, but it’s so difficult for systems to pick up on context, even outside of social media. But because it’s considered a metric in social media, there’s much more demand for systems to evolve and understand context in this field.
Are you using any social media management tools you cannot live without?
Oh gosh, the industry has come such a long way in the past 5 or 6 years and developers are really stepping up their games… competition is intense now! I think rather than name any ones in particular, I will focus on features and say that personally, my “tool” is my phone. These days it’s all about making content that is mobile-friendly, accessible on-the-go, and secure. I’m big on experimenting with apps on my devices, whether it’s for publishing, following news, or analytics, I LOVE trying out new ones that have a nice, clean interface with intuitive features.
Can you share with us your process of coming up with a social media strategy? What is the most difficult phase of a strategy?
Fletcher Helle is a Social Media Specialist with over 5 years of experience. He dipped his toes in Community Management, Customer Service, Social Media Policy Creation, Video Production, Facebook and YouTube Analytics, and Process Improvement. He is here to share few secrets of the ever-changing social media marketing space. Without further ado, let’s dive into his world and see where he is going to take us.
Fletcher, you worked closely with the marketing teams to create brand approved content to drive sales and increase conversions. Sales and conversions are all about hard numbers and the numbers are often times a true Achilles heel for social media managers. Can you inspire them by giving an example of a campaign that was linked to ROI (Return on Investment) and did well?
The gap between a social media strategy and strong ROI isn’t as wide as it once was. The rise of high-quality tracking tools means I can follow someone from social channel to eCommerce solution to confirmed order. I’ve run a ton of ads that I reported with basically that same formula. We spent X, which generated Y traffic, and the average conversion rate was Z, but I don’t think that’s the most beautifully linked campaign I’ve run. I recently finished up a longer-term cosmetics campaign using really focused Facebook targeting on building an email list. The success of the resulting list has been staggering, we’re talking twice as many conversions as any list they ever bought. The way I see it all the revenue that email list is generating is the result of social media.
Can you share a proven method of retaining follower base and the way of measuring the retention rate?
You want the recipe for the secret sauce?! The best I can do is some of the ingredients. On all my communities I closely monitor attrition, how many people are unliking/unfollowing every day. I like to establish a baseline using historical data, and measure my success off that. If my attrition goes up, I know I’m not communicating well with the audience (unless the brand wants a big shake up in voice, you can expect attrition to go up then). It’s all about offering value to your fans. Their timeline/feed is a personal space for them, you don’t go to someone’s house and talk only about yourself. That’s a great way not to be invited back. Engage and offer value and you’ll get invited back all the time.
What is the biggest challenge in a social media manager’s job and the way to overcome it?
“We want you to make a viral video.” I get that, or a variation of it, quite a bit. All brands really want to be the next thing people are talking about but very few of them are willing to take the risks required to make it happen. I use the squatty potty video to help stakeholders understand. That video went viral because it’s a unicorn pooping ice cream. No one expects that. People know how seriously brands take themselves if you want something to go viral you can improve your chances by loosening the reigns a bit and getting weird.
They say that failures make us stronger. Could you give us an example of one of your failures, experienced during your career in social media? What did you learn from it?
I had just started managing social media for a major snack brand and the results were pretty great. Engagement had tripled, reach was through the roof, sentiment was overwhelmingly positive, and I think I got into this mindset where I thought I was invincible so I said, “Hey, everything is going so great we should take this to Reddit!” Which is the social media equivalent of starting a land war with Russia in the middle of winter. I pitched engaging with the international snack exchange subreddit, a place where people can post regional snacks and trade them with other people for snacks around the world. I think two people signed up and the whole thing just cratered. I learned that if you’re taking something to Reddit you need to be really buttoned up and offering a significant incentive. “We’re making our product available for exchange.” Isn’t going to cut it.
How do you define the success of a non-quantitative social media activity?
By how good the story is. I know that’s a pretty wishy-washy thing to say but I don’t think there’s anything quite like a good story. Early on with my aforementioned snack food client I had an amazing community interaction with a video game streamer. A guy with over 200,000 followers. It ended with him changing his profile picture to an image of our product. The next time I was in the office the screenshot of that profile was hanging on the Senior Manager’s wall. Pretty good story.
Any golden tip on achieving a consistent analytical approach? Read More
John Lovett is a Senior Partner at Analytics Demystified, a Mentor & Co-Founder @Analysis Exchange and an author of the book “Social Media Metrics Secrets: Do What You Never Thought Possible with Social Media Metrics”. He spent the past decade helping businesses analyze and measure their digital marketing activities, but more importantly, his passion for analytics pioneered the development of the social media measurement. Today John will be discussing virality and analytics behind social media – fasten your seatbelts.
John: Hi Dagmara, thanks for inviting me to participate in your applied social series. I’m honored to be among such esteemed company!
John, I am so thankful for your book about social media metrics and that you promote more strategic approach among social media professionals. At the end of the day, our supervisors ask us about the hard numbers. How can we achieve a consistent analytical approach in the “era of too many social media channels, metrics, and data overload”?
This is a great kick-off question because it happens at almost every organization starting out with social media measurement. What are the numbers? As an analyst or anyone practicing social media, your first inclination might be to spout off total followers, number of outbound posts, number of reactions, and more as fast as possible to provide a direct answer to the question asked. Yet, counting metrics like these rarely satisfy business questions. You must get to the Business Value Metrics and Outcome Metrics which is accomplished through strategic planning. This challenging task is achieved by developing a framework for social media that transcends channels and tactics and maps back to corporate goals. With a strategic framework in place, you can build campaigns and plan tactics designed to achieve your stated goals. Then, when your supervisor asks about the numbers, you can consistently report on progress against stated goals, which specific activities either contributed or failed, and what’s coming next to accomplish your goals. By architecting a strategy you can communicate metrics that matter, while also setting goals, managing expectations and reporting across all your social platforms.
Defining Business Value Metrics is extremely important while coming up with the social media strategy. Could you give us an example of aligning social activity to business goals?
When it comes to aligning your social strategy to activities, I always encourage clients to start with the corporate goal in mind. An example might be a CPG company looking to build awareness of its new consumer product. The corporate goals are expansion and adoption of this new product line. Thus, your social media activity might include creative design to drive new prospects to your social platforms to generate awareness, with a primary goal of finding advocates to promote the new product line. Let’s say in this hypothetical example, that you’re offering a coupon download to try a sample of the product. Business value metrics that you could use to showcase progress against the goals of awareness and adoption include cost per new fan acquired, total cost of campaign, number of coupons downloaded, coupon redemption rate, number of advocate Tweets per coupon, etc. The possibilities are endless if you take a strategic approach and align your tactics with overarching corporate goals. But more importantly, the impact of this approach when communicating Outcome and Business Value metrics to colleagues almost certainly has a greater appeal to your internal business audience.
Coming back to creativity. Using data and identifying new opportunities require creativity. Could you give us an example of a product or a service that used creativity to bring data to the next level and unlocked its potential?
I’m continually amazed at creativity in social media. Whether it’s reactionary like Wendy’s response to the tweet, “Yo @Wendy’s how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?”. Or strategically planned like Lego’s LEGO Life app. Companies are continually pushing the limits of creativity in social media by allowing consumers to push their own limits and take ownership of their own ideas. When a kid can create their own LEGO mini figure and chat to their peers in a safe and safeguarded emoji language…now that’s creative!
Can you share the best way of retaining follower base and the way of measuring the retention rate?
When it comes to retaining followers, the best way that I’ve seen is to consistently generate content. And I’m not talking about pre-canned Tweets or recurring Facebook posts touting products here. What keeps people coming back is interesting, thought provoking content that is altruistic in nature. Consumers are smart these days and if you’re disingenuous in your social marketing efforts, they’ll tear you to shreds and then they’ll leave you. On the flip-side being real and authentic while also creating interesting content will keep your audience coming back. Retention can be measured in a number of different ways, but for social platforms, I like to look at the number of followers at the end of each month; subtract the number of new followers; then divide by the number of followers at the beginning of the month. [(followers month end – new followers)/followers month start*100]. This will give you a monthly retention rate. For apps, I tend to look at Monthly Active Users. Calculating this is a bit more complex, but essentially you’re tracking events per user and attributing active status to any user that participates in a certain number of events that meet your threshold. Using this method, you can quantify how many people within your install base actually uses your app in a given month.
Let’s dive into the topic that everyone secretly dreams about, but does not want to admit it. Virality. What an elusive goal! John, any idea what could be the key variables that drive viral growth? Or should we just…spray and pray?
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Lao-tzu, Chinese Philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)
In 2011 I quit my job in SAP recruitment in London and moved to China. Little did I know what was going to happen, but I hoped that the relocation would help me change my career.
I didn’t love my job, but I didn’t strongly dislike it either. As everywhere, it had its rainy Monday mornings when commuters were rushing through the Liverpool Station. Everyone seemed stressed out and unhappy about starting a new week in the City. However, as soon as I would get inside the office and make my coffee while chatting with colleagues, it didn’t seem that bad. ‘I can do it, I can get through another week, if I only survived Monday’ I would say to myself. There was also the thrill of headhunting, the constant buzz in the office, and a lot of laughs. Life was good and the closer to the weekend the better it was becoming. Around Wednesday, emails from my friends were starting to circulate as we were preparing for another fabulous weekend in London. It rarely happens that we are entirely happy or unhappy in our job, and I guess that makes any decision harder. When is the cutting off moment when we say: “I’m done with it and ready for a new role”? Once we have reached that stage another obstacle appears – we don’t have clarity on what we WANT.
I realized that what bothered me the most about my job was the fact that I didn’t feel challenged anymore. I didn’t want to live only for the weekend. I thought about moving to internal HR, as that was one of the most common “career transitions” for agency recruiters. I was also asking myself when was the last time I was happy at my job? The answer was three years ago, working as an executive search consultant in the energy sector. With that in mind, I was considering going back to the executive search. Then my boyfriend got a job offer in Beijing. We discussed three options: a long-distance relationship, me staying in London and trying to job hunt in Beijing, or finally quitting my job and relocating together. From a recruiter perspective, I knew that being in the right location could make a huge difference. Firstly, my CV with London and the UK number on it could go into the “bin folder” in a matter of seconds. Secondly, meeting hiring managers face to face is a small difference that makes the all the difference.
While discussing relocation, we also decided to get married. Three weeks later, on a Monday morning, I was rushing through Liverpool Station to work. I was going straight from the airport and I asked my manager if we could have a meeting. He knew I just came back from Las Vegas, he wasn’t particularly surprised about the marriage decision. However, he didn’t expect the news that I was now moving to Beijing.
I was moving to a country that I haven’t visited before. I didn’t know anyone there and I didn’t speak the language. A country that scores at the top of the most difficult places to live and work in the world. The goal was to find a new career path and I was excited about it, especially about the fact that everything was going to be different.
What happened in China?
Originally from Sweden, Elsa Medin relocated to Shanghai four years ago to study Chinese. She decided to stay in China and did her bachelor degree in international business. With her motto being “If I cannot find the path, I will create it!” she launched Spare Leash right after graduation. Elsa has a dog named Betsy, a schnauzer adopted in Shanghai in October 2016. She also fosters dogs.
Erin Leigh studied public relations, advertising and applied communication at Western Michigan University. She came to China after graduating from college. She has been living in Shanghai for over five years, working in PR and marketing, before co-founding Spare Leash. Erin has Oliver (labrador mix), Betty (mini schnauzer), and Max (terrier mix). They used to be foster animals, but she ended up adopting them. Erin usually fosters one more dog every month. She also rescues kittens; she bottle-feeds them and looks after them while searching for adopters.
Spare Leash is dedicated to making life easier for pets and pet owners by providing loving and trustworthy pet sitters in Shanghai. Their services are safe, reliable and cage free. The company was founded in Shanghai, in 2016. In the same year, Spare Leash was awarded by Time Out Love Shanghai for Lifestyle Service of the Year.
How Spare Leash started?
Elsa: It began in 2016 when I wanted to adopt a dog from the street in Shanghai. I was still a student, and I was going traveling for a whole month. None of my friends could take care of him. Finally, I didn’t adopt this dog. However, I started to think how we can all help each other looking after pets when we travel. I had an idea, and I spent a few months thinking about Spare Leash and how I can make that happen. I had mutual friends with Erin. She was facilitating pets’ adoptions in Shanghai.
Erin: One day, Elsa texted me out of the blue, saying: “I need to talk to you. Meet me for lunch”. We met at one of my favorite restaurants, Kommune. Elsa told me about her idea. It was also a part of her university project.
Elsa: I had a class called Entrepreneurship, and that’s how I started to look at it from a business perspective. My initial idea was a pet hotel, but I wasn’t 100% happy with that and kept on brainstorming. I went to Australia for a month, and because I didn’t adopt the dog, I was thinking about it during the whole trip. I was doing my research, writing down my ideas and a business plan. When I came back, I met Erin.
Erin: Elsa nearly had a business plan and the avenue laid out, as well as the name and the logo. Right away I said: YES. The very next day we were in my living room, my three dogs were running around, and we were starting the business. It was around early April. I had just quit my job in PR.
Elsa: I was in the last semester of my Bachelor’s degree majoring in business. I had in my final exams. My final thesis was about the WeChat business, so I was going to many business events and learning from hands-on entrepreneurs.
Erin: We first built a website, which took a month. Then we had a launch party – a charity event co-organized with Best Friends China.
Elsa: We got our first client during this event. The first interviews with sitters happened in Erin’s apartment.
How to volunteer and engage with a local community during your busy life abroad? #AddingValue series
Tiziana Figliolia is the Sr. Vice President, Global Business Operations and Finance at PTC. She is also the President and Board Member of International Professional Women Association (IPWS) in Shanghai, and a speaker on the topic of gender diversity, equality and women empowerment (Women TEDx Shanghai Salon, Shanghai International Forum on Women’s Development).
Tiziana is a global leader with 20 years of experience working with technology companies publicly traded and startups, with a wide range of strategy, planning, finance, customer support, sales & operations, R&D, and business partnering related responsibilities. As a native Italian and after graduating in Economics, Tiziana realized that moving to the USA was the right choice to springboard her career. Being a naturally curious and open minded person, Tiziana relocated a few times with her family and progressed her career around the world. Currently, she lives with her husband and son in Shanghai, a city, which she finds the most international and cosmopolitan from all the international cities.
International Professional Women’s Society is a non-profit organization that provides professional women with different platforms to connect and foster personal and professional growth. IPWS has a community reach of more than 2000 women.
Tiziana talks with Coachify about her motivations to volunteer, engage with a local community and empower professional women, as well as how it helped her to live a fulfilled life. One of the lessons we can learn from her is: choose a volunteering project or community that resonates with your life vision and passion.
Tiziana, how did you become interested in IPWS?
After working for some time in China, and completing my MBA, I felt there was a void in my life, which needed to be filled. I’ve accomplished a lot professionally, I have a great family, but I needed more to fulfill my purpose. More than the traditional work/life balance, I believe in living an integrated life where professional, personal (family) and social (giving back to the community) are interconnected and a measure of who we are, what we do and how we accomplish our life goals. These are three very fundamental parts of who I am. At the time I felt that the social aspect was incomplete. I asked myself: How do I give back? How do I make an impact on the community? I started to look around, and when my friend Margot invited me to an IPWS event, I joined. I enjoyed the crowd and the ambiance of the event and worked my way to join the Board of Directors and become the President of the organization, now for the past four years. IPWS was and still is an excellent fit in terms what I was trying to achieve.
Maasa, can you please tell us about yourself?
I love being able to connect with talent digitally and in-person and especially leveraging social media to tell a story behind some of the jobs that I recruit for.
I’ve been recruiting for the last 5.5 years, working across various industries ranging from healthcare, IT, marketing, creative, retail in both agency and corporate settings. I’ve been fortunate to recruit for many top brands & companies including Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, and Expedia.
Social media allows recruiters to connect with prospects in a more meaningful, authentic, and engaging ways than the traditional “submit and pray” system. For me, this is the most exciting part of my job as a social recruiter. I especially love showing off “behind the scenes” content and information to talent – whether that be fun group photos of the team or writing and sharing a blog on the “human” aspect of each job, team or organization.
Your LinkedIn summary is very impressive. It has all the “right ingredients” of a powerful summary, which are: storytelling, description of what you and your company do, call to action, keywords, and imagery. How did you come up with it?
Thank you! You know, in any profession, whether you’re a sales person, marketer or an engineer – there are tons of other people who do the same job you do. If you look across my network, I’m sure you can find many recruiters who have worked for the same organization or have held similar roles and I have. Given that situation, you have to figure out a way to stand out from the herd in an authentic and memorable way.
When I wrote this particular summary of mine, I thought about few things: 1) Who am I and what is my “brand”? 2) What are things I’m particularly good at? 3) What type of stuff gets me really excited?
The first part is really important – knowing your personal brand. Beyond being a recruiter at “company A” or being a specific industry recruiter, I have my own “flavor” or brand that I represent regardless of the company I work for or team I’m on. You have to have clarity & consistency in that brand & messaging.
The second piece is also important because that’s what makes you unique and different – your superpower if you will. You definitely need to understand the value you bring to the table and be able to celebrate that differentiator.
Third is being able to articulate the area of passion. This is where I ideally like to build more of my career on, and I think it’s beneficial for others to know as well. I’d like to think this is the reason why you reached out to me for an interview. I think overall you open up more doors by being transparent and letting others know what drives you.
Yolanda vom Hagen is originally from Düsseldorf, Germany. Her photographic main focus is on interior, industrial and documentary photography. She studied photography and design at the University of Applied Science Dortmund and the Beijing Film Academy. She was commissioned as the official press photographer of the German Pavilion at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Yolanda is fluent in German, Chinese, and English, which enables her to work independently in most parts of the world.
Yolanda sees herself as a preservationist of humanity’s current lifestyle and being. Her vision is to capture this generation’s contemporary environment for future generations.
Yolanda, when did you discover your passion for photography?
When I was a little kid my mother gave me a camera to take some pictures while I traveled with my brother on our own. After we would come home, my parents would develop the pictures and I would have the memories from the trip. The preservation of my experiences gave me the ability to share with my parents what I experienced, seen, and done. I did not have an outlet for my deep need for sharing, but taking pictures gave me the ability to preserve something not only from my life but also from others’ lives. It became a way to communicate. For my eighteenth birthday, my father surprisingly gave me a proper camera. I started to play around with it. When I was nineteen I needed to decide what I want to study after high school. I looked at architecture, psychology, and photography and then tested all of them during my summer vacation.
How did you test them?
In Germany, we have something called Volkshochschule which is a summer school/ workshop program. I participated in one photography workshop. Another workshop was about architecture. I also interviewed an architect and I asked him about his job.
He said: “There are so many people studying architecture nowadays that you will end up behind IKEA’s desk selling furniture.” This, plus my fear of math contributed to my decision to choose photography rather than architecture. I thought this would give me the ability to meet, communicate and work closely together with people, which is what a psychologist also does… However, photography gives access to a variety of different topics and fields I can work in. My father had ten or fifteen jobs in his life. I thought photography might give me the option to travel, see different cultures, work with different people and update myself to fulfill my need of learning and steady creative and personal development.’
Your father had so many jobs throughout his life. You picked up one job, which has so many jobs in it.
Exactly. There are so many fields I can work in. It took me some time to figure out my skills set in photography. The studying aspect made me really confused about which field of photography I want to work. I’ve failed a lot. Every single semester I had to redo my work two or three times. Only interior photography was OK. And there … we are coming back to architecture.
Christie Cordes is a CEO | Director of Global Talent Acquisition and an Employer Brand Consultant @Ad Recruiter with over a decade of digital and social media recruitment branding experience. Today we are going to talk about the evolution of Human Resources and Christie’s social recruiting best practices in bringing a talent pool to her clients companies.
Christie, can you explain the meaning behind your company’s name?
I recruit executives in the ad (advertising | branding) industry. Being in the digital media industry I knew SEO and Google results would have an impact on my company’s visibility, so I looked at the major industry news sites such as Ad Week and Ad Age – and there you have it: Ad Recruiter. I think the name really helped clarify to industry executives what disciplines I focus on. I think it was a simple yet powerful naming strategy as a sole proprietor.
Social media conquered the world and it shows no sign of slowing down. What do you see as the most effective social media channel to recruit at?
Social platforms shift in popularity much like fashion does. Different platforms ‘trend’ and then new ones emerge – it’s very fluent and always shifting. Being ‘visible’ where the cutting edge, curious people are in social is important for recruiting and attracting the very best talent. Social media is composed of people and people are talent. It’s important to have a handle on how all the platforms operate. If I’m looking to attract college grads and interns – they absolutely love SnapChat. It’s such a fun platform, it’s a great place to attract them, because that’s where they are spending time! Instagram and Pinterest is a visual creative network for many aesthetic minded designers and creatives. It’s a great place to ‘discover’ talent and see how different people curate their boards and also see projects they are working on. LinkedIn is fantastic – for referencing and seeing peoples experience, it’s an invaluable tool. I’m not sure if it’s incredibly ‘social’ but they keep trying to improve that to some extent.
The best network (as of now) for Ad Recruiter is actually Twitter (w/LinkedIn) together. There are a few solid reasons why it’s great for communicating to talent and identifying talent. Twitter has low barrier to connecting to top executives and forming relationships. We’ve all experienced top executives ‘not accepting LinkedIn invites from strangers’ yet a follow is typically met with ‘how nice’ as a positive compliment! That makes it an ideal place to identify and build trust based on relationships with executives all over the world. I consider my social followers across all platforms – my candidate pipeline (not an automated database of pdf CV attachments).
I use LinkedIn with Twitter at all times, in other words a new follower who’s bio on Twitter is vague, I’ll locate their LinkedIn profile to understand who they are and what they do. I advise all executives, to have a transparent / informative Twitter bio with a link to LinkedIn on Twitter – especially for career advancement, business networking and ‘being discovered’. The other platforms can be more personal and so people don’t share their real names, or where they work often times, especially Snapchat! So that’s makes it difficult to identify ‘targeted talent’ but attracting them there is always important!
You’re not only a seasoned recruiter, but also an employer brand specialist. Can you share how you engage candidates on social media?