Expert Interview on Social Media with Lori Santa Maria

July 20th, 2011 • By:  • Expert Interviews

Expert Interviews

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Lori Santa Maria, the Marketing Manager for 3TV, AZFamily.com. In this interview, she shares with us her experiences and tips for engaging your audience with social media marketing. Lori is an avid and entertaining Twitter user, follow her @losama.

Let’s jump right into it!

Krys: Do you recommend different social media strategies for different types of companies (like retail versus business-to-business), and can you give some examples?

Lori Santa MariaLori: This is a great question and we’re unique because we’re in the business-to-business and business to consumer business. Our advertising is business to business and our news service is business to consumer.

I do recommend a different social media strategy for each as every business has a different target market and different goals they want to meet and therefore need a custom social media strategy to meet those goals. A business-to-business company such as a printing service might want to include LinkedIn (a business-related social networking site) as part of their strategy to research contacts of different companies in their geographic area. Using LinkedIn may be easier to find contacts than say creating a Facebook account and trying to find owners of a company Facebook fan/brand page.

For our Internet (azfamily.com) and TV (3TV & CW6) Account Executives LinkedIn is a great tool to research companies and find that common person they know to get a meeting and therefore try to sell our services (commercials, internet elements) to those businesses.

It takes time to find out what works best for your network and as long as you’re genuine, your network will stick with you through the trial and errors.

A retail outlet such as Out of Africa Wildlife Park that is targeting family consumers would need a different strategy and different mediums than business-to-business. Out of Africa does a great job on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube talking about the park features, showing videos of the park, taking photos of and sharing interesting facts about the animals and distributing discount offers to visit the Park. Facebook advertising would be a great addition to this strategy in an effort to specifically target people with kids.

The 3TV and azfamily.com business to consumer strategy is similar to Out of Africa except our target is much broader. We’re in the business of breaking and delivering news so we want a large active fan base to interact with. Our strategy would include multiple accounts across multiple platforms in an effort to dig up and deliver news to a broad reach.

Krys: Great recommendations, Lori. It’s so important to make sure you’re sending the right message to the right audience and to not lump everyone together. What do you tell companies doing social media who feel they’ve “run out of ideas” for things to post?

Lori: Research. Have Fun. Experiment. Research – I think it’s important to research competitors and see what others are doing. I also recommend researching big brand names that are not even in your category. Find ideas that you like and twist that idea to work for your product or service. Have Fun – sometimes you have to step away and just have some fun, some of the best ideas come when you’re not working or trying to come up with the next big idea. Experiment- don’t be afraid to try new things. The beauty of Internet is that everything is measurable. If you’re not getting the response you want, scrap it and try something new. It takes time to find out what works best for your network and as long as you’re genuine, your network will stick with you through the trial and errors.

Krys: I think many companies forget to have fun. Social media is supposed to be casual, a place where your audience can feel comfortable expressing themselves and engage with people, not just the company. In your experience, what are the most successful posts in terms of getting a lot of comments or replies, in other words, a lot of engaging dialogue?

Lori: Our most popular posts are the good morning posts with a really simple question like, “Are you a morning person or night owl?” It’s a good way to start the day and the question is so simple people don’t have to think about it. It’s a quick answer. Our other popular posts are big or controversial news stories where people want to share their opinions. And, believe it or not… weather photos! I know it’s always hot but our online friends take and share the most amazing photos on our Facebook walls. When there’s a dust storm or monsoon, the photos increase.

Krys: Yes! This last big dust storm made for some amazing photos. What kinds of posts get the most “likes” or positive, happy feedback?

Lori: We (3TV) have a lot of fun posting behind the scenes photos. Gina Maravilla and Javier Soto are probably the best at doing this in the morning. The fun photos spark a lot of fun comments.

Krys: What things should we absolutely avoid in terms of social media posts and tweets?

Lori: TMI! Ha, ha… no one wants to know your personal business and relationship problems so keep that out. I would say avoid anything you wouldn’t want shared and living online forever. Think before you post because once it’s shared it’s on the Web for a very long time. I love the example of the Streisand Effect.

Krys: The recent flubs from Kenneth Cole and Entenmann’s come to mind. Sometimes it’s a little too easy to post before you think.

Final question! How do you turn a fan or follower into a customer, and how do you track that?

Since we’re in the business of delivering news, it’s important to track our fan base and active users on Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook we can look at the analytics to see who keeps coming back to interact. On Twitter, it’s a little harder; we have to look at RT, DMs and mentions. We love having big numbers but we really like to focus on activity. It’s important to us to know that our fan base isn’t “Liking” and leaving. We try to deliver relevant news, interact and provide feedback as soon as we can. It’s always a work in progress as there’s always room for improvement and trying new ideas. Another important measurement for us is tracking referral traffic to our website, azfamily.com.

Social media is a constantly evolving space. I was recently on a webinar with Jay Baer and one of the things he said that really resonated with me regarding strategy was “If you don’t adapt and try new things, then your strategy is playing catch-up.” Certainly never abandon what’s working, but you can’t have a fear of change with social media. Thank you Lori, for spending time with us.

Sarah Moraes

Sarah Moraes, Marketing Manager, heads the tactical planning and implementation of cross-platform marketing activities for Vertical Measures including; blogging, social media marketing, webinars, content marketing, email marketing and promotions. In addition, she published the Local Search Marketing for Business How-To-Guide, a part of the Vertical Measures How-To-Guide Series.

+Sarah Moraes

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 at 4:30 am and is filed under Expert Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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