Interview with Digital & Social Media Marketing Expert Jasmine Sandler
Recently I had the chance to interview B2B digital marketing veteran Jasmine Sandler. She is the founder and CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing, an Online PR agency based in New York City. Jasmine is a frequent speaker for The Association of Strategic Marketing, The Association of Ghostwriters, Search Engine Strategies, Small Business Technology, and New York Business Expo. She is also a contributing monthly writer for ClickZ.com, Search Engine Watch, The New York Enterprise Report, and LinkedIn Original Content.
Question: A small business owner or one-man marketing team can very easily get overwhelmed by all their social media accounts. What advice do you have to help keep them on track and involved, but not get lost in the depths of social networking?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: First, have a targeted social media marketing plan. Without a plan that should include tools to manage and monitor, this small business owner will waste time and money. The plan needs to detail, at minimum, with research and insight:
•Specific channel mix
•Specific types and frequency and content (which support the brand and marketing goals)
•Specific campaigns and frequency
•Social Media Goals and Tracking
If this person is doing social media management on their own and social media or Internet Marketing is not their core business, they should focus on doing the minimum, but doing that well, with a plan in hand. This means posting specific owned events, published articles and whitepapers, product/service announcements, engaging with fans, followers, and connections on an authentic level.
Ideally, a small business owner does best by paying a professional for a targeted social media plan and training first and then hire a qualified social media manager. I have written papers and books on these subjects. Most recently, I provided a simple guideline for Hiring Managers to have when interviewing potential social media managers. In addition, I crafted answers to support questions and further, answers to all comments. All of this can be reviewed on my blog.
Question: Not every business can afford to hire a full-time social media marketing or community manager. In that case, who really “owns” the social media program?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: Whoever is responsible for owning the company brand owns the social media program. If that is the CEO of Marketing Director, then that person needs to stay aware of what is going on (social sentiment) with their social media reputation. This is why it is crucial for that person to have a checks and balances system in place to ensure that brand delivery in social is authentic and supports the company vision , mission and brand promise. In my work as a social media trainer and consultant, I define with the client who it is that has responsibilities for the company marketing and start there. The rest will trickle down and then responsibilities and accountability can be asserted and managed. In a few of my social media marketing blog posts and articles this year on ClickZ.com and Searchenginewatch.com, I have provided tips to the business owner who sits in this situation. Many of the social media stories can be read here.
Question: How socially active does the C-suite really need to be?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: It depends on the size of the company and the profitability of the company. For enterprise level organizations, the C-suite needs to make sure that they have set in place the appropriate marketing resources who understand the brand direction and target promise . For SMB C-levels who are more involved with the day to day sales and marketing of an organization, their own executive personal brand needs to be carefully managed and monitored. This is what I call “Digitization of the Executive Personal Brand” – a topic I teach on to thousands of C-suites around the world. It is that, in today’s Digital Age, more than ever, the C-suite has scrutiny at the social media level. And so, there is no question that there needs to be an executive investment in this online personal branding of at the top level. Recently, I wrote a 3-part Blog series on the subject of Personal Branding for CEOs. You can read this on my blog.
Question: How could a marketing manager or director best pitch the C-suite to get them more socially involved?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: I recently developed and delivered the presentation “Social Media in the Boardroom” for SES in Toronto. The presentation and article covered the most crucial steps to take in selling social into the C-suite. The interview recap video is on the homepage of my site. You should also read the related article, which was originally published in SES Magazine at http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2288688/social-media-in-the-boardroom. To get them more engaged in involved with actively participating in social, you will need to show them by the numbers. This is why it is crucial to have a social media marketing monitoring and management system in place and aligned with other web analytics. Once done, you will be able to clearly show marketing insights on social referrals, live social leads capture, online sales due to social media and so on.
Question: What can a social media manager do if/when a customer service interaction spirals out of control in social media?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: Tackle it head on. That’s first. Most of the clients I help with social media marketing are in the B2B space with a few qualified e-commerce companies. In the space where I play the customer service interactions that are negative, many times in social come from competitors, who the total social universe may see as customers because they know no better. That is first and something that needs to be considered and managed. This is analogous to click fraud in SEM and needs to be taken seriously. Should this be the case, competitors need to be called out and actions need to be swift. If a real customer, the social media manager needs to do his or her best to take the conversation and make it private as quickly as possible by encouraging direct messaging versus posting of the complaint so that it can be handled appropriately. Further, once the issue is resolved, the social manager needs to somehow incentive that person to give positive feedback online. Nothing is worse than a damaged online reputation. As we all know, negative comments have 3 times the viral factor than positive, unfortunately. Managing a brand’s online reputation is a subject I am passionate about and blog about how to protect it often on my blog.
Question: What are some ways that a brand can connect and interact with social media influencers?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: First, find them. Then listen to what they say. Make this an ongoing process. You need to know who is an influencer in your industry. Just because they are a celebrity does not mean that will help your social media influence or your Klout score. Social media influencers in my world and most of my clients are ones you may find in the LinkedIn Influencer program, top editors and reporters from the leading business periodicals, leaders in Business Media that you will follow on Twitter and listen to their radio shows and bloggers that have real passion for the related industry (and followers). Interacting with these influencers so they will support your social ecosystem requires knowledge, authenticity and patience. Like any sales relationship development efforts, you need to do just that – create a relationship based on a truthful and development connection. Brands need to first find them and then be consistent with providing content that they can engage with that supports the brand promise. Just as the brand wants the influencer to connect with their content, in social, the brand must then also support the influencers and theirs. It is an ecosystem. Connecting positively with influencers in social media is a real key to making social work. The influencers will share your content and give it that needed stamp of approval. Think of the influencers as your best clients. If you want to understand some of my influencers, all you need to do is follow me on Twitter @Jasmine_Sandler. You will then start to see how someone who provides social media strategy engages with those who report on it.
Question: What are some of the most common mistakes you see marketers and sales teams make on LinkedIn that you want to correct with your LinkedIn trainings?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: Here is a quick list of things I see and correct in my training and in my private training with the C-suite:
• Poor photography
• Inconsistent messaging
• Infrequent content
• Disparate communications across employees
• Poor use of Groups
• Poor use of Job postings
• Inability to read the rules
• Poor sales etiquette
All of these issues I also cover and provide examples on in my book, “Branding & Sales: The LinkedIn Way” available on Amazon. See reviews at http://www.jasminesandler.com/linkedin-marketing-book/
Question: Do you link LinkedIn ads are worth the money?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: Please refer to a recent interview I did on this subject for AMEX Open Business Community at https://www.openforum.com/articles/should-your-business-try-linkedin-ads/
Question: What are some of your favorite social media management tools?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: Viralheat, Hootsuite
Question: What kind of influence do you see social media having on the SERPs?
Answer from Jasmine Sandler: I have written articles on this subject, train companies on how to do this and have developed original presentations here. Social Media signals SEO in that content delivered via social has affect on search rank. This has dramatically increased by multiple factors within the last few years, including the push for G+ as a major social network, Google’s inspection of Twitter’s hashtag algorithm as a factor to search importance, improved quality of article directories and submission sites online and more. I suggest you take a look in my Jasmine Sandler Media section of my site to review this topic on past videos in more detail. Further, I will be soon publishing another series of articles on this subject as a ClickZ.com author (as an update to previous articles on the subject).
© Copyright Jasmine Sandler. All rights reserved. This material cannot be repurposed in whole or in part without express written permission from the author.
This non-paid interview is designed to give the Brick Marketing audience insights and different perspectives of SEO, link building, social media and web marketing. Past expert interviews include: Ann Handley, Eric Ward, Mike Moran, Andy Beal, and Jordan Kasteler to name a few.
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