Shanda Maloney is a Social & Digital Consultant and the former Digital Marketing & Social Media Director for UFC.
Q. How big was the team managing each of the social platforms?
A. A lot of times when I tell people the size of the team, they’re like, “Are you serious?” There were four people based at headquarters in Las Vegas that oversaw all platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. I mean, you’re talking also monitoring 600+ athletes. Plus we had one person in a couple of different regions – somebody for the UK, somebody for Latin America, somebody for Brazil, and someone in Canada who oversaw Australia and Asia. So we had one person in each of those markets who were really creating content localized to their region.
But it was the four people at corporate headquarters that were really overseeing all social accounts, all platforms, covering the live events, producing the content that went out on a daily basis and the customer service from it, working with the athletes for verification and issues like, “I got locked out of my account. What do I do? My account got hacked. What do I do?” We covered everything.
Q. How do you think Influencer Marketing is going to come together in 2017? Do you think it will become integrated into overall business strategies or stay in a silo?
A. I personally think it’s a holistic approach, really. I can say this from my personal experience last weekend. I know that Delta has me flagged as an influencer, and I had trouble on a Delta flight this weekend. Granted, I wasn’t able to catch my flight to get home to Las Vegas, but the way that they were handling things – the private messages I received from them and the things they were doing for me on the backend – I was able to share that with my social following and say, “You know what, I didn’t catch my flight, but Delta had rockstar customer service that really was able to help me get x, y, z taken care of.”
I know other brands are really starting to pay attention to that kind of stuff and finding tools on the backend to really manage that customer relationship: they know your medallion status, or if you’re a frequent flyer or have a Starbucks gold number. Companies are getting really, really smart about that. And they should, because you’re identifying your influential customers and that can make or break your business. If I had a terrible experience at a coffee shop or the salon, with the influence that I have in my network, I could divert the business by saying, “This place was awful – but this other place I went to was awesome!” With social, I could take 20 people with me – you never know.
Devon: Right! Customer service is now a spectator sport. We can now see what happens at an airline counter – and what doesn’t happen. It’s not like brands are going to be rude. Delta’s not going to reply and say, “Shanda, don’t care. Good luck.” Right? But we can see that they took 20-30 minutes when they could have responded in two minutes.
Q. Do you have a particular up-and-comer that you think is going to break out in 2017?
A. Snapchat has obviously been making some waves with their Spectacles glasses that they launched. It’s really fun to see people going crazy trying to figure out where the Spectacles machine is going to be. It was in the Grand Canyon yesterday – I thought about going! It was only a couple hours away from me.
It’s interesting to see how each of the platforms are continuing to evolve. Twitter’s definitely trying to find their space. They have Periscope for live broadcast but now Facebook is competing for that with Facebook Live. Now you have a lot of the VR and Augmented Reality stuff coming through, too. I’m just interested to see how each of the platforms are going to embrace that because that’s the next big wave of things to come.
I’m excited for all these things evolving. It challenges us from a brand side and an agency side to not get too comfortable in the type of content that you’re thinking about for your brand. It challenges you to continually evolve because what worked for us last year this time definitely isn’t working. Shoot, sometimes even on a daily basis with the way that these algorithms change… you have to stay on top of all that stuff.
Devon: Totally. I’ll end on this one. I want to dive deep into your opinion here.
Q. Is it important to have both a paid and earned strategy from an influencer perspective, or is it important to kick off with paid if you don’t have the audience and then turn to earned? How would you recommend that for people who have incredible brands like UFC or people who have brands that are just getting started?
A. I think a combination of the two is a great strategy. Do anything you can when you’re setting up your website – if you’re selling products, track pixels in your shopping cart so that you can start to create an audience that’s most likely to convert. Then do a look-alike audience against that. From an organic perspective, it’s really understanding, first of all, your voice and your tone. Understanding who you are on social – whether you have a personality or not. A lot of times, people forget to let social be social. They use it as a platform to sell, sell, sell, sell. I don’t necessarily sign into social thinking, “I hope someone sells me something today.” That’s not what I’m going to social media for.
It’s finding a way to create content and have a voice and a tone and listen for opportunities. That’s another one that people forget to do. Do a quick search if you’re in the space. In the fitness space, this was something I did for UFC Fit when we launched that product. I listened for people who were asking if they should buy P90X or Insanity. I started jumping in that conversation from the UFC Fit account and just said, “Hey, UFC Fit just launched and we’ve got a trial with a 90-day money-back guarantee and I started getting people responding to me with screenshots of their order confirmation because P90X and Insanity didn’t reply when they were asking. UFC Fit jumped into it. Put your listening mode on and then from there you can start identifying keywords and what people are talking about so that you can create your paid strategy against that.
This Q&A with Shanda Maloney is part of Insightpool’s Age of Influence series.