A Conversation with Clint Schaff, VP of Digital & Gaming, Edelman
By UCLA X425 Student Stacia R. Short
North Dakota native Clint Schaff, VP of Digital & Gaming at Edelman, shared his vast social media expertise with UCLA x425 last Tuesday. First and foremost, Schaff advised: “Become an expert on a subject, and then learn how to leverage social media to meet the objectives of that business.”
These days, social media literacy is key to success in the communications arena. Although many people claim to be experts, Schaff says that real social media professionals usually have “mature personal channels,” or highly developed use of social media on a myriad of platforms. Take Schaff’s personal Twitter feed: It’s not necessarily strategic, but it shows that he is outgoing, loves music, and is responsible with what he describes as his “unearned white male privilege.” Prospective employers might view his feed to determine if he’d be a good fit with their company’s culture. According to Schaff, personal social media can “Invite and cancel out opportunities.”
Schaff explained that most mature organizations use social media for many different objectives, not just for public relations campaigns. For example, the Human Resources department might use it to mine qualified job candidates, while Customer Service might leverage it to get valuable insight and input from the core customer base. Schaff added that people from all departments should be involved and invested in a company’s social media campaign.
The discussion then turned to Facebook, which Schaff described as the most ubiquitous form of social media, and one that Edelman leverages to the fullest extent. A Facebook representative actually counsels Schaff’s department weekly. In a testament to the wide reach of Facebook, the page for Edelman’s “Call of Duty” video game client has garnered 5.9 million likes. This campaign has catapulted pre-sales of the latest version of the game, slated for a November release, to 13 million.
However, Schaff admitted that Facebook can be cumbersome, as it will not merge pages (there are many official and unofficial “Call of Duty” pages). Schaff also explained that only 16% of the Facebook members who “like” a brand page will actually see the brand’s posts on a given day, unless the brand pays to promote its posts. But regardless, that’s still a lot of people for a page with as many fans as “Call of Duty.” The issue of paid vs. organic visibility with Facebook posts is becoming more important. Facebook isn’t always free, and optimizing it for a big campaign can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Organic visibility, in the form of “shares” is a powerful form of free outreach, and Schaff is always calculating ROI.
Schaff suggests posting on Facebook just twice a day, spreading out the messages at different times. He also suggested that Twitter should be used five times a day maximum. He then recommended Google+ as an exciting new platform, because of all the SEO possibilities it offers that Facebook and Twitter do not.
Schaff then discussed how everyone “owns” social media, and how any of us can contribute to the conversation. Schaff closed the lecture by stressing the importance of practicing proper etiquette in social media circles. When in doubt, use the cocktail party analogy, he advised. Be gracious, be a good listener, and be sure to steer the conversation towards other people!