Week 4: A Conversation with Guest Speaker Serena Ehrlich

Roxie McKnight

Roxie McKnight

By UCLA X425 Student Roxy McKnight

On November 25th we heard from guest speaker Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social at Business Wire. Not only is she a social media guru, but she is also what I call a “mega-factor,” in that she is uniquely knowledgeable when it comes to managing a successful online presence.

Serena talked with our class in-depth about the importance of a maintaining a social media editorial calendar. If there was just one thing I learned from her discussion, it’s the important benefits of creating a clear and precise calendar to help feed the ongoing need for social media content. Every brand or company that is active in social media must create content.

Serena Ehrlich

Serena Ehrlich

With a calendar in place, you must determine the tools you will use to create and syndicate content that is relevant to your audience. Your content is only as effective as its ability to get your audience to pay attention and develop trust. In order to maintain trust you must produce appropriate, timely content to “feed the beast” that is your social media presence. The key to producing worthy content is to define your audience and pay attention to their needs and wants so you can measure and adjust accordingly.

In this post I am overly using the terms “content” and “trust,” but there is a purpose to everything. I am stressing the importance of developing your brand voice through a structured content plan. You must set goals and consider the marketing funnel. Serena talked about five such goals; brand awareness, brand interaction, driving engagement & sales, advocacy and loyalty. Serena stressed the importance of aligning your content with one of these buckets. This is the only way to secure the trust factor.

Your social media editorial calendar or “content calendar” can be adjusted looking at your audience and measuring its members are reacting to your message. This can be accomplished through several monitoring tools we discussed in class. Such tools can help you know who is talking about you, spot rumors about your brand, and help establish your company reputation. There are many free tools to measure and monitor your brand; Google Alerts, Google Trends, and Social Mention to name just a few. Of course, there are the many terms to monitor beyond your obvious keywords, such as, typos, competitors, brand/products and industry terms. There are also many sites to help you produce content in a timely manner. Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and BufferApp are all applications that can help you tie together all your social media networks, monitor your visibility and pre-schedule your posts.

Serena stressed that when measuring content, one should “instantly act upon the results!” Monitoring sites can help you identify new fans, determine new marketing opportunities, create a successful decision tree etc. – all things we want to do when creating a successful social media presence… right?

Serena’s discussion was very impactful and full of so much useful information. I can still hear her voice stressing the fact that one should “take advantage of your data and actually USE it… create content based on what you know because there is a difference between visibility and shares…. If you do this, before you know it, you will see results.”

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