ISM 034: Tessa Barrera, Red Bull's Former Head of Global Social Media - Rick Mulready

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ISM 034: Tessa Barrera, Red Bull’s Former Head of Global Social Media

November 3, 2013

redbullTessa Barrera, Red Bull’s Former Head of Global Social Media, is my guest this week on the Inside Social Media podcast, as my journey to connect with the biggest brands in the world and share with you how you can model and adapt their social media insights and strategies continues.

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More About This Show

When I ask listeners what brands they’d like to hear from on the show, there are four, without a doubt, that are requested the most — Red Bull, Oreo, Nike and Starbucks.

I’m working on Oreo, Starbucks and Nike…

…and today I’m psyched to bring you Red Bull’s former global head of social media, Tessa Barrera.

Former as in, when we recorded this interview, she had departed only days before.

Let me explain…

I couldn’t interview her while she was at Red Bull because they have a company policy about its employees speaking publicly.

So when I reached out to her this time around, the timing worked out for her to be able to come on the show.

We’re still not able to talk about any inside secrets of Red Bull’s marketing ways, but I was able to ask Tessa about their public campaigns like Stratos (guy jumping from space), Red Bull Gives You Wings and a whole bunch of other really smart tips and strategies.

And, just as a heads-up, Red Bull does know about the interview as Tessa spoke to them about it before our chat.

Tessa’s approach to how to use social media to grow and market your business is nothing short of brilliant.

She flat out “gets it” and explains the strategies, principles and tactics that work in such a way you’ll be able to go and implement them into your own business as soon as you’re done listening.

In today’s show, you’ll learn…

  • What goes into planning big, over-the-top stunts like Red Bull’s Stratos and the lessons that small businesses can take from it.
  • We talk about how businesses need to flip the way they think about social media and why that is.
  • Tessa shares time-saving tips for how to stay on top of the quickly changing landscape of social media.
  • She talks about, with all the recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm, what’s working now on Facebook to increase engagement and build your fans.
  • Why you should treat your business’ social media like you would your own personal social media accounts.
  • We talk about the importance of being authentic, why if you’re not, you’re pretty much not going to be successful in social media.
  • We get into specific tactics for succeeding on Pinterest
  • And Tessa shares what social media tools she recommends for small businesses with little to no budget. Her answer here will likely surprise you. You are gonna LOVE this episode!

Episode Resources

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INSIDER SHOW NOTES: Red Bull Social Media Strategies

On Going Viral…

  • Instead of focusing on being viral, focus on creating a good social media strategy.
  • Be authentic. Stay true to who you are as a brand.
  • Create a spark within people.
  • Understand how the social media platforms work and how people use them.

On Creating a Social Strategy…

  • Define your goals and define your voice.
  • You can look at what other brands are doing, but stay authentic to what you want your brand to be for your customers.
  • Don’t just put something up because you can.
  • Take the time to research about the platforms make sure that it makes sense for your business objectives to be there.

On Best Practices in Social Media…

  • You have two parts to your business: What you do and who you are.
  • In social media – show, don’t tell.
  • If you sell people stuff, they’ll skip past it. If you show them something, then they’re more likely to interact with it.
  • A dead profile doesn’t reflect well on your business.
  • You don’t have to be on every single platform. Find the one that is aligned with your audience and your goal, and really go deeply on those platforms.

On Using Social from a Brand Perspective…

  • Put yourself in the place of your consumers.
  • People would more likely trust what a friend thinks of a brand rather than what the brand thinks of itself.
  • Instead of just pushing out content, have the users on top of the social media pyramid. Have them talk about your brand and your brand message.
  • Always think about the user experience/journey. Think about ways to empower your users to share and talk about your brand.

On Simplifying Content Creation…

  • Social is a very visual medium, so try to use photos or videos.
  • Great content doesn’t have to be costly, just be relevant and authentic.
  • Giving other people the spotlight will help create brand advocates for you.
  • If you have advocates, you don’t have to worry about content production.
  • Figure out how much time you want to spend on content production versus other parts of your social media campaign.
  • Make content production less intimidating by planning what you need to do instead of getting overwhelmed by it.

On Social’s Ever Changing Landscape…

  • Read, read, read.
  • Play, play, play.
  • Understanding the platform gives you the ability to be creative in the way you communicate with your consumers.
  • Read sites like Mashable to get an idea about changes in the various social media platforms.
  • Set up Google Alerts using keywords to get news on the platform you’re using.
  • Play around with the platform to understand how users are actually using it.
  • Don’t just read about it – be on it. You can’t understand how social is changing unless you’re there.
  • To save time on research, you can do a weekly catch-up.
  • Blogs will often have multiple stories on changes happening to a platform, so you can get an overview by just checking in once or twice a week.

On Engagement and Growing Your Audience in Facebook…

  • Read, play, and add in analytics.
  • Images, right now, are best in terms of engagement.
  • Look at your own newsfeed and see what’s being surfaced.
  • Understand Facebook’s business strategy have always matched their algorithm changes.
  • Facebook is moving in to a mobile strategy, so have something that will work well and is optimized for mobile.
  • Users interact more with short posts.
  • Ads are a maximum of 90 characters. So, posts with 90 characters or less would be better for Facebook to monetize, and these posts will be surfaced more on the newsfeed.
  • Have a system that will keep track of your posts – the day, time, type, like, shares, and comments.
  • When you rely on services like InSites, you tend to not pay as much attention to the data compared to manually doing a spreadsheet every day track your posts.

On Creating Brand Advocates…

  • Never pay for your advocates because, then, the message becomes just a sales pitch.
  • Find someone who is already visiting your business that you know is on social, and listen.
  • Listen to who’s talking about your brand and what they are doing, and reach out to them.
  • Somebody who comes in to your store is going to be a better brand advocate than just a random person who has a lot of followers.
  • Influence is circular and reciprocal.
  • If you’re authentic and influence someone who has a lot of followers, then your brand is valuable.
  • Build brand advocates rather than just looking for people who have a lot of followers.
  • Social is created for people and not for businesses. So approach your business as a person connecting with other people.
  • Ads ruin the user experience, so figure out how to get in to people’s newsfeed without doing sales pitch.

On Marketing Your Business…

  • Study the space. Explore and see what people are doing in that space.
  • Decide where you need to be in that space – pick a platform that will be strategic to your business.
  • Figure out your approach based on content publishing and encouraging people to talk about your business.
  • Take the time to create a content map and find which parts of your business you can encourage people to interact with.

On Building a Following on Pinterest…

  • If you’re on a platform and you want to build a following, you have to interact with people.
  • Try to post regularly.
  • Find your audience group and create boards that are of interest to them.
  • Create a story. Be an inspiration.
  • Pinterest is great for people looking for inspiration or those who want to buy in to a certain lifestyle.
  • Be tactical in your descriptions.  Use words that are descriptive and searchable.
  • Don’t be passive. If someone likes or repins your board, go their board and return the gesture.
  • The more you interact, the more you’ll start to get people to interact with you.
  • Find photos that work the best for your audience and your business.
  • Some brands shouldn’t be on Pinterest. You shouldn’t be on it just because it’s a new platform and everybody else is there.
  • Link your pictures to the appropriate parts of your site.

On Using Social Media Tools…

  • Use a Twitter client that you can get for free where you can set up searches based on keywords to see how people are talking about your business.
  • You don’t have to spend money on social.
  • The native platforms are often the best. Just spend some time learning about them and be organized on how you use them.
  • Although tools are there to make your life easier, they may not be best for your business’ social strategy.
  • Tools make it easier to push content out by a push of a button, but you end up just creating the same piece of content on every platform. So you’re not really listening and interacting.
  • Don’t over complicate things
  • You don’t need third-party platforms. You can get by and do cool things with the features that the existing platforms already have.

On Social Media Trends…

  • A lot of new platforms are coming out, especially around social T.V.
  • There’s a lot of consolidation going on. So, it’s important for businesses to evaluate if they really need to be on the new platform.
  • Consider whether your audience is best served by just staying on the more popular platforms.
  • Short-form video is popular right now, but like everything else, they all go back to content creation.
  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money, just create the right content.
  • There’s a big push to monetize.
  • Don’t get bullied in to paying. To be successful in social you just need to do things correctly and be smart with your strategy.

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