The lines between long-form content and social media marketing are becoming blurrier each day. Social networks now allow for native video viewing, live video and even some long-form content. They have essentially become their own content platforms competing with blogs and brand websites.
Facebook alone is on pace to hit approximately 2 billion users this year and other social networks are growing at a rapid pace as well.
To better understand the role that social media marketing plays in today’s digital world, I decided to pick the brain of one of today’s top social media leaders, Justin Levy. Justin is the Director of Social Marketing at Citrix and in addition to being an incredibly talented marketer, he’s very open to sharing what he knows to help other marketers learn and grow.
Justin is part of the star-studded cast that will be presenting at Content Marketing World in September and provided great insights into his favorite parts of his role at Citrix, top opportunities for marketers today and a preview into what attendees will learn from his session at Content Marketing World.
What does your role as Director of Social Marketing at Citrix entail?
I oversee global social media at Citrix. That includes setting the strategy for our community management across the company’s corporate and core channels (internationally), management of paid social spend, social governance across the company, setting social media policy and overseeing the governance over all other accounts.
I am a member of the corporate communications leadership team. That means that me and my team are responsible for all social aspects of our communications motions.
Additionally, my team is responsible for end-to-end management of the corporate blog and employee social advocacy. That means we are reviewing every blog post and working with internal authors to analyze post performance.
What do you like best about your role at Citrix?
When I think about it, there are two major areas of my role at Citrix that I thoroughly enjoy:
Exposing People to the Power of Social Media
I particularly enjoy developing relationships with internal team members and exposing them to the true power of social media. Social media is still so basic for so many people. The reality is that so many people are still operating at a 101 level but may not even realize it. I try to help others see that the social media universe is broader than simply “being on Twitter”.
Exploring Diversity & Inclusion
Everything at Citrix surrounding diversity and inclusion is led by our executive leadership team, including our CEO and Chief People Officer. They feel very strongly about talking about diversity and inclusion and what we’re doing here at Citrix along with our corporate citizenship in the communities where we have a presence.
We have a large customer conference every year called Citrix Synergy and have always been able to integrate planning for this conference with our corporate citizenship team. This year though, we came up with a plan to give back to the Heart of Florida United Way (Orlando).
United Way wasn’t sure how much they would receive but the max we had communicated was that they would receive $30,000 for the organization. Their Chief Marketing Officer decided to come to the conference and receive the check. We were actually able to raise over $52,000 for their organization and you could tell that their team was touched by the effort.
When you can impact someone like that in your job, especially one that is social, it’s a great feeling.
How have the other positions you’ve held in your career impacted how you approach digital marketing today?
I have always had a viewpoint.
Before coming to Citrix I ran an early social media agency with Chris Brogan right around when he came out with his NYT Bestseller, Trust Agents.
What do you think is one opportunity that many marketers are not taking advantage of today?
I have always had this feeling that people in a social media positions should align with other team members in legal, security, IT and PR.
Too often, teams come in and think that they are going to run around and create images and do whatever they’re going to do (and ask for forgiveness later). That approach can often get them in a lot of trouble, and put the company at risk.
One of the first things I did when I started at Citrix was to review the social governance policy and speak to the legal team so that I could start to understand what was considered right or wrong for our brand. One of the very early conversations became a running joke that “I’ll teach them social media and they’ll teach me legal”. I also try to ensure that I provide them updates from legal decisions that are made around social media because I don’t expect them to be on the hunt for social changes. This helps us determine as a team if we are protected or need to make changes.
In addition to working with the legal team, I also make sure to align with our securities application team. That way we can keep them updated on what is going on from a security perspective. The reason being that social media and email are often the places where security breaches happen which can expose the company to unnecessary risk.
By taking these steps when I first started, these relationships have blossomed and provided my team and I with some air-cover.
What is the biggest social media marketing mistake that you see many marketers making today? How can it be fixed?
One of the things I see social media marketing teams do at times and I don’t think aligns with their legal teams on is, using GIFs that they just find online.
We stay away from them because there is potential copyright infringement with GIFs, memes and even photography.
I am not willing to expose our international brand to legal issues over a photo.
What are some tips for marketers to become more savvy in utilizing social media as a means to connect with industry influencers? What shouldn’t they do?
Many of the people I choose to work with (like the team at TopRank Marketing) are people that I have an existing relationship with. I find that these people do a great job of reaching out for my insights on topics that they know I am knowledgeable about. I also enjoy working with teams that help me edit where needed, promote the content we created together and make it easy to share.
On the flipside, when someone tags me (and 500 other marketers) in a Facebook post or spams my social media, I don’t respond because it’s not genuine.
Do you have any advice for other marketers who are making the transition from content creation to a marketing leadership role like yours?
The most important piece is to make sure that you are aligned. You can get in the weeds when it’s the right time, but you have to consider the broader strategy. Does it integrate with other teams and company leadership?
If you work on the strategy from that vantage point then you will have alignment that will help determine what you should work on, and how you can empower other members of your team.
With our program, we take the time to custom write the type of tweets and types of updates we would like them to share out. We take the time to provide them with content.
You also have to realize that things can change quickly internally and externally. So while you should have a content calendar to guide you, there are times when higher priority items come in and everything that you had planned changes.
In your presentation at Content Marketing World you’ll be sharing the insights into how your team at Citrix overhauled your Wikipedia presence. Without giving it all away, what are 3 things attendees will learn from your session?
First of all, you need to know what you’re working with. That requires completing an audit of your presence across Wikipedia. To be honest, when we started we didn’t know what ours looked like.
Next, you need to prioritize updating your main company page. Everything else comes secondary to that.
Wikipedia is an entirely different language. You have to know how to work technically within the site and with their editors to develop consistency.
Make sure that you have someone whether they are on your team or an outside resource, that can work within Wikipedia’s guidelines.
Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2017?
Joe Pulizzi always gives a fantastic overview at the start of the event. He typically shares an inspiring look at the future based on the most recent research conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
Three of my other favorite speakers are Scott Stratten, Mitch Joel and Ann Handley. Each one of them is dynamic and fantastic in their own way. Seeing them speak is a very special experience, because they impart deep knowledge on the topics they’re speaking on because that is what they’re passionate about.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us Justin!
If you’d like to learn more from Justin and 14 of his fellow Content Marketing World speakers, check out the final eBook in our series, In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey.