8 things I learned about the value of social media at #NeoCon

Social Media Director is somewhat of an elusive term—What makes someone an expert? Do they just tweet all day? And, for that matter, how do you embody a brand in 140 characters?

This week I took it upon myself to follow Kelsey, Doejo’s Social Media Director, around NeoCon—the largest architecture and design exposition, focusing on commercial interiors—to answer to these questions and find out the importance of being in the physical space when doing social media. Kelsey covered NeoCon for Contract Magazine, one of Doejo’s social media clients, and a vital industry magazine. Contract Magazine also partners with NeoCon to host the Best of NeoCon, an online awards competition.

Here’s what I learned:

1. It’s hard work

Social media is more stressful then one might think. In addition to the physical strain of running up, down and around the Merchandise Mart (a building a so big it has it’s own zip code) trying to cover NeoCon, the pressure of trying to capture every special little moment in real time can be overwhelming. Not an occupation for the shy or socially awkward, being a social media manager requires that you push to the front of the crowd with your iPhone camera ready. And network, network, network.

2. For almost any industry, there’s always room for social media

Here at Doejo, we think that a strong social media presence is essential to growing brand awareness and interacting with your users/ customers. NeoCon taught us that there is still a huge untapped market for social media at many companies out there, especially manufactures are still ignoring it.

“People want it, but don’t know how to teach themselves or understand what will work for their company specifically,” said Kelsey.

3. There’s more strategy behind the content than you may think

This is where carefully curated planning comes in. For Doejo’s social media clients, strategy documents are created before pitches. We find out what is important to the client, establish content do’s and don’ts and figure out what social media success means to them. We then apply a plan of action: it may be overseeing total community management and the day to day activity of their accounts, or teaching them the best practices of social media and sharing our techniques so we can confidently pass off the account.

4. It’s mini-marketing

Thanks to Twitter’s 140-character limit and the world’s growing short attention span, social media is essentially solving a lot of little problems. “Imagine you had to design something and push it out everyday. It has to be an extension of the brand in small blurbs that gets people to relate,” said Kelsey, when describing the thought process behind the content she pushes out. She asks herself questions like ‘How can we extend their brand?’ and “What can I do to make this product more appealing?’

5. The apps currently available are lacking

“They are either deep or wide, nothing that does both. There is no elegant solution to depth and breadth,” said Kelsey, referring to her need to use a combination of tools to manage the eight accounts she currently has linked to her mobile phone.

6. Timing matters

According to Kelsey, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the best time for social media; it is during that time she purposely posts things with good traction. What kind of content has good traction? It’s always evolving and depends on the client. For internal Doejo accounts, Kelsey knows something is a perfect fit when the office employees like it because we are an extension of the company and the Doejo brand. Other hits for Doejo social media include anything inspiring related to design, technology, creativity and Chicago.

7. Followers, it’s quality not quantity 

Social media is about building relationships and fostering engagement, not necessarily getting a high follower count. Kelsey strives to get people talking about and participating with our client’s brands and doesn’t pay as much attention to the number of followers as long as there’s high engagement. She builds a relationship with the current followers through friendly and informative @-replies.

8. Injecting personality and humor is key

Doejo thrives in a unique office environment and our social media outlets allow us to show off all of the interesting things that are going on here, giving the world a sneak peak into our company. One of the best qualities of social media is its ability to breathe life into any company. The best social media users capitalize on this and are always striving to show more about the company through social networking. One last tip? Post photos—they always have a high engagement.

Check out some of the photos Kelsey shot at NeoCon, courtesy of the Contract Magazine Instagram.

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