Kristy Bolsinger is the Social Media Marketing Strategist at RealNetworks, primarily for the GameHouse.com team. Her job falls in the online marketing and customer acquisition group — a fairly unique place for the “social media” person to sit.
One problem a lot of companies have is deciding who does what with social media. How does GameHouse manage this?
For the most part it’s easy — there are very few of us. I’m the only true social media person. We do have a community manager who handles several specific games on Facebook and a dedicated member of the customer service team who handles CS in forums and the like. Aside from that it’s just me.
We operate with a strong focus on KPIs so nearly every individual in the organization has the same goal. I have also spent a lot of energy building up unofficial teams in our organization for a variety of tasks from creating blog content to evangelizing on other sites.
What tools are you using to manage your social accounts and track the growth and effectiveness of your social activities?
I don’t have a huge budget but I want real information and solid data, so I’m very picky about which tools I choose to spend money on. I’m even pickier about the free ones because time is just as precious a resource as money some days.
I use many of the tools in the Raven suite. Aaaaand I’m not just saying that (Girl Scout promise). The Facebook addition you all just made is invaluable. I’ve also been a longtime user of the Social Mention integration you have. I’m not a fan of automatic sentiment analysis so this tool is perfect — it just pulls in the mentions of specific terms from across the web and allows me to review and rate them.
I love CoTweet. It’s not my favorite Twitter client for single account usage, but it does a great job with multiple accounts and users.
Row Feeder has to be one of the most exciting tools in my belt at the moment. It’s so simple but the possibilities are endless. It’s a raw feed of tweets and/or Facebook posts based on a specific keyword or hashtag exported into a Google doc. So simple — but once you get in there you’d be surprised at the kind of analysis you can do with raw data like that.
One of the most important tools I use, though, is our site’s analytics suite. Knowing exactly how my social media efforts are affecting traffic to our site is critical information. Regardless of which analytics package you use, being familiar with it is a vital component for social. Vital.
What is GameHouse doing to make itself unique in the social space?
We spend a lot of time engaging with our customer base. It’s not unique to GameHouse, but it’s not as common as you would think. I’ve worked incredibly hard to build personal relationships with the customers who engage with us in the social space. I respond every time. Thanking them for reaching out — even if it is to complain. Yep. I thank them for their complaints. How else would we know what they’re thinking?
Success for us comes down to those relationships.
You wrote an awesome article on Social Fresh about how to conduct a social media audit. What’s the most common issue you find when auditing someone’s social media campaign?
Thanks!! I really enjoyed writing that article — glad it was useful to someone other than me and my cat.
The most rampant problem I run into when doing audits for clients (outside of my job at GameHouse) has to do with activity on their social profiles. So many businesses set up a Facebook or Twitter account, check it once every day or so, maybe drop a link into a status update and call it a [social] day. There really is so much more than that to it, and it takes more time and conscious effort.
I also notice a lack of understanding about how the sites really work and how to optimize your presence. Twitter profiles without urls and complete bios. Facebook pages without custom urls. No use of rich tabs. A complete lack of any analytics or tracking. Many of them are small things (except for tracking and analytics!), but add them up and it presents an un-finished appearance to the consumer.
As current social networks evolve and new networks grow, how do you decide where to spend your time?
It really comes down to where your customers are and what your goals are. There are staples, right? Like Facebook and Twitter at this point are staples for most marketers. They’re the baseline “have-to-be-theres,” but there are others that are more niche. Learning about those and your customer will help you find the ones that you should be investing in – and conversely, those you shouldn’t be.
There isn’t any tool that will determine this for you. This is about straight-up marketing. I do recommend Knowem.com, though, for a resource in this discussion. Not only will it protect your brand name on all sites whether you want to “be” there or not, but it also provides a very comprehensive list of social sites for you to begin analyzing.
Where do you find inspiration for content?
Everywhere. I’ve gotten some of my best ideas walking through the park and driving down the road. Of course, paying attention to what gets traction on sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon also has paid dividends creatively. That has a lot to do with learning what makes people tick. And by tick, I really mean click and link.
Remember there are humans on the other end consuming what you’re putting out there. What gets YOU interested? What gets YOU motivated to share and link?
Tap into what gets the humans in your organization excited as well. Turning their passion for what they do into interesting and relevant material can be one of the best ways to create quality content.
Is there an up-and-coming social network that you think everyone should have their eye on?
There’s a pretty decent chance it doesn’t exist yet.
I am noticing a trend, though, where users create and share content in a variety of places and their contacts aggregate this on their site of choice. It’s becoming a giant social web of sharing and creating. So perhaps that’s where we are going — where the content you’re exposed to relies more on who you’re connected to than where it is located. We shall see.
Find Kristy Bolsinger regularly at Social Fresh in her column Bottom Line Social, semi-regularly at the GameHouse blog, every so often at KristyBolsinger.com and a soon-to-be-announced ‘venue’ that she’ll be sure to update us about. Feel free to hit her up on Twitter (@Kristy) or via email.