Given that roughly half of the world’s population uses social media, it’s no surprise that maintaining a social presence has become a central part of communications, branding, and marketing efforts. But not all businesses leverage social media or use it properly. As algorithms change, consumer tastes and habits change, and apps are updated – communicators must constantly reset the rules of what works and doesn’t work on social media for their organization.
Recently, I reached out to Kirk Wilson, Consultant, Content Marketing, Social Media and Sponsorship at Lincoln Financial Group to ask him a few questions about social media communications. Wilson will be a panelist speaking at Ragan and PR Daily’s upcoming social media conference to be held in person at Disney World, Orlando, September 21-23.
[RELATED: Join us Sept. 21-23 in Disney World for our Social Media Conference]
Read on to learn more about Wilson’s background, the role of social media and his plans at this year’s annual conference to educate other communicators to drive their own success.
Ragan: Why did you get into social media communication?
Kirk Wilson: I graduated with a degree in strategic communications and public relations and did internships across the spectrum of communications, from PR agencies to radio, and after graduation I was in a advertising agency in Philadelphia where I started taking charge of highly social projects. I then landed at Lincoln about a year later and really enjoyed taking on a few different roles here, but social and content is really the bulk of what I’ve done here. I’ve had other amazing opportunities with other clients in the entertainment industry, where I managed their social channels and really saw the power of social media in such a different industry. Although I’m still pretty early in my career, I think social is only going to get bigger and be something I still want to have my hand in, as far as communications and brand go.
Daily Ragan/PR: What do you think is the most important part of a social media communicator’s role in an organization?
kW: Social media has completely redefined the role of communications in any organization. The role of the social media communicator is one of a mix of so many other roles ranging from public relations/communication to brand reputation and advertising. I think the most important part of their role is understanding the customer and giving them the content they want and need to see – to continue building that relationship.
Ragan: Why should communicators embrace social media to build their brand and an audience?
kW: For starters, it’s free. You create an account and start building. Even if you don’t have a budget to support paid content, an organization — especially a new one — needs to have a presence on every social platform your audiences are on. You can also learn a lot about your potential audience/customer through your social media which will directly affect your business.
Ragan: What tips or tricks can you share for organizations to get the most out of their social media communications?
kW: If you are in an organization that has a media budget and your audience is on social media, you should spend some of your money on paid content on social media. At Lincoln, our social team falls under our advertising and corporate branding strategy – which is why we have the budget to take an “always on” approach to promoting our content directly to the right targets. We always try to educate our potential customers on why they should speak to their finance professional and purchase a specific Lincoln product – and those people don’t always follow us, so payment helps us get our best content in front of them to inspire them.
Ragan: What do you see as the next thing for social media communications? What should organizations do now to stay ahead of the trends?
kW: I think organizations need to stop sleeping on new platforms, like TikTok. Everyone said just about a year ago that TikTok was for their teenagers to make dance videos, but now it really is the fastest growing and best way to gain an audience. Organizations need to test the waters there because I think it’s only going to get bigger. There is space for everyone on this platform.
Ragan: At this year’s Ragan and PR Daily social media conference, you’re part of a panel discussing social media campaigns and success stories. Can you give our readers a taste of what they can expect to hear from you?
kW: I’m going to talk about a campaign we had a lot of success with last year that might not be exactly the type of content you expect from a financial services company. Those in the Philadelphia area may know Lincoln as the naming rights partner of the Philadelphia Eagles home stadium, Lincoln Financial Field. So, to make the millions of Eagles fans across the country more aware of what we do as an organization, we’ve created a social campaign. That’s all I’ll say about it now!
If you want to learn new ideas and strategies for social media communication, join us at Ragan’s Social Media Conference and PR Daily, when speakers from TikTok, Volkswagen, Intel, Facebook and more will share their ideas and their successes. Register today!