As a college freshman in 2004, I was among the first students to experience college as a member of the social media world. Although I admit, I did first confuse Facebook with my college’s printed picture book of the new freshman class – now it is hard to imagine life without it. As the popularity and dependence of Facebook grew rapidly, it was apparent that this digital platform would have a major impact on the social world. I can distinctly remember the uproar when Facebook added the news feed feature. Many were appalled at the thought of their personal information blasted out for all to see, however, it swiftly became the new normal. Ironically, people now enjoy broadcasting their opinions and pictures and are validated by the increased number of views of their posts. As I graduated college, I knew these social platforms would continue to play a large part in my social life, however, what I didn’t realize was the role it would have in my professional life.
Upon graduation, I began working in advertising sales for a division of Time Inc. in San Diego, where I was exposed to the advertising side of social media. As an account executive, I developed and implemented digital advertising campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google, and many other websites and platforms. My work was purely focused in producing and executing the most effective advertising campaigns for my clients. I was constantly reviewing consumer targeting capabilities, conversion rates, CPMs, ad unit effectiveness, and creative variations and recommending the best combination for my client’s goals. Throughout my six years in advertising, it was impressive to see how quickly the efficiency and success of digital advertising grew. Although many underestimated its power – digital ad spending is now on track to surpass TV this year, according to eMarketer.
I was and continue to be astounded by the amount of information and precision that is possible on these platforms. Not only do they have the ability to target consumers with specific interests and geographic locations, they are also able to target down to the individual level and can do one to one matching of consumer lists. Pretty amazing, right?!
Although digital advertising is extremely fascinating, it really only scratches the surface of all the possibilities of the social media world and I quickly learned I wanted to understand more. While the experience allowed me to gain a deep knowledge of many digital platforms, it sparked my interest in how social media affects business strategy and consumer behavior. I ultimately wanted to be involved with more than just the execution of a brand’s advertising campaign. I am most interested in how to use social media and digital technologies to better understand, engage, and market to consumers.
To explore these interests, I started my MBA at Boston College last fall. One of the first classes I took as a graduate student was Professor Gallaugher’s Tech Trek class where I got an in-depth look at how different companies – Facebook, Google, Uber, Airbnb, etc. – used digital technology to disrupt industries. We also had the opportunity to visit each of these companies and speak to BC Alums. It was a once in a lifetime experience that helped me further my knowledge of digital business.
All of this has brought me to my most recent (and fun!) experience in my social media journey – my internship at Hasbro. This past summer, I was able to continue to feed my curiosity of social media through interning on the Transformers Global Marketing team. On the Transformers team, I worked closely with the digital marketing team who managed all of the Transformers social media channels. One of the main priorities was to ensure we were effectively engaging each of the different consumer segments on the proper social channel – not an easy task! Fans on Snapchat wanted different content than the ones on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We constantly tested different types of content and monitored performance to better understand the nuances of each audience. Another priority was fan engagement, where we would run contests and campaigns (see the fan voted toy – Trypticon below) to encourage fan interaction with the brand and help us gather feedback. These campaigns not only allowed to us hear first hand what our fans wanted, but they also gave our fans the power to influence the future of the brand, resulting in increased engagement and sales.
Although I have had many experiences thus far in my social media journey, I have only just begun to understand all of the complexities of the ever changing social media world. I continue to be intrigued by the many aspects of social media and digital business that I have yet to learn and understand. Throughout this semester, I am especially excited to continue to grow and expand my knowledge of how social media influences corporate strategy, marketing, and consumer behavior. It is crazy to think about how much has changed since I first created my Facebook account 12 years ago, but now it is hard to imagine life without social media.