Social Media Marketer Spotlight Georgie Gayler-Thompson, Social Strategist, The Marketing Store, and Social Director, LocaSocial
In this social media marketer spotlight we ask Georgie Gayler-Thompson what life is like as a social marketer `and delve into her fave tools and campaigns.
Georgie is Social Media Strategist at The Marketing Store; a consumer engagement agency, and owner of her own company LocaSocial; working with SMEs to improve their social media presence. She has extensive experience in social media having worked in the industry for over 9 years across a range of industries and organisations. These include major theme park Chessington World of Adventures Resort, the Heroes Rugby Challenge at Twickenham Stadium and working within agency environments executing campaigns on behalf of global technology, food, lifestyle and travel brands, including lastminute.com and McDonald's.
Brand / Agency / Freelance
Agency and Freelance (LocaSocial is my own company, a small agency for small/local businesses and how I operate as a freelancer)
10 years experience
What does your day to day work consist of?
One of the joys of working in social media is that every day is different; every role or freelance contract I've worked in has provided me with fresh new challenges daily. Most recently, my focus has been at The Marketing Store, where I was working on the social media strategy for the MONOPOLY at McDonald's campaign. As an agency, we execute all of the logistics, brand identity and social media communications for the promotion, so it's a really exciting project to work on. For the social media side of things, it involves working with multiple other agencies and internal stakeholders to create a WOW strategy that will grab the attention of the public. On any given day, I could be working with the creative concept team, the strategists, designers or the creative technologists on a crazy new idea that we have, or, I could be running my own research through social listening platforms and analysing the performance data from the previous campaigns. If I'm not working on MONOPOLY I'm working on pitches for new business, helping teams develop "social ready" creative concepts or social listening projects.
What are the challenges you face as a social media marketer?
Despite social media being a fundamental part of our daily lives (often without us even realising), I still find that there is a fundamental lack of understanding about what it entails. I have delivered many training sessions to individuals and companies of various sizes, and when I go through the basics of a social media strategy, and the thought that is required to go behind content I’m, more often than not, met with surprise and a bewildered look of “I had no idea there was that much to it”. It’s also, somehow, seen as a magical solution to fix any marketing problems, when, if anything, it’s becoming even more complex requiring significant investment and thought. A huge amount of my role is still educating colleagues and peers about the best way to integrate social media into existing campaigns, or deliver social media led strategies.
Are there any social media tools you use to make your job easier?
Lots! For scheduling and posting, I am a huge fan of ContentCal, it’s super simple to use and very friendly pricing wise for smaller businesses.
When thinking about my own channels, I’ve always used Buffer for scheduling and finding content, and Canva or Photoshop for image creation or animations.
Larger companies or enterprise solutions, I’m yet to find one that rivals Falcon.io for me. It’s a simpler set-up than some of the other well-used enterprise tools and, I think, delivers everything needed. I think there’s a danger of ‘data dazzle’, where you get so excited by all the data you CAN get from some tools, you don’t think about what you’ll actually be able to use.
There are so many changes in social media, where do you go to get the latest information and stay on top of your game?
Google Alerts! I get emails into my inbox every day and have subscribed to a number of sites, including Social Media Examiner, Buffer and Hootsuite blogs. I’m a member of a very active Social Media Professionals group on Facebook, and I also use LinkedIn as an information source, I really enjoy seeing my own contacts and network write regularly about changes and their opinions or thoughts on the changes. It’s such a rapidly evolving industry it’s impossible to keep on top of it all yourself.
For someone looking to get into a social media role, where would you advise them to start?
I would start by joining industry events that are widely available on MeetUp or Eventbrite to get a feel for the industry, meet people to network and build some connections to learn more about different agency or company environments. I started in social media in 2009 and consider myself more of a ‘generalist’ but that’s increasingly rare these days, with more specialisms coming into the mix. For example, being a PPC specialist requires very different skillsets to copywriting, or being a strategist, so it’s important for anyone looking to get into social media to think about what they’d like to specialise in, or, find organisations where they can still go that generalist route.
What's been your best social media success story to date (Can be your own or client) and why?
My favourite success story is from when I worked at Chessington World of Adventures Resort. It was 2015, and it had been a challenging year where we needed to focus on the Zoo aspect of the Resort as opposed to the Rides, so in the PR and social media department we were thinking up positive, feel-good or funny stories or stunts. We took a wander around the park, and noticed how selfies with the animals were increasingly all the rage, so we put some signs up across the Resort by key animal habitats warning guests that “Animals photobomb in this area”. They got some attention by real guests, and people that we planted in the Resort who started putting comments and querying these signs on our social media channels. We then played on this by faking a complaint letter that had been written into the Resort about animals photobombing their family photos, explaining why the signs had been put up. With no paid support, it reached over 1million people, was shared over 500 times and achieved over 500 comments – the highest performing organic social media post to date (by a significant factor). The story was printed into the Telegraph and featured across online news sites within hours. It was a perfect blend of social media and PR… Social PR!
Finally, has been your favourite social media campaign (Big or Small) this year so far and why?
I like any campaign that instils a ‘feel good’ factor, and the #BodyProudMums from Mothercare did exactly that for me. It relates to me on a very personal level, having only recently given birth to my 6 week old daughter, but that’s the brilliance of it – every new Mum out there who may be feeling confused or upset by the changes in their body can relate to it. The images on Instagram with #BodyProudMums are amazing and I think it’s the kind of campaign that has real longevity and can make a difference to new Mum’s for years to come.
Where to find Georgie: