Tags:   +   +   +   +

Companies look to social media professionals to develop and implement strategies that share the right messages, at the right time, on the right platforms.

Spearheading these efforts at Stern is our “Jack of all Trades” Social Media Marketing Specialist Alan Helimsky, who executes social media strategies, oversees creative design and builds communities for brands in both B2B and B2C industries, ensuring a solid foundation for brands to stand upon.

In the following Q&A, Alan dives into his background and shares insights on how to successfully utilize social media:

Can you discuss your background and how you came to lead Stern’s social media capability? 

I majored in Digital Media: Film TV and Radio at Rider University—and explored a bit of everything with stints at Rider’s award-winning student-run radio station as a Rider Ice Hockey radio commentator and a video editor and on-camera “host” for the school’s television station. I took a wide variety of classes ranging from digital marketing to sports journalism to traditional public relations. This skillset landed me my first job out of college as a Marketing Assistant for a sports and fitness complex, where I was able to manage social media profiles, create daily video and graphic content, and devise social media strategies to help boost registrations for their various sports and fitness amenities. In my years there, I honed my craft and was later given the opportunity to join the Stern Strategy team. These diverse experiences came in handy, as social media requires an eclectic skill set.

Why is social media an essential component of a successful PR and marketing campaign? How do you foresee the role of social media evolving in the future?

Social media is essential for PR and marketing campaigns because it provides access to a vast, accessible audience and enables real-time communication and connection. This extensive reach helps build brand awareness and fosters direct engagement with target audiences and markets. The role of social media is always evolving and will evolve more quickly as time goes on, driven by technological advancements, changing user behaviors and emerging trends. We’re seeing it today with AI (artificial intelligence) integrations like “Grok” on X and “My AI” on Snapchat. AR (augmented reality) integrations on Snapchat, TikTok, and Reels, as you can see with their multitude of filters, are enhancing customer experiences by allowing you to create personalized, immersive brand interactions.

How do you integrate social media with other marketing and PR efforts to create a cohesive strategy?

Like many of my colleagues, I believe that social media, PR, and digital marketing should be an integrated package deal. In today’s digital age, taken on its own, PR can only generate a limited duration of attention and it’s the job of social media marketers and managers to come up with creative ways to hold people’s attention and get them to act in ways that help you achieve your goals.

When a media opportunity turns into a media placement, a checklist forms in my head. To get as much attention as possible, we need to make sure social posts are covered. We need to post it on the website as a blog post that links directly to the placement. We need to send an email newsletter that holds the placement. We time these deliverables so that people find the information at the right moment and extend the life of the placement with social posts presenting the content in different engaging formats, tied to the ongoing news cycle and trending topics.

Can you share an example of a successful social media campaign and what made it successful?

There are so many great ones out there, but a recent personal favorite is what Sesame Street did when they essentially turned their world-famous characters like Elmo and Oscar the Grouch into “creators.”

One evening I was scrolling through my X feed, and I saw a tweet from Elmo. It simply said “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” Later on, I realized that I wasn’t the only one surprised to see my old childhood Muppet pal. Over 218 million people viewed the tweet and many of them wittily responded to Elmo with brutally honest reactions about how they were doing.

Of course, I had to join the fun!

A big reason for this campaign’s success is the fact that these characters actually engaged back. Elmo didn’t offer me a Dunkin Donuts gift card for my response like I was hoping, but he did create a lot of memorable interactions with fans by responding. The Muppets also engaged with each other, creating some funny moments.

Overall, this can be attributed to the fact that people nowadays want to hear from the people, or in this case main characters, behind a company rather than the company itself.

Can you tell us about Stern’s specialization in expanding the social media presence of organizations to the channels of individual executives? How does this factor into a brand’s success?

Individual executives play a huge role in the success of their organizations’ marketing channels, including on social media. As Elmo taught us above, people are more likely to have meaningful online connections and conversations with other people… or Muppets.

CEOs and business executives are great candidates to become company representatives and thought leaders on social media. Their content will feel more authentic, and their audience is more likely to engage because of personal connections and relevancy. And ultimately, social platforms tend to give preferential treatment to content coming from individuals rather than brands. According to LinkedIn, 80% of employees say they would rather work for a CEO who engages with people on social media.

Stern specializes in distinguishing companies in their industries by level of engagement and personalization in the eyes of potential customers. We audit industry peers to see what they are posting about and what performs well, identify the right people to be the company voices, and then work to balance their executive distinctiveness with consistent messaging and posting.

What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you use to measure the success of social media campaigns? How do you measure the return on investment (ROI) to communicate with stakeholders?

Engagement rate is a great way to see the percentage of your audience that interacts with your content. We often look at it on a per-post level because that gives us a better look at what content types and formats people engage with the most. We also look at impressions and reach to see how often content is being displayed, follower growth over time, and clicks on links within the content we share.

We then consolidate this data into analytics reports that communicate what’s working, what isn’t, and what we can do to continuously optimize companies’ and executives’ social presence. Our data-driven approach means every tactic is measured and clearly communicated to stakeholders.

Why should organizations and executives choose Stern for social media support?

Organizations and executives should choose Stern for social media support because we have a deep understanding of how to leverage social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok to support broader communications efforts and achieve real business impact for our clients. An integrated social media strategy is critical for any effective PR and communications plan today.

We are pros at combining creative messaging and content with data-driven insight to identify optimal platforms, hashtags, influencers, and content formats to amplify your brand, promote events, support thought leadership, and get your message in front of the audiences that matter most.

As a top PR agency skilled in media relations, we understand that social media must align with your overarching communications strategy—and our comprehensive skillset allows us to maximize synergy across PR, marketing, and advertising campaigns.

Our savvy strategists leverage data-driven insight while holding onto the strategic vision and creativity that will make your brand stand out.

If you’re searching for an experienced social media PR agency that will deliver real business value and elevate your social media game, reach out to inquiries@sternstrategy.com.

Get in touch today to learn more!

Strategic Social Media: A Foundation for PR Success was last modified: June 26th, 2024 by Brian Sherry