Social Media Manager 101
In this interview, I talk with Reid Travis (Social Media Manager – Panchero’s Mexican Grill) about how he got started in social media and how he leveraged social media to land his current job as a social media manager. Reid represents the “Millennial” generation that is very heavily influencing a shift in the way we search for jobs, get found for jobs and market our businesses. His work as the Social Media Manager for Panchero’s Mexican Grill is a shining example of how to leverage social media as a “tool” to build relationships online that lead to a positive brand experience and an army of loyal online advocates.
Meet Reid Travis
Reid Travis is a corn-fed, home grown Iowa native. He recently graduated from Wartburg college in Waverly, Iowa with a degree in communication arts, emphasis in public relations, and a minor in business. Directly after graduating Reid took a position with Panchero’s Mexican Grill, an Iowa-based quick serve mexican chain, as their social media manager. Already an enormous tech geek, the position of a social media manager fit in perfectly with his professional background in communications and personal interests of web2.0 and anything that lights up and makes noise. In his spare time Reid pursues his passions of photography, music and biking.
Social Media Interview
1. How did you first get started in social media which led to you working for Panchero’s Mexican Grill?
It all kind of ties together. I think I picked up Twitter in 2008 and that was my first dive into social media outside of Facebook. When I first started using Facebook it was exclusive to colleges and as that grew, I knew this was something that I really enjoyed. Connecting with people despite geographical boundaries is quite cool.
So, I was doing an internship out in Denver, Colorado and sat in on a couple of interviews by Peter Shankman. He is huge into social media and he kept talking about Twitter. Being in PR I figured that if he is using this as a resource, maybe I should be too. So, I picked up on it to see what it was like and started experimenting and I instantly fell in love. The ability to connect with celebrities, business professionals and other people that have similar interests was hugely interesting to me.
As I nursed along my social media presence, when I was graduating, I figured this would be an interesting way to make business contents. I figured, I’d met all these people over the years and maybe they can help me. And, sure enough, one day out of the blue I ended up getting a Direct Message from a Wartburg alumni saying “You seem very in tune with social media, did you know that Panchero’s has an internship position as a social media manager”. They were asking people to apply for the position via social media to say why you’d make a good social media manager for Panchero’s. Instantly, I thought that was very cool that they were advertising only via their blog and Twitter, so you had to kind of know the brand a little bit to know this position was available. I thought it was a very interesting way of reaching people already connected to the brand. So, I applied and after 2 interviews I was offered the position and have been having an amazing time since exploring social media on the business side along with developing my personal brand.
2. You have you face on the Twitter icon for Panchero’s Twitter account which really puts a person behind their brand. They have really empowered you to engage on behalf of the company in that way. Is there a reason you did this?
We actually used a social media strategy agency called LavaRow and that was something they really pushed. If you are going to be engaging on behalf of a brand and you have one person in charge, you should market that and tell people that they are always going to be talking to the same person every time they communicate with the company. We really like to keep the message consistent.
3. Do you have a strategy on how you manage your personal and business accounts?
I try to separate them as well as I can. I have had a couple people try to friend request me on Facebook because they found out about me through Panchero’s. Generally, I try to direct people to connect with me on Twitter and Linkedin, but Facebook I try to keep just my close friends and personal contacts.
There is actually no mention on my personal Twitter bio that I work for Panchero’s. I try to keep that just me. I try my best to keep them separate and not cross streams, but obviously, if you google my name it comes up as both because I’ve tied my name to both personal and business accounts. There is only so much separation you can do, you just have to be aware that when you are online, regardless, everyone is seeing it so you need to present yourself well.
4. Do you have a Linkedin Group for Panchero’s and how do you use it?
We just started messing around with a Linkedin business profile, but rather than targeting consumers, it is more focused on communicating to potential franchisees and making sure we are communicating the right things to people that would be interested in purchasing a franchise. So, that is a whole different community than what we would find on Twitter or Facebook for Panchero’s.
5. Are there any particular tools you use to manage your social accounts?
Obviously for work it’s important to manage everything, otherwise I’d go crazy with all the multi-tasking. Personally, I have always used Tweetie. For business I use Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to run continuous keyword searches on things related to Panchero’s to ensure I don’t miss things said about the company that are not directly @ replied.
6. Are there any particular online resources you use to keep up with social media trends?
I think an obvious one is Mashable. They are a great aggregator. If you are ready blogs, its likely that Mashable has covered the topics being discussed. I think they do a great job of keeping posts concise and to the point.
7. Do you have a social media WOW moment?
I have had a lot of WOW moments via social media. I still get excited when a brand talks to my personal account and then I realize after that happens that I do this every day to people. When they mention Panchero’s, I talk to them.
A big one that sticks out for me is that I met a couple of people via Twitter that all live within an hour drive. We probably wouldn’t have met if not for social media but we got introduced through common Twitter friends. We wondered how other people use social media to make these connections?
So, we decided to see if we could localize a social media network so naturally, we went to a Ning network where you can create your own social network. We were playing around with it for a while and came up with ideas on what our goals were. One night we were sitting in a coffee shop and thought, why not launch it. So, we pushed the button, launched it and promoted it with our own personal accounts. When we woke up the next morning there were about 40-50 people that had joined overnight. We were floored that it caught on so quickly.
8. Do you have any advice for business owners or anyone else just getting started in social media?
I think the same goes for business and personal use. Way too many people jump in without a plan. My advice is that you wouldn’t just go start a business without a definite business plan. So, figure out how you want to use it, why you are using it, set goals and define what you’d like to get out of it so you know what it is you are doing before you dive into all of these social networks.
Once you get on to social media, take time to listen. Find people you want to listen to and connect with and listen to what they have to say and how they use the tools. Make sure it’s a network you are supposed to be in and that you can add value to. Once you’ve been there for a while, it’s ok to chime in on the conversation and connect with people. A lot of times this is done backwards where people get involved and immediately start spraying information and then listen for feedback.
Connect With Reid
Current Occupation: Social Media Manager at Panchero’s Mexican Grill
Skype Name: reidbtravis
Business Website/Blog: http://www.pancheros.com — http://www.bobmyburrito.com
Facebook (Personal): http://www.facebook.com/reidbtravis
Facebook (Fan Page) http://www.facebook.com/pancheros
Twitter (Personal): http://twitter.com/reidbtravis
Twitter (Business): http://twitter.com/pancheros