Considering about half the world’s population uses social media, it’s no surprise that maintaining a social presence has become central to communications, branding and marketing efforts. But not all companies are tapping into social media or using it the correct way. As algorithms change, consumer tastes and habits shift, and apps are updated — communicators must constantly reset the rules of what works and doesn’t on social 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 being held in person at Disney World, Orlando September 21-23.
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 fellow communicators in driving their own success.
Ragan: Why did you get into social media communications?
Kirk Wilson: I graduated with a degree in Strategic Communication and Public Relations and had internships across the communications spectrum from PR agencies to radio, and after graduation, I was at an ad agency in Philly where I started taking on projects that were heavily social based. I then landed at Lincoln about a year later and have really enjoyed taking on a few different hats here, but social and content is really the bulk of what I’ve been doing here. I’ve had some other incredible opportunities with other clients in the entertainment industry, where I’ve managed their social channels and really saw the power of social in such a different industry. While I’m still pretty early on in my career, I do think social is going to only get bigger and be something I always want to have my hand in, when it comes to communications and brand.
Ragan: 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 social media communicator’s role is that of a mix of so many other roles from PR/communication to brand reputation, to advertising. I think the most important part of their role is understanding the customer and giving them content they want and need to see — to keep 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 just start building. Even if you don’t have a budget to support paid content, an organization — especially a new one — should be on all the social platforms that your audiences are on. You can learn so much about your potential audience/customer through your social channels as well — which will directly affect your business.
Ragan: What tips or advice can you share so that organizations can make the most of their social media communications?
KW: If you are in an organization that has a media budget, and your audience is on social, then you should put some of your dollars toward paid content on social. At Lincoln, our social team falls under our Corporate Advertising and Brand Strategy — which is why we have the budget to take an “always on” approach to promoting our content directly to the right targets. We are always trying to educate our potential customers on why they should talk to their financial professional and purchase a specific product from Lincoln — and those people aren’t always following us, so paid allows us to 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 be doing now to stay ahead of the trends?
KW: I think organizations need to stop sleeping on the newer platforms, like TikTok. Everyone was saying just a year or so ago that TikTok was for their teenage kids to make dancing videos on, but now it really is the fastest growing and best way to garner an audience. Organizations need to test the waters there because I think it is only going to get bigger. There is a space for everyone on that platform.
Ragan: At this year’s Ragan and PR Daily’s Social Media Conference, you’re on a panel discussing social media campaigns and success stories. Can you give our readers a sneak peek at what they can expect to hear from you?
KW: I’ll be talking about a campaign we had lots of success with last year that may not be exactly that type of content you’d expect to see from a financial services company. Those in the Philadelphia area may know Lincoln as the naming rights partner of the Philadelphia Eagles’ stadium, Lincoln Financial Field. So, to bring more national awareness to what we do as an organization to the millions of Eagles fans across the country, we created a social campaign. That’s all I’ll say on that now!
If you’d like to gain new insights and social media communications strategies, join us at Ragan and PR Daily’s Social Media Conference, when speakers from TikTok, Volkswagen, Intel, Facebook and more will share their ideas and success stories. Register today!