Volkswagen’s Patrick Pho on how to thrive in your social media lane

Ragan caught up with Patrick Pho of Volkswagen’s Content Studio at Volkswagen of America ahead of his panel at our Social Media Conference this September.

Most communicators understand that social media is an incredibly powerful tool for connecting with specific audiences. However, it can be difficult to stay ahead of trends and ensure that your messages are being received or even how organizations can make the most of their social media communications.

Ahead of his panel at Ragan and PR Daily’s upcoming Social Media Conference, Ragan caught up with Patrick Pho, who leads Volkswagen’s Content Studio at Volkswagen of America, to learn more about his background, his philosophy on successful social media comms and  how  communicators can drive their own success on social.

Ragan: Why did you get into social media communications?

Patrick Pho: I guess you could say social media found me. I started my career in PR/Communications which led to a job at a social media marketing agency back before Instagram when we only had to worry about Facebook, Twitter, and blogs (remember blogs?!?!) Whether it’s PR, communications, marketing, or advertising I have enjoyed that the field has enabled me to do what I enjoy most: tell stories.

Ragan: What do you think is the most important part of a social media communicator’s role in an organization?

PP:  I think the social media communicator needs to be able to both shape a consistent voice and be a hub inside the business. Social media is no longer a stand-alone “business unit” it’s a channel that’s utilized whether you are on PR, marketing, sales, or other teams inside a company. The social media team needs to be able to take inputs from all over the organization and find a way to make everything feel like it’s all the same personality.

Ragan: What tips or advice can you share so that organizations can make the most of their social media communications?

PP: Lean into moments where you have a natural place or authority in – don’t go chasing the popular meme/trend if it doesn’t make sense for your brand. Also always provide value in the content you make.

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?

PP: I see angst against “the algorithm.” Moments like “Make Instagram Instagram Again” are revealing that users are tired of social media platforms tilting users away from their followers. There will always be a place for social discovery and it’s worked great on platforms like TikTok and I don’t actually think Instagram and Twitter will ever go back to follower-only/chronological timelines. When it comes to staying ahead of trends- well that’s hard to do. Instead focus on creating quality content that engages your audiences in key areas: education, inspiration, interactive, connection, newsworthy, and entertaining.

Ragan: At this year’s Ragan and PR Daily’s Social Media Conference, you’re on a panel discussing new collaborative skills for social media champions. Can you give our readers a preview of what they can expect to hear from you?

PP: Collaborating means realizing that you are only as good as the people around you. I prefer having specialists that have additional cross-functional skill sets vs. single-skill roles.

Join Patrick and other social media leaders at Ragan and PR Daily’s Social Media Conference, when speakers from TikTok, Intel, Facebook and more will share their ideas and success stories. Register today!

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