Transcript of the Interview
Mireille Ryan: Hi, I'm Mireille Ryan, CEO of the Social Media Marketing Institute. Welcome to Social Media Insights, where we peel back the curtain and ask experts to share their experiences in the social media industry. Today, I'm joined by Jade. Welcome, Jade.
Jade El-Choueifati: Hi, how are you? Thanks for having me.
Mireille Ryan: My pleasure. Jade, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jade El-Choueifati: I've had over eight years experience working purely on social media, across probably some of the biggest organisations in Australia in telecommunications, fast-moving consumer goods, banking, and now currently in superannuation. My expertise, mainly, for a lot of those organisations, actually came in as a foundation member and have started social media in those organisations from the ground up, pretty much, developing policy, strategy, servicing processes, generating advocacy in education within the business, and really taking all levels of the business on the journey about what social media actually is and how to use social media within an organisation in a really productive and positive way.
Mireille Ryan: Excellent. What do you love about social media?
Jade El-Choueifati: No two days are the same.
Mireille Ryan: Isn't that true?
Jade El-Choueifati: Yeah. It might sound a little bit of a cliché, but it's very dynamic. I think, for me, eight years ago, I didn't expect to be in social media. I kind of fell into it, because I was passionate about my own social media. I think what's great is that it's still, as much as it is embedded within organisations, you still have an opportunity to become a pioneer in the organisations that you're in.
Mireille Ryan: Absolutely.
Jade El-Choueifati: There's so much opportunity to innovate. Yeah, there's so many opportunities to do new things every day, and to really recreate the wheel. The channels themselves, like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, they're evolving so rapidly that it actually calls for social media professional to also innovate just as quickly to meet that demand in change. Also, the user, they're so used to those changes that innovation is no longer nice to have, it's actually an expectation. I love it. It really keeps me on my toes. It keeps me honest, as well. You can't get comfortable. I love it.
Mireille Ryan: Awesome. I love that you're always learning. That's really awesome.
Jade El-Choueifati: Yeah, absolutely. That's exactly what it is. They say when you stop learning that's probably when you should change. In the past eight years, I've learnt a lot. I'm still learning, today.
Mireille Ryan: Awesome, awesome. Now, the purpose of this series is because we want to be able to show people coming into the social media space experts who are doing it well and give them a chance to get a little piece of advice from them. Jade, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to somebody getting started in the social media space?
Jade El-Choueifati: Yeah, I'd probably give three main pieces of advice. The first piece of advice I would give would be to think and plan commercially, but to broadcast or to publish in an engaging way. The reason why I say that is, as social media becomes more embedded in organisations and becomes more normal, per se, businesses are expecting more to understand what is the return on investment? For all the investment that they're putting into it, what are they actually getting out of it?Whenever you're thinking, planning, and presenting, I think it's really important to do so with a commercial hat on. Make sure that you're communicating to the business in a commercial way that they understand, and in a way that they understand what they're going to get out of it. Then, for the user, the general user doesn't really care about what the business goals are in terms of finances, etc., or engagements, and things like that. When you're customer-facing, I think it's vital that you keep all that stuff in the background, the thinking and the planning about commercialisation, but when you are actually engaging or publishing, you're doing so in a really engaging way. There's a lot of great companies that are doing that at the moment, where it's an acquisition message, or a message to sell, but they're doing it in a really subtle and engaging way that really makes the user compelled to want to actually take up the offer or find out more. That's probably the first bit of advice.
The second bit of advice I would give is really focus on recording analytics and return on investment. That's been a massive thing that I've focused on in my career. It started from my first job, actually, not related to social media. I was in an advertising agency. I actually did, a large part of my role as a junior was the reporting. Initially, it was a bit of a shock, because I was thinking, "This is going to be a really creative role," and things like that. After two years, I really found out about how much influence I was able to actually have through recording analytics and data. I was, as a junior, changing business processes, working really closely with some senior clients, the insights, and the ways that they can improve their own business.
I've carried that through throughout my whole career. It's honestly helped me so much, to build advocacy within the organisations that I've been in for social media, and really put together cases for more budget, for improvements, for innovation, that probably wouldn't have been able to happen if there hadn't have been the right reporting, analytics, and data to support the cases that I was trying to make. It's not the sexiest part of the role, oftentimes, and it can kind of be neglected or moved to the side sometimes, but honestly, reporting analytics and data is such a massive part of our role, because you really need to show the business what you try to do, and then what you actually did. That's probably the second bit of advice that I'd give.
Then, the third bit of advice I would give would be to really make sure that you're customer-centric in everything that you do. I always say within all the businesses that I've been in, we're not just competing against, I'm into [inaudible 00:06:56] now. We're not just competing against other superannuation brands, we're really competing against the wedding photos, the holiday photos, the images of babies, and the weekends that people have had away. We're competing with those people. In the past, it was that brands were competing with each other, but we're now competing with pretty much the whole world and the content that they're developing.
If you're not customer-centric, you get found out very quickly, especially on social media. Really just focus on the customer. I know every business says that, but really, I think, as a junior coming into the industry, if you can have that mentality and really be courageous to drive that particular point, will really put you in good stead in your career, because every organisation really does want to focus on the customer. Sometimes, they might miss it, but that's why if you're the one that's constantly championing the customer, your results will be significantly better. You'll also be positioned in your industry and in your organisation as a really courageous leader, as well. Customer-centricity is very important on every channel, for every business, but I think more so, especially, on social media.
Mireille Ryan: They are three pieces of excellent advice, Jade. Thank you so much for sharing those with us. Now, if people wanted to connect with you and get to know you more, what's the best ways that they can do that?
Jade El-Choueifati: Yeah, so the best way to do that is probably through LinkedIn. My last name's a little bit long, but the best way to do it would be to connect with me on LinkedIn.com/JadeEl-Choueifati, which is J-A-D-E E-L-C-H-O-U-E-I-F-A-T-I, and then forward slash. It's a bit long, but ...
Mireille Ryan: We'll put that link there, underneath your video, so that people can connect with you directly.
Jade El-Choueifati: Excellent. I'll be more than happy to help anyone who has any questions, or is looking for a bit of direction, or some further understanding about anything related to the industries that I've worked in, or social media, or anything like that. I think I've been really fortunate to have some great mentors in my own life, and I'd love to be able to help anyone else who needs that, as well.
Mireille Ryan: Excellent. Thank you so much, Jade, and thank you so much for joining us today.
Jade El-Choueifati: No problem, no problem at all. Thank you.
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