“With a tendency to trail blaze, I am a seasoned, well-rounded, digital marketing pro with a varied background and an energetic superpower,” – this is how Nichole Holzum describes herself as a personality and a marketing professional. Nichole is a Digital Marketing Strategist at MarketPlace – the Food Marketing Agency located in St. Louis. And she is also the President of the Social Media Club.
Throughout her career, Nichole has worked with a variety of brands: from brands with no budgets to international brands with very large budgets. Her love and curiosity of social media budded into a career in understanding how brands optimize each platform through content marketing, ad buying and in-depth analytic reporting.
At MDMC18, Nichole is going to be a panelist at the “Facebook Advertising Panel” together with Brett Jackson, Clayton Clark, and Alex Cruz. Below are Nichole’s answers to the pre-conference Q&A sessions.
Q.1. What are some big mistakes a business could make when it comes to digital marketing?
N.H.: Probably the costliest mistake that businesses make is expecting (or at least hoping) for any one product or solution to serve indefinitely as a fix-all. Because user expectation and demands often outpace technology, and because the way that we use the digital environment is fluid, what worked last year—or even last month—isn’t going to work the same way now, if it works at all. For that reason, it’s all but imperative to believe the principle that the best business people are those who surround themselves with those who know more than they do. Which means, in this case, making sure you have good help, particularly from those who enjoy adapting to change and learning new things.
Q.2. What do you think is the next game changer in digital marketing, such as a new, modern tactic, tool, or aspect of marketing? How will it evolve in the coming years?
N.H.: It’s tough to pick one, but I’m really interested in human recognition. I realize that that sounds like some huge sci-fi thing, but I’ll try to get at what I mean. We’re all getting more sophisticated—advertisers and consumers alike—and, to be honest, probably more self-entitled, so we’ve come to expect that businesses, brands, products, and even people will know what we want and deliver what we want. We feel very human and very personal, yet we’re living so much of our lives online, among the inhuman and impersonal, to the point that we’re literally battling bots for Taylor Swift tickets. Ticketmaster, for instance, implemented a #verifiedfan program, which Taylor Swift used to sell tickets. The primary stated goal of the program is to make sure that real fans get access to tickets before scripts eat them all up. But Swift also used her fans’ fan-ness to help with larger marketing efforts, tying increased ticket access to typical digital marketing efforts like album purchase, video watches, and social posts. It’s easy to be cynical about Swift’s motives, but that’s not the new thing; the idea that our genuine personal interests are competing with impersonal scripts and interacting with Twitterbots is fascinating, and big brands are already figuring out how to handle this game-changer.
Q.3. What is your favorite marketing book you have read lately? Or, what are a few of your favorite marketing blogs?
N.H.: If the book is about marketing, specifically digital tools or specific digital strategies (rather than principles), it’s likely somewhat irrelevant by the time it’s in book form. For that reason, I prefer to scan blogs daily as my primary form of marketing literature. Business to Community, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Examiner, and the familiar Adweek are where I get my updates mostly. I also follow Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., as updates are posted directly to their blogs. I also have several Google alerts set up, which I prefer on days when all I want to read is email.
Q.4. What are some social media time management tips that help you stick to your campaign goals without losing a lot of time?
N.H.: I like to remind myself that goals don’t always require 100% efficiency. We’re typically so concerned with time, with getting everything done in an efficient way, that we end up losing something important. Some of my best campaign ideas have come from wandering around, without knowing exactly what I’m looking for, to see what others are doing in my own feed.
Q.5. According to you, what are the top three mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging digital marketing?
- Businesses often come to the table saying that they want a social media program, and when asked why, the only reason they can is to boost sales. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the goal of boosting sales, but if sale data is the only KPI attached to social programs, well—social platforms are a place to be social, not only a place to make sales. Being social—in our lives and in our businesses—often means being unplanned, inefficient, and unconcerned with the results. When brands tackle social with only sales in mind, they’re going to get frustrated quickly. Brand building on social media will pay off, contributing fiscal value when done well, but it’s not a last click ROI setup.
- Or, what a colleague of mine refers to as “overstepping.” How many times have you seen brands chiming in on cultural issues or memorial occasions (9/11, anyone) in ways that have nothing to do with who they are as a brand? It’s a bad look.
- Unpaid promotion. It’s great to create the most beautiful, thought-provoking content, but if you don’t pay to promote it, you’re wasting beautiful, thought-provoking content.
Q.6. Which are your three favorite digital marketing tools?
- Sprout Social. All in all, I find it the best dashboard for the price for most small to mid-sized businesses.
- Google Analytics. Get certified. Google has set up an Academy to make things easier and more digestible. There’s no excuse for any social media manager not to know how to navigate and apply Analytics.
- Power Editor. People, put down the boosted post, leave your Business Manager, and operate in Power Editor. You’ll thank me later. Power Editor allows for quick and easy edits to campaigns. It’s great for saving time, editing large sets of data quickly, and is incredibly user-friendly.
Q.7. If you were looking to hire a digital marketer, what are the top 3-5 skills you would be looking for in a candidate?
- Passion. Passion is what keeps you (an employee) going. It’s what drives the desire to do more, learn more, create more, etc.
2. Flexibility. Being agile comes with the territory now. If you can’t adapt, or change directions on a dime, digital marketing is going to be frustrating, at best.
3. Personality. It’s not so much a skill as it is an asset. Culture is very important in keeping good vibes. Hiring someone that might disrupt the mojo can be toxic in work (and creative) environments.