Jayde Powell joins the podcast today to talk about how her internships as a young professional shaped her views on social media strategy and the importance of community on the web.
Transcript for Putting the Social Back in Social Media
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Welcome to Thought Feeder I’m Jon-Stephen Stansel. And with me as always is Joel Goodman. And today we have a very special guest, Jayde Powell. Jayde is a social media strategist in Atlanta and she’s absolutely incredible if you follow her on Twitter. she does great work. And we’re excited to get to talk to her a little bit about some of her thoughts on social media marketing and kind of the atmosphere.
She works in the airline industry. She started her newest position right before COVID started. So we may talk a little bit about that and how that can be a little bit of a harrowing experience, but welcome, Jayde. Why don’t we start with, can you just tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
Jayde Powell: Yeah! Hey guys. I’m Jayde. Sometimes the Y in my name throws people off, but it’s Jayde just like the color and the stone. Yeah. I’m from Atlanta, native, born and raised. And I haven’t left, in a pre-pandemic world. I was living my best life, traveling, and dancing life away. But right now I’m just chilling on my couch and talking to people on the interwebs.
So that’s all I do.
Joel Goodman: Not a horrible life.
Jayde Powell: No, not at all.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: One thing I want to talk about is, with social media marketing, we talk a lot about, and we kind of bemoan, Interns. When we say like interns don’t run social media, don’t call me an intern. And for many respects for, for good reason. However, you know, for us working in higher ed and interns have their place and internship roles are very important.
You started your career as an intern in an internship role. and now you’re the glamorous Jayde Powell, doing, you know, gigantic things. So would you talk a little bit about your, your experience as an intern and, and how it led you to where you are today?
Jayde Powell: Yeah. So while I was in college, I actually had four different internships and lucky for me, they were all in these types of marketing roles. one was a business development internship. One was a social media internship. One was a marketing operations internship, and one was a public relations internship.
So I actually got to do a wide variety of different projects and these different kinds of agencies I was working I’m working at. And I was also doing one of the internships at my university at the time. So I got to also play in that education space as well, which was really cool. But I think what I loved most about the internships that I was doing was that I got the opportunity to kind of explore a wide range of things. Especially the most important one was kind of seeing how businesses run and organizations operate on different spectrums and seeing how they all kind of have their own rules approach to consumer marketing or providing us specialized service.
So that was kind of what made my experience a little bit more unique and I’m forever grateful for all the internships I did have because I don’t think that was without any of my internships I would be in the place that I am today. So I’m like, all about the internship for sure. And I will specify by saying a paid internship. Please pay your interns people!
Joel Goodman: You were a professional intern for awhile. That’s a lot of internships.
Jayde Powell: Yeah it was! I was hustling.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Well being, being a very experienced intern. Let’s talk about that a little bit, because I think It’s a misconception, but also happens quite often, is a student gets a social media internship and they walk in, first day and somebody says, all right, do the social now. And that’s really not what an internship is for. Right?
So what made your internship successful and how can we improve social media internships in general, other than, as you mentioned, paying them?
Jayde Powell: Yeah, that’s the paying part is definitely the first thing I would say. but I think what stood out about all the internships that I was involved in was I was actually treated as a member of the team and my opinions were valued. I think we see TV, we see media and we have these like very traditional ideas of what the intern does. They get the coffee. They pretty much act as an office assistant. They grab the things that leadership doesn’t want to grab.
But oftentimes interns have the most valuable knowledge and the most valuable experience because they’re outside of the industry. So they’re not coming in with this already jaded point of view because they haven’t been so in love with the brand for so long that they’re not like spewing out the brand language. They’re not using the brand book as a Bible, they have external knowledge and a different point of view that could be leveraged and people really should be tapping into.
And oftentimes because interns are typically younger and even people in, entry-level positions, they oftentimes, know new things that people in leadership positions would never even consider. So they just have like this untapped, almost power and reservoir of knowledge that people aren’t really paying attention because it’s like, Oh, that’s the entry-level kid, but it’s like, they oftentimes know a lot more than you think they do.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: That’s an excellent point. you know, I think some of the roles that I’ve, I’ve worked with and people I’ve talked to, sometimes they struggle to find jobs for their interns. Like for example, we’ve got this intern, what do we do with them? You know, can we trust them with running social? Can we trust them to create content without a whole lot of supervision?
And I think the supervision is important because that’s part of it. It’s, you know, in addition to getting paid there’s a training element to it. And I think just unleashing your intern and expecting them to just, just “do the social,” it’s kind of setting them up for failure a little bit.
Jayde Powell: Totally. And, and then in that same regard, I think leaders need to allow interns the space and the grace to live and learn because like, we’re all gonna mess up some shit, like, you never know what’s gonna happen. So it’s like, let the intern have the opportunity to kind of learn from their mistakes and grow as a professional because that’s the only way they’re going to be able to develop themselves personally and professionally.
You know, Interns like they’re here to support the organization, but the organization should be pouring back into them as well because they’re almost like the customer in a way. Like they’re going to be your biggest brand advocates in the long term. So why not treat them like they’re one of the members of the team and that their opinions are, are incredibly valuable?
Jon-Stephen Stansel: I was thinking about that the other day I was, I was, I was looking at back at some of my older work. And, like cringing a little bit, which I think is healthy because if you’re not cringing at your older work, you’re not improving, but I was thinking how, you know, I didn’t do an internship, but I started, with, you know, smaller social accounts and having that those training wheels is just so valuable. Where, like you said, you kind of have that room to make some mistakes and kind of play around a little bit and see what works and see what doesn’t. I think it’s very important. Like you said, they kind of have, have that grace and we’re going to make mistakes at some point, you know? Let’s do them well while we’re small, a little bit and not, not on a grand scale sometimes.
Jayde Powell: And I think there’s an additional layer that should be noticed as well, because you know, in our American education system, like, because it’s all rooted in capitalism, we’re very much focused on being hyper-competitive. So in college, you look at these students and then they’re, they’re pretty much taught to be like, you have to do everything you can to stand out. You have to make sure that you’re targeting the top 500 companies in the nation. And I’m like, oftentimes these startups or these smaller agencies, or these smaller companies can teach you a lot more. And they’ll, they’re the ones that will give you more opportunity to really practice the things that you’ve been learning not only in your coursework but just in your everyday life.
I will say I advocate for college if it makes, makes sense for you. when I went to college, I went because I felt like I had to, I was, I was very much coming from the gen- and it’s still relevant today where they’re like, you have to have a college degree to get the career of your dreams.
So I went to college and I was barely skating by, but like, I was able to get a degree eventually. But in my coursework, I was noticing that I just wasn’t learning what I felt like I needed to prepare me for the actual professional work, whatever that looks like. And it was my internship experience, that actual working, that was like, that’s what prepared me for my career, not my coursework.
so when I meet other interns, or when I meet people who are interested in internship opportunities, I always tell them to not look at it as how do I apply for this job? How do I get this company to hire me? Like they should be approaching it, like, why should I work here? Like you tell me.
And it’s almost like a reverse because your internship will only be as good as the manager that you have, or the company that you have. And if the company and the manager ain’t shit, your internship ain’t gonna be shit.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah, I think I’ve given that same advice to some students as they go into internships, you know, looking at, at some of the job descriptions going well, you’re not going to learn anything doing this, you know? They’re, they’re not going to be there to support you or give that, training that you need.
And I think in higher ed for us, we are in a higher ed social media, specifically, we’re in a unique position where we have all of these smaller accounts on our campuses that we can let students kind of have those training wheels and, and oversee, you know, okay, you can, you can run the history department’s account and, and get any of that experience.
So when you are applying to those first jobs, you’ve got something there. Right?
But you also kind of hit on an interesting point too. You know, this kind of, not only are you interviewing for a job you’re interviewing for the job. And I think that brings up, you’ve talked a lot about sort of the changing face of professionalism and the changing face of the workplace.
Nice. A little bit. Do you, do you want to elaborate on that or send some, some of your, your ideas on how, how, you know, the workplace is changing these days?
Jayde Powell: Yeah. So I think what we’ve known to be considered professionalism or traditional business etiquette is changing. And I think that’s largely due to a culture shift, amongst the different generations that are constantly evolving. And I believe these kinds of new approaches to what was considered the traditional work environment has changed largely in part due to these tech companies that are starting up. So like the Googles and the Facebooks, like they’re the ones that are like, we’re going to put scooters on campuses. We’re going to have beanbag chairs in our offices. Like why? I don’t know, but obviously, we’ve seen that more people are wanting to have comfortable work environments, but not only that, be comfortable feeling themselves in these work environments.
So. It’s always so fascinating to me because a lot of companies and organizations, we talk about diversity a lot and we focus on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disabilities, but diversity means a lot of things. Like why are we not hiring the people that have tattoos on their faces? If they can execute a strategy, that means they can do the work!
Like it doesn’t matter that someone is like, I want to wear. Pink every day to work like that has nothing to do with their work. And I’m very much in the philosophy of, if someone is able to work on a team and work well with others, respect their teammates and their managers and then also we’ll get the job done and do it well, what they look like should not matter, what they wear to work should not matter, what they talk like at work should not matter, like as long as the work is done.
And I think that is the future of the modern-day workplace. Just like letting people allow them to show up to work and be there completely full selves and their whole selves.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah, definitely. And I think if it feels, I think in general, universities are a little bit resistant to that, which seems ironic because we’re just this youthful, vibrant place of diversity where we’ve got our students, you know, doing all kinds of things and, expressing all sorts of ideas, wearing all sorts of things. While, I think many of us are still expecting, you know, suit, tie, you know, business, casual attire, and things like that. And still kind of going under, that nine to five in an office mentality. So do you have any thoughts on how we can initiate these sorts of changes?
Jayde Powell: Well, I think it first starts with recognizing why these institutions and these social constructs exist. And without going down a spiral, I will say that again, they’re rooted in capitalism and also white patriarchy, because historically, if you think about the white men that have been able to work if you really think about the case for why people should be wearing a suit and tie to work or bringing a briefcase. All of these things were designed to “other” people. Because historically people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, people of color, women, haven’t been able to access these types of things or even the education.
And if you think about, why the nine to five exist or why we want people to sit in cubicles like that has never made sense, but somehow we’ve been doing it for so long. And it’s always so funny to me because historically the people that have always been in these professional environments, quote, unquote professional, and these traditional work environments have been white men.
So they have created these social constructs around professionalism and the proper work environment to suit them and “other” people. And that’s not the future. Like we’ve already seen this in how brands and organizations are tapping into these conversations about how we can make workplaces more safe and more inclusionary, but that is a very broad spectrum of what that can mean.
But I think it starts with recognizing what the social institutions are and actively working to challenge them. The future is basically kicking tradition’s ass. Like that’s what it comes down to. Like we need to make changes in our own, in our own work environments, and really challenge the status quo.
Something I talk a lot about is just even as far as, you know, being able to wear what you want to wear and being able to work remotely, like those are two things that are very important to me. And I even notice that through my career, that’s something that I think of immediately.
Cause even in interviews, we’re always like, What are these company’s values? Like those are the questions that we should really be asking. And I think that is the future of all industries, being values-led. And even when it comes from a social media perspective, taking those values and incorporating it into your content as well. Because we’ve gotten to this place again, because of capitalism, where all we do is push product and try to focus on selling the product. But it’s like, people want to know that brands are there for their communities. That is it.
So to me, the future of social media is community and values-led. And I don’t care what anyone says. I’m not arguing with that because I know that to be true. Because I’ve seen it already happening.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: There’s a million things I want to touch on there. So first, you know, talking about social media, being values-led and, being there for your community instead of just pushing product. can, can you mention any examples of, of, where, you know, you’ve seen this or where we can do a better job of doing this?
Jayde Powell: Yeah. So one of my favorite examples is Ben and Jerry’s as a brand. Like who would have thought an ice cream brand could do well at social justice? And they’ve been doing it for so long that I think these brands that have recently kind of caught up to the curve now that social justice has been a huge part of a lot of conversations on social media and the media in general. it’s fascinating me to kind of watch them. I wouldn’t even say play in this space, but lead in this space because I think that’s what brands need to aspire to.
It’s like when someone goes to a store and purchasing your product, or someone goes online and uses their service, like, it’s not just about that initial touchpoint. It’s like, what will they be able to get after that? And the sense of community that’s going to be built. And when I think about the future of brands and the social media space, I think that really leaning into values and showing consumers like this is what we care about. And ultimately, this is what we care about you is what’s going to keep them there forever. Like that’s how they’re going to become your biggest brand advocates.
Not because of the influencers, not because you’re offering like special discounts, cool bonds, but because you’re leading with your values and that’s showing up in the product and services that you’re offering.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah, definitely. And I think there’s so much that higher ed can, can do in that. But I, I think so many universities are scared to do that. They’re, they’re worried about, you know, alienating one segment of, of their, their now I don’t wanna say customer base, but yeah, customer base you know? So, what would you say to a brand that is hesitant to address some of these issues?
Jayde Powell: Challenge the status quo. And I know it’s easier said than done, but I think you have to find a place where it’s almost like you really have to think about the type of brand or company that you want to be, or the type of organization that you want to be. When all is failing in the world and all you have is your product or service, what does that say about you? Because at the end of the day, you’re, even if you don’t have a community like your customer can drop your product or service in order to find something that’s more meaningful in value to them.
So, if you’re thinking about long-term value and what that looks like, investing in community, investing in strong beliefs, and having a belief system that you build your organization upon is what’s going to matter in the end.
So you have to be comfortable with getting out of your comfort zone, like really push yourself to challenge yourself and think about the long-term effects that your business is going to have for the generation now and generations to come.
Joel Goodman: With that, Jayde, like you were saying earlier, you know where things are going. We agree. I mean, I think we know where things are going. And one piece of that is that if, if a brand isn’t going to change, isn’t going to realize that values are going to be increasingly more important to the world, to just culture in general, They’re not going to be, they’re not going to be around to, you know, and I mean, higher ed has that issue. There are other industries that have that issue as well.
If, if you’re too slow to adapt and too slow to improve, or, too slow to realize that you’ve been wrong for a really long time. And we’ve seen that just, you know, in the past few months with, with so many social issues cropping up and finally getting the weight that they deserve in the news cycle and in, in the minds of everyone. Um, If you don’t realize that that’s something that is important, when it’s happening and hopefully you realize it before it’s happening.
But if you don’t realize it, you’re not going to be around, later on, to be able to address it and be able to even apologize for being terrible because people, your students are going to leave, your, your customers are going to leave. They’re going to go find someone else that, better fits how they think and how they, how they want the organizations that they support to behave.
Jayde Powell: Yeah. And based on what I’m seeing in conversations online is that the consumer is looking for brands to be proactive. Like. We’re tired of apologies and we’re tired of the afterthought. Because if you put your community first and were values-led, there would be no need for an apology.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: And to go back to what you were saying earlier, Jayde, about in job interviews the employee interviewing the potential employer, it’s about attracting talent too. Like you mentioned Ben and Jerry’s like, I’d love to go work for Ben and Jerry’s because of what they do in social justice and knowing that that’s the kind of company that I want to work for. And that’s incredibly valuable.
Jayde Powell: And, you know, we can’t make the mistake of acting like working for companies that are only focused on profit doesn’t have an extreme impact on your mental health. And this is why you see so many people that are so sad because we spend a lot of our time, well, Americans do, we spend a lot of our time at work, oftentimes more at work with our colleagues than we do with our own friends and family.
So if you think about how much time that is taking of your life, and if you go to a job every day, that is strictly like, all you need to do is solve the product, and that’s all you’re here for. That is taxing. Like capitalism isn’t something that like human should feel naturally comfortable with. It’s something that we should really consider, consider challenging, especially when we think about these workplaces.
Because I want to work for the companies that are on the right side of history. I don’t want to waste years at a company where I come out and I feel like my, my soul and my life was sucked away, because I was worried about selling a product. Like that’s not valuable to anyone. And you know, I talk about this a lot, but I think we get very caught up in just like the progression in our careers and moving on to these higher job titles and whatever that looks like for anyone and making more money.
But at the end of the day, and this pandemic has shown us, if the job goes away, what else do we have? We have each other, hopefully. So it’s an interesting kind of way to look at how businesses are kind of operating in that, in that world of profit only.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Also go back to what you’re saying. Cause second year you said you gave me like 20,000 things to think about. So I want to address a few of them talking about professionalism again and you know how you present yourself and behave in the workplace, how you dress, but there’s also this mingling of our professional lives and our personal lives that actually kind of comes out in our our online selves. And I think you do a really good job of, blending the two. You know, talking about your, what you do, putting, putting your beliefs and forming building communities on social media.
W would you address a little bit about, about that and what you do there?
Jayde Powell: Yeah, I won’t lie. It’s been a little bit of trial and error. Back in the day, I actually had two social media profiles and one was very much for my personal brand and the other was for my professional brand. And I think as I’ve gotten through my career and I realized that I just wanted to be both in one space, I realized that there didn’t really need to be a degree of separation because my personal me is my professional me.
And I tell people this all the time, how I act online is exactly who you’re going to get when you walk up to me in person. And that’s something I really pride myself on because I don’t believe in creating an online persona. I think we all definitely have our own degree of a personal brand, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be any less authentic to who you are.
And you know, when I speak on social media, I speak in the way that I speak out loud. When I write on social media, I write in the way that I would write in real life. And I think that’s something that not only individuals, but brands can, can really learn from, because again, going back to the community piece it’s important to be authentic and connect with people on a human level. And that means being you.
So sometimes I talk about how. two of the communities I’m current, most involved in, on social media are Black Twitter and social media Twitter. And sometimes I find myself censoring myself, because I’m like, I’m speaking to the Black community, but I don’t want the non-Black community to hear me talk about this and then almost co-opt it, because I’ve noticed how Black people — and, and I will always preach this — Black people create a lot of the trends that we see on social media and a lot of the language that people are considering “internet culture,” or “meme culture,” when I’m like, that’s actually, African-American vernacular English that you’re using.
And it’s always so funny to me because I see brands where they’re trying to be quote, unquote, more hip. Or cool. And they tap into these conversations and use this language, not really realizing where it comes from and they just say it, and then it becomes popular culture, but people are not realizing like this is how Black people are speaking to each other and their everyday life.
So I try to balance this line where I am still my authentic self, but also recognizing that sometimes I have to make sure that what I’m saying isn’t considered popular culture. Because it isn’t.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah, that’s an excellent point. And that’s something that I think we need to address, not just personal, but you mentioned brand accounts, you know, kind of co-opting Black culture and, you know, I’ve seen it referred to as like digital blackface and you know, where, you know what, it can be very tricky to navigate. I think sometimes where, you know, I wrote an article about digital blackface as GIFs. You know, and I’ll even be very cautious of myself using a GIF as, you know, a middle aged white guy. Like, do I really need to use this GIF of, you know, Rihanna making a sassy face? Cause that’s not me. So maybe I need to use, you know, Ed Begley Jr or something instead. But for brands where, you know, the brand voice…
What, what is the brand voice and what as a 40 year old white guy doing a brand voice for a university. Okay. That I can, I can kind of lay something across there, but, how can brands appropriately use their voice and tone in social media and, and not fall into that category?
Jayde Powell: Yeah. So I think it’s a tricky thing to navigate because obviously when brands are created, there’s this beautiful brand Bible of the brand book and I would say it touches on voice and tone, but it’s never very elaborate. And I think that’s something that is a change that recently needs to happen, well, it needs to start happening. cause even in the strategies that I write for social media marketing campaigns that I’m working on, I spend a, a nice bit of time on tone and voice, because that really matters.
Like it’s more than just saying, Oh, we’re going to be funny on social media. Like what is funny mean to you? Because we’re obviously seeing that comedy and satirical nature can mean a lot of different things to different people. Cause I see it all the time. How people will say something, people will perceive it as offensive, it’s like, Oh, I was just joking. But finding this is different to, to everyone.
So when we, when we look at brands kind of crafting their brand strategies and what that brand playbook looks like, tone and voice is something I would love to see more brands really kind of honing in on and focusing on. Like, I want to see at least like three pages of the deck on tone and voice voice, because it just matters and it can really determine, especially on social, how you’re perceived and how your community responds to you.
And again, if you’re in this space where you’re sending out these tweets or posting on Instagram in a tone that is really not you, it’s not going to be perceived well. Like you couldn’t even fake it if you tried, because people want to know. And I think when we think about the people behind the social media accounts, like you should allow those people the spaces to speak freely as well.
And you know, something about me is like, again, I’m a Black woman from Atlanta. I know how I feel. I don’t know what my voice sounds like. So you see me kind of incorporating that into the brands that I manage, but I also am cognizant of the fact that typically, because a lot of the brands I have worked for, or have done projects for are not Black woman led that I also have to mitigate that.
So I may not use some terminology that I would be using when I’m talking to my friends, but I would still make sure that the voice that I’m using is authentic to who I am because social media managers are the voice of the brand.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Exactly. And I think social media managers are given the power to determine that voice. They can do what they’re comfortable with or what they feel is appropriate, or are you kind of example, talking about, you know, meme culture and how that, you know, I debated my myself for like half an hour over a tweet, you know, that was, I can’t remember what it was, but, you know, you often see, you know, something, something be like, and I was like, well, I would never say, be like, I would say are like, because I am who I am right? I used to, I used to teach grammar, you know, but I spent a long time kind of debating and going back and forth. Well, the meme is this. It’s “be like,” but the voice of the university is, “are like.”
And those, those little details are really important when you’re thinking about the, voice of your brand and what, what you’re trying to do. And people can see that in in-auth-en-ti. I can not say this word. I slip up every time! Inauthenticity very well.
Joel Goodman: Well, J.S., we, we, we saw this happen a few weeks ago and we, we don’t like to name names on universities. But, there were some mean posts coming out on, on Twitter from, at least one institution. And I remember. it coming up and being, being like, okay, one, this does not feel like this institution, two it’s tone deaf, and three it’s a Black Twitter meme.
Like, why are you, why are you appropriating this in the first place? It’s like three offenses right. In a row. And, and it ended up that there was a large like kind of lashing back at them for it from, from their audiences. And so there’s real danger, not just in terms of like being inauthentic or seeming and authentic. I mean, you can be causing real harm to real people because, because you don’t realize the roots, or you haven’t done the due diligence to, to figure out where did this meme come from? You know, what is the thinking behind it? What, what are the roots of it?
And I mean, There are resources for figuring out where memes come from and where they started. And then, and then it’s about having, you know, that value structure in place. Like, are, are you an organization that takes that cultural appropriation seriously, or are you an organization that is trying too hard to be cool. And, and either, either one has huge negatives to it.
Jayde Powell: Yeah. And I think that also ties into a larger conversation about community moderation as well, because I oftentimes think that community management is not really focused on as a social media practice when it, I absolutely think it should be, especially as eventually brands will realize that the future of social is community led.
But when we think about the actual moderation of our comments, that’s something that’s value-led as well. Because if you’re an organization who internally doesn’t say, Hey, we denounce racism. We denounce sexism. We have a zero tolerance policy. That’s going to reflect on social. So if you have a community where people are attacking each other, using hate speech, harassing each other, you’re not deleting those comments. What does that say about your organization?
If you’re noticing that people are, you know, spamming comments with like anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, and you’re not blocking those people actively, or you’re not actively monitoring what those conversations look like under your posts, that says a lot about your organization. So again, going back to the values-led piece, if your, if your organization or your company is values led, that will reflect on what you’re doing on social media as well.
So honestly, I’ve even seen. In my freelance work, how opportunities have arise. And I’ve been like, Oh, this seems like a cool company to do some work for. And I’m like, okay, what are your values? And they don’t even have any. And I’m like, well, alright, I can’t help you then.
So I think there’s a lot of responsibility on, and I, and I definitely put the accountability on social media managers to know when to say no, Not every project, not every opportunity is a good one, unless you feel like you can change it completely, which is very hard to do as a contractor, I would recommend saying no. And I think, you know, saying no kind of puts the pressure on these organizations to make those changes.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Right. that can be yeah, difficult thing granted to say to, like when you’re looking for a job and you, you know, you, you need something. But also, the, the thing to think about is that job affects your future prospects. Right. You know, if you were working for a, um, I’m trying to think of a terrible company, ENRON, no, you know, And then you want to go work for a values based company later, they’re going to ask, well, why were you working for this evil corporation or earlier, you know, so.
Joel Goodman: Jayde I really liked what you said about the future of social media going back to being community — or going to be community led, because it’s really funny that that’s where social media started.
Jayde Powell: Yeah.
Joel Goodman: so my internship in college, I only did one cause I’m apparently not the overachiever that you are. So, so my, my college internship was in 2005 and it was with a, an independent record label in California. And I ended up doing what would become social media marketing because social media wasn’t really a thing. Like Facebook was still restricted to specific college campuses at that time. Twitter did not exist. I, I’m not even sure YouTube was popular. I had, I had a MySpace and, and I think a live journal at that point. And then I managed to get a Facebook account while doing this work.
But we, we essentially were responsible for trying to boost attendance to these concerts, that bands from our label, we’re doing up and down the coast.
And so we would basically just go on MySpace and we would say, Hey, I’m [singer] from the band, even though we weren’t, and we’re going to be touring with this band that we saw that you like on or that you’re friends with on MySpace and we wanted to see if you want to come out and check us out. So if you do, here’s a link to where it’s happening, you know, like that sort of thing.
And, and you couldn’t just go in and be broadcast centric brand, sell, sell, sell. It was, it was literally appealing to the community/friendship/relationship side of it. And. Yeah. I mean, yeah. I’m not as old as J.S., but I’ve been around from like yes, the birth of social media at this point. And, and it’s it’s so I don’t know, it’s kind of like the good old days in some ways, you know, you think back to how all that started and it really was, Twitter didn’t have brands on it, or if they did, it was what you were talking one on one with the person that happened to run the Twitter. And, no one was trying to market through it really, or at least they didn’t have cohesive strategies and plans and all this stuff that we have now in, in social media marketing.
And it was a totally different time. And then, you know, there are still old school, social media managers who are now directors of digital strategy or whatever at this point, and they’re, you know, they’ll even say like, yeah, it’s it’s, but it’s a social media and it’s supposed to be about conversations and it hasn’t been for awhile.
You know, I think that, I think there are certain brands that try to do that or certain, I guess, certain social media professionals that try to do that through their brand accounts. but I think, I think you’re right. Like I think it has to go back to that direction otherwise. Well, we see it already, people leave platforms all the time because the platforms get overly charged with just salesy, inauthentic, you know, whatever kind of content. And so moving in a direction where, social media is really about community. It’s about the participation aspect again.
Like, I really hope it happens. I want it to, cause that was the fun time that was when social media was a lot of fun and these days it’s like yeah. It’s, it’s very, it’s very consumer. It’s very, it’s very consuming centric, you know, it’s Oh, you know, this person has the good memes and this person has the good video shares and you know, they, they tweeted the funny take and that’s about it. It’s like I’m consuming whatever that content is versus we’re having a give and take and actually, and actually building some sort of community through it.
Jayde Powell: Yeah. And I love that you said that because I think I’ve already been seeing how the individual platforms are kind of changing what those even metrics look like those engagements. Cause I think we, we all know that Instagram. Period of time was talking about getting rid of the like, and I think that’s incredibly important because when you think about the beginning of what social media was, even myself.
When I started my career in social media, this was 2012. I want to say my, my first role after social media intern was community manager. And that was all I was focused on. And I think. The moment. And then I miss these days, but the moment that Facebook was like, we have an algorithm and you have to pay to get your content noticed on these platforms. That’s when things changed dramatically.
So like it’s always capitalism, that finds its way to sink its teeth into something that you’re doing. But as soon as that change kind of happened, that’s when you notice that it’s almost like, how do we fight to get people’s attention and how do we fight to get our money into the right advertising network?
And it’s, it’s so fascinating to me because I think that has kind of changed what social media looks like now, even today, where it’s less community focused and all it’s all about the influencer. And even the influencers don’t know when to like take themselves out of conversation. We don’t like what we hear right now.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Well in, you know, we, we touched on this in a previous conversation before Jayde, but like the social media thought with all these gimmicks of like, Oh, Hey, use five hashtags to do this. This is post at this time to beat the algorithm and. Become more about these workarounds and hacks to get your content in front of people, rather than the hard work of building a community and, and locking into people.
it it’s, yeah, we need to move past that.
Jayde Powell: We do. And I think that kind of speaks to the overall world of marketing. Like if you think about what marketing is in its purest form, it’s like opinions, and then you hope that works. And then you look at what works, create some statistics based off of that. And then you reinvent the wheel or you just You continue to do what’s working.
And it’s so fascinating to me because I think a lot of us as marketers, because we are very proud of our craft as we should be, but we’re always like this worked for me. So this is Bible, but we’ve seen time and time again, that there is no one answer. There is no right or wrong. Things just work sometimes. And sometimes they don’t.
So even something I’ve been very. Adamant about is challenging. What quote on quote, best practices are. Like, what does that even mean? Because there are no best practices in this industry. It’s like, all we can do is test and hope things work because as the consumer is evolving every day, social media is a loving every day.
So there’s never going to be a right answer for how to approach a social media strategy or a right answer for how to promote a, to approach a content strategy or a right answer. To, you know, approach a community management strategy. There’s no right answer. So I think brands can, and social media marketers can really take the time to, you know, focus on their community again and stop trying to worry about pushing the product, but allowing your community build.
So they will naturally go to your product so that you won’t have to push or sell it.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yes, definitely.
I think that’s like, a mic drop moment, right there. So Jayde, you know, you started your most recent job, right? At the beginning of the pandemic. Like you got your job and then COVID-19 what was, and I’ve talked to a number of people who’ve had similar experiences, not all in social media, but you know, that transition it’s very difficult. How, how, how has that been for you?
Jayde Powell: You, you know, it’s funny because starting a new job at the beginning of a pandemic sounds super hectic and crazy. But I’ve honestly never felt more prepared. And that’s largely due to, again, as I mentioned before, my internships and a lot of my experience at startups and small agencies, which is why I always advocate for people that work at startups at least one or a small agency, because you could start to see the varying experiences that you’ll have.
but I’ve kind of seen this shift in communication from various brands. Like this year was shitty and it’s not over so it’s probably still going to be shitty after this, but this year we were hit with the pandemic. We were hit with several social injustice crises, the death of, of many notable figures and fear around our upcoming election.
Like we can’t deny that this year is not normal. So
Joel Goodman: Hurricanes. So many storms. It’s weather. Weather is always bad too. Like everything’s bad.
Jayde Powell: everything is bad! It’s like, it’s not normal at all. So it’s so funny cause I think about this often, I’m just like, this is the year that the Aztecs warned us about.
Joel Goodman: good, we did the math wrong somewhere.
Jayde Powell: Like, this is what they were gearing us up for when they created the calendar. But, obviously people are very stressed, anxious, exhausted, and seeking some type of normalcy, whatever that looks like for them. And. Because of this, this is kind of where I foresee a lot of brands realizing that they have to take a step back from focusing on the product push and lean more into their values.
Like I’ve been saying, and with these communication strategies that have been built, around COVID, I’ve seen how brands have literally went from like, hello, buy my product. This is why you should use my service. To now it’s where, how can we help you be? Well, because people are suffering mentally, and this is why you matter to us because people are being told that their lives don’t matter.
And the important thing is that if we continue to wait for these moments where it’s like, we’re waiting to say these things when the pandemic happens and not beforehand, we’re already missing the opportunity. And it goes back to what we were saying before the community wants to know that you guys care about these things in advance, not just when you have a thousand brand mentions because you’re just now deciding to be a part of this conversation.
Like it should have been done beforehand.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: Right. Well, I mean, it comes across as inauthentic too, if like, I’ll tell an example. I mean, at that previous position, somebody asked me if my boss came in and said, Hey, it’s women’s history month. We need to do something for women’s history month. I was like, no, we don’t. And they were, well, why don’t you think it’s important? I’m like, I do think it’s important, but we’re in the newspaper for not hiring enough women right now. Like there’s a news story today about that. Like, if we say it. We’re in authentic.
Like, are our actions have to back up our words, and you can’t just be Johnny come lately of, Oh, you know, I’m going to, you know, we need to, at some point you, you need to make that transition, but your actions have to, to, to go alongside that.
Jayde? Is there anything else you want to touch on?
Jayde Powell: I just want to, again, stress the power of community. I think, again, that is the future of what social media is and will be. And I think the more that brands kind of focus on what their values are and what that means to them. They won’t have to rely on all these traditional kind of marketing tactics and ways to push and sell the product because their community will literally be the biggest brand advocates there will ever be.
Like, word of mouth, whether social media is gone, all aspects of digital marketing, traditional marketing, like even out of home, media, when all that goes away, word of mouth is what matters. And your word of mouth comes from the community that you’ve built. So investing in your community now will save you a lot of pain later.
Jon-Stephen Stansel: That’s perfect. And I think that’s a great note to end it on. And Jayde, let’s give you some word of mouth. So do you have any, any plugs? Where can people find you? Plug your pluggables.
Joel Goodman: Been I know, I know that feeling.
Jayde Powell: the thing is I actually had the original JaydeIPowell. And again, this goes back to me having like two separate brand accounts and I was trying to swap them and I accidentally deleted the first one. So I’m stuck with an underscore for now, but it’s fun.
Joel Goodman: I don’t know that pain. That sounds terrible.
Jayde Powell: I was quite sad.
Joel Goodman: Thank you so much for listening to the Thought Feeder podcast. If you like listening to our show, we would really appreciate a review or a rating. You can find us on Apple Podcasts. You can find us on Spotify if you wanted to follow us there and get notifications when we come up with new episodes, any way you can find us is awesome. You can follow us on Twitter @ThoughtFeedPod. You can visit thoughtfeederpod.com for all of our back episodes with full transcripts of every single one.
And this week we want to thank Jayde Powell so much for being on the show. Thank you for the conversation and for being here, Jayde, it was awesome.
Jayde Powell: Thank you for having me. This was awesome. I appreciate it guys.
Thought Feeder is a production of University Insight.