Professional Insights: My Interview with Mark Wysocki

By: Nick Stirsman

Mark Wysocki

Mark Wysocki graduated in 2012 with a Masters in Public Communication from American University where he was also a co-captain of the varsity soccer team. Since graduating, Mark has worked at Weber Shandwick where he was a Senior Digital Strategist and has since moved on to Taylor Strategy where he is a Account Supervisor.

Mark has worked on projects involving Major League Soccer (MLS) and USA national team/Columbus Crew/Fullham LEGEND Brian McBride. Mark has also managed Allstate’s digital marketing program for the 2015 NCAA College Football season in building and managing the #StreitCred social media program leveraging Kirk Herbstreit and others. As sports fan who has spent the vast majority of my life living in Ohio it’s difficult not to be extremely envious. Mark was kind enough to take time out of his workday to answer my questions and provide me with some really insightful knowledge.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

A: Many see social media as all these platforms that you “have” to be active on in order to be successful for your business. I often encourage professionals to take a step back and understand what your objectives/goals are, who your audience is and what success looks like. Sometimes this doesn’t mean you need to be active across all channels and may have to vary strategy/platforms (ie. email campaigns, event marketing, etc.). However, yes, typically having a presence is important at least on the bigger platforms should audiences be looking for more info. Separately, another tip that is crucial is organization and preparation. Structured content calendars and/or a real-time content POV will make everyone’s life easier when creating a content marketing program or any social strategy.

Q: Why do you think social media is important to build consumer engagement?

A: Again, I think this needs to map back to your goals in terms of overarching strategy and what you want your consumers to be doing. Many people get their news from social media and can often be the first impression a consumer has to a brand – therefore, it’s becoming increasingly important to have your organization’s social presence dictate how you want to be viewed and engagement further helps this cause in encouraging consumers to align with your brand.

Q: What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?

A: Targeted content. Targeted by platform, audience, real-time events and other variables. We’re seeing brands push out this trend somewhat exists but is becoming increasingly important. Some examples include Tide’s “Small but Powerful” campaign – content created using multiple players from multiple teams to resonate with those diverse regional markets. Another example is Allstate’s “#StreitCred” campaign with Kirk Herbstreit – leveraging one different college football team per week right after they win a big game to target those large diverse fan bases who care about their respective teams. For that matter, the targeted paid social advertising capabilities are also improving across platforms giving advertisers a stronger ability to make sure they are hitting the right fans on social media. The broad approach to social media isn’t good enough anymore (within reason) when fans and consumers are looking for content that resonates with them and their interests – especially from brands.

Q: Which social media platforms are important to you and your organization? Why?

A: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the major players. A rise in Snapchat and Periscope but many are still figuring out their value. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are important due to the sheer size of audiences active on the platforms, open dialogues between brands, influencers, & consumers, and targeting ability.

Q: Which social media platforms do you dislike using for professional purposes? Why?

A: Well I think the platforms that demonstrate value tend to stick around and therefore, are beneficial for organizations to consider into their content mix. On the flip side, many platforms have come and gone such as Peach, Ello, Path, Meerkat, etc… The successful platforms meet an inherent consumer need mixed with the right timing that they hit the market.

Mark killed the interview. My brain was on the verge of exploding from all of the knowledge bombs he dropped. Here are some of the key points I took away:

  • As simple as it sounds, preparation is key. Social media can be deceiving to users because it is so spontaneous, which makes preparation even more important. Visualizing what you want to achieve and mapping out goals for various channels/platforms is a crucial step that cannot be overlooked. You must also be prepared for different scenarios so that you can respond in a way that will benefit you or your organization rather than harm it.
  • When you are looking to build a community and engage with it on a personal level it’s crucial that your messages/content resonates with them. Mark’s bit about targeted content really gets this point across, and he’s absolutely correct. I know for me as a consumer I’m much more likely to engage with someone/something that I can connect with on a personal level, so why should social media change that? Like Mark said, the broad approach just isn’t getting the job done anymore.

Special thanks to Mark Wysocki for taking the time to do this interview despite our only connection being that one time he skyped my class… last year. Pretty nice guy, I’d say.

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