Interview With Complex’s Shelbi Jones

By Alyssa Das

I recently was able to interview my friend, Shelbi Jones, about her views on social media in general and as a career. Shelbi works in Advertising at Complex in Chicago. She’s been my friend and role model since high school. For someone who is not even a year out of college, she is full of industry knowledge and advice, I just told her yesterday she is a “giant vat full of knowledge.” I am extremely lucky to have so many friends doing dope sh*t.

 The first thing I asked Shelbi was for advice:

Me (Alyssa): What advice do you have for an aspiring social media professional?

Shelbi: One piece of advice that I would give to an aspiring social media professional is to make an effort to understand the different roles of social media in business. We use social for anything from promoting our brand to using social influencers to promote other brands for advertising campaigns. It’s important to understand what part of social is the most interesting to you. Do you like reporting, copywriting, developing content? We have two different social teams at Complex. We have CORE who reports for us, works with social influencers and more brand partnership focused issues. Then we have the Social Squad who works closely with editorial. They control our Twitter accounts, Facebook and Snapchat. They make sure we are one of the first outlets tweeting about any big news in pop culture, music, sports and style. They also go to tent pole events, like All-Star Weekend or SXSW to generate social content for our audience.

A: What is the best advice you could give to someone in an entry-level position?

S: The best advice I could give to a person in an entry-level position is to make your goals known. Don’t be overbearing, but let your manager and team know where you want to be in the foreseeable future. For example, I told my manager now that I have an interest in events and promotions, now whenever our events and promotions team is in Chicago he allows me to go on-site and assist them, which definitely wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t speak up.

A: Can you tell me a Complex social media success story?

S: One of the latest successful social media campaigns that we completed was in partnership with Chevy Trax.

A: What made it so successful?

S: They wanted to raise millennial awareness of their latest small SUV, so we partnered with influencers in NYC and LA to create the campaign, Hidden Gems. Influencers were given a Chevy Trax SUV to ride around in for the night with friends. They were also given an itinerary of Hidden Gems in each city and they were contracted to post about the happenings of the night and mentioning the SUV. I think it was successful because of the social influencers who we used. They had a plethora of followers and were known around each city. The program generated interesting content beyond just using the hashtag. The program was so successful that we went on partner with them again for Trax 2.0, which took place in Austin and New Orleans.

Here’s a screen shot of an interactive map, showing each city with #HiddenGems, from Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.17.39 AM

A: What do you think the most important trend in social media is?

S: I think the most important trend in social media is getting away from using famous people to endorse products and focusing on social influencers. Consumers are interested in the opinions of people who are like them. Following the Kardashians is entertaining, but Kim and I aren’t using the same shampoo or driving the same car, ya know?

A: Who, other than Kanye, should I follow to keep up on social media?

S: My favorite account to follow on twitter for social trends is @247LS. Laundry Service is a social media agency with offices all over the country. They’re really up to date with everything trending in social and they are constantly getting me hip to new trends. I feel like a lot of social trends that sites talk about are just regurgitated and always about millennials. Laundry Service doesn’t do that. They are the ones who taught me how people are making their own custom snapchat geotags for weddings and other big events. I’ve seen the custom geotags but I had no idea how they were being made. Laundry Service had the run down.

I am extremely lucky to have someone like Shelbi in my life, someone I can call or text for advice on stuff like this and for personal stuff. I’ve always thought Complex was a cool brand and this interview was a great way to get to know more about the internal environment of the company. She also provided a lot of good tips on who to follow, when to speak up and what to focus on. I also got to learn about a Complex campaign and partnership I have never heard about. For more Shelbi wisdom, check out her Twitter.

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