Sircle Squad Profile: Ilana Strauss

ilana

We just hired an amazingly talented new content creator after she won us over during her trial internship. We love to hire via our farm system and when a talented young recruit stands out, we know we have a real winner.  She just joined our squad and we wanted you to get to know her too. We sat down with her this week, and this is what we found out:

Full name/nickname: Ilana Strauss. No nicknames really (we are working on that!)

Age: 22

University and Major: Towson University, Class of 2017. Major: Art + Design with a concentration in Photography. Minor: Mass Communication

What made you choose Sircle Media?: I chose Sircle Media for several reasons. First, by working here at Sircle, I am able to combine two of my passions: photography and social media. In school, I majored in photography where I learned all about the art form from the technical aspects, to the history of photography. Simultaneously, I was studying mass communication where I learned about advertising, marketing, and even took a class specifically on social media and branding. Sircle Media allows me to take everything I’ve learned over the years and apply it to the real world. Another reason I chose Sircle, is because of the company’s culture and work environment. I am able to work alongside an amazing group of creatives that offer their unconditional support and guidance. With their encouragement, I have been able to step outside of my comfort zone and experiment with different projects.

Most surprising discovery/realization after working here?: One thing I learned quickly from working here is how different each and every day is. One day I could be on my hands and knees, styling potato chips for a photo and the next day I could be shooting at a restaurant on the other side of Manhattan. I love how no two days are exactly alike.

What is the best part of your internship?: The best part of this internship has been Sircle’s team environment. Since day one, everyone has made me feel like I was an integral part of the team and that my ideas and opinions were valued just as much as anyone else’s.

What can you tell us about Adam or your supervisor?: The person I work most closely with on the team is Reid, the Media Director. I’ve learned so much from working alongside him. From walking me through new editing techniques in Photoshop to giving me full responsibility and creative direction over several different projects, Reid has been an awesome mentor and I look forward to working more with him. I’ve also had the pleasure of getting to know Adam, the President, over the past several months. Adam has been an incredible leader and continues to inspire me. His motivational emails remind me of the importance of not only working hard at this job but also focusing on improving myself as an individual. He is also extremely approachable and I know I can go to him with any idea, question, or concern.

The advice you would give to a future intern?: The advice I would give to a future intern is to truly take advantage of everything Sircle has to offer. You are sitting in a room full of talented designers, photographers, and social media managers. There is so much to learn and everyone at Sircle is willing to help you grow.

Bonus Questions:

Three songs that never fail to get you hyped: September – Earth, Wind & Fire, Kill the Lights- Alex Newell, Jess Glynne & DJ Cassidy and I Wanna Dance With Somebody- Whitney Houston

What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?: I played goalie for my intramural and travel soccer teams for 8 years

What cartoon/movie character were you inexplicably afraid of as a kid: I really loved the movie E.T as a kid until my parents brought home an E.T toy for me, unaware that its eyes glowed in the dark. After that, I was terrified of the character and could never watch the movie again. (I hid the toy in my closet.)

 

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On using Twitter Search to your advantage…

On this episode, I talk about using Search.Twitter.com to your advantage more for business. I think brands have given up on Twitter and/or have really demoted it in favor of Instagram (proper and Stories) and Facebook. That is fine, but it most certainly should not be abandoned.

Whether you use it personally or not is irrelevant, what matters is that a ton of people do use it religiously and are often using it to seek information and recommendations about a range of topics. The search feature is incredibly powerful because within seconds you can take a peek at what conversations are happening and chime right in.

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A simple search for “Vegan Protein Powder” will give you a breakdown of all people who are talking about that topic on Twitter. Not only can you find other brands to collaborate with, competitor brands to monitor and influencers to engage as secondary benefits, but more importantly you will find customers looking for advice.

For a brand looking to sell a product online and to introduce something new to a niche market this is everything.  As you can see below, these are three inquiries for recommendations on this exact topic in the past week.

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For me, this is gold. I can easily see who is talking about the itch that my product can scratch and I can chime into the conversation from the comfort of my own home?  Sign me up…

 

 

 

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Facebook Advertising hacks, for April 2018…

On this episode, I talk about Facebook Advertising in April 2018. With all the news and concerns about Facebook as a platform right now, we are seeing some excellent pricing on Ads and really solid metrics across the board.  Our suggestion is to lean in when others seem to be leaning away and reap the benefits.

I break down two types of Ads that are really performing very well right now. One is a Video Views campaign, which is fairly straightforward. Create some simple, but catchy videos and then run them on Facebook with the intent of targeted reach and consumption of that video as the engagement metric. The second is re-targeting users based on having engaged with your Instagram Account. This is no longer new, but I have found it is underutilized by any brand I work or speak with. Some tips:

Head over to the Facebook Ad Manager and go to the ‘Audiences’ tab. Once you’re on the Audiences screen, you’ll need to click the blue ‘Create Audience’ button and select ‘Custom Audience’.

Select ‘Engagement’ from the list of Custom Audience types.

Instagram engagement ads

You can choose to either create your new Custom Audience based on people who have engaged with your Instagram business profile, OR who have watched one of your videos on Instagram!

Instagram business account engagement or video engagement

Choose the ‘Instagram Business Profile’ option to create a re-targeting audience based on people who’ve interacted with your Instagram account. Facebook gives us a range of options to choose from when it comes to targeting our Instagram audience.

You have the choice of creating an audience of Instagram users including:

  • Everyone who engaged with your Instagram profile (this includes visiting your profile OR engaging with your content or ads)
  • Only people who visited your Instagram profile
  • Only people who engaged with your content or ads
  • People who sent a message to your business profile
  • People who saved any of your posts or ads

I suggest you allocate some funds and experiment with all of these to see what works best. If you have spent time developing your Instagram profile and that is where you are seeing the most engagement and awareness, then this is a way to really leverage it across platforms and see additional benefits.  Get involved!

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On communication between clients and agencies…

On this episode, I talk about how clients and agencies should treat the courting process more like interviews to really get a better sense of what it will be like working together.  Of course, the skills and knowledge should be assessed, but the attitude, tone, and communication approach are of equal importance.

Clients should really try to smoke out how agencies roll in those areas and conversely, I think it is so important for the agency to get a sense of what the client is like and how they want to be communicated with. I try to do a real level setting up front, as well as ongoing temperature check-ins to see how we are faring throughout the relationship. I can say very confidently that the clients who openly communicate and are transparent with their thoughts and feelings about our approach and service all outperform those who do not.

We are experts in navigating social platforms, managing paid social ads, working with influencers and effectively running social media for brands, but we are not expert mind readers.  Just as open and honest communication internally between employers and employees is the key to success, so too is the need to follow suit with your agency relationships.

Tips:

1- Be straightforward and never passive aggressive. 

2- Be brutally honest and always fair. 

3- Don’t allow frustration to mount and allow a molehill to become a mountain.

4- Don’t assume the agency knows exactly what makes you tick, guide them.

5- Allow the relationship to evolve and do level setting reviews from time to time to point the compass for all parties involved.

Invest the time and improve your client-agency relationships, because if you do that you put your brand in a better position to win.

 

 

 

 

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On trusting your “trainer” when it comes to social media…

I wrote a blog post last year about sometimes feeling like a personal trainer when doing my job as the owner of a Social Media Strategy. The post actually received some positive feedback and I wanted to get into the topic again. On this episode, I took it a bit deeper and added my thoughts via voice which is a more popular format it seems these days. However you choose to consume it, I think it is a simple yet important one to hear.

If you are hiring a trainer for something as serious as your health OR an expert for something as serious as your business’ marketing success, it is imperative to choose a good one and then let them do what they do. Dont second guess or undermine along the way, especially in areas you might not be super well versed in.  Remove the hedge, follow blindly and see what comes from it.

I know for certain it will lead to better results with Sircle Media…

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On contradictions and how they can ruin your social media strategy…

On this episode, I talk about how contradictions will kill your social media efforts.  It is mission critical to figure out what you want to have happen and then hire someone (internal employee or agency partner) that you feel knows what they are doing to implement. Then it is wise to get out of their way and let them do what they do. Stating KPIs or needs and then putting roadblocks or hurdles in place that make those harder to hit is just not good business.

We encourage brands to really think about the creative direction they want to go in, the engagement style they feel good about and the growth KPIs and metrics for success they feel are right and then clearly articulate them up front. Then they should turn the wheel over to their trusted partner and let them do what they do.

Why hedge? Go all in and reap the benefits…

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