Hannah Meuser is a Social Media Specialist at Anvil Media, a Portland-based integrated marketing agency that specializes in search engine marketing, social media and analytics. She has been working in marketing ever since she moved to Portland from Wilmington, North Carolina, making her name in clientele management and product development for such companies as Adidas and Lindsay Hart LLP.
A few years ago, she decided to venture into the brave new world of social media marketing, and enrolled in Portland State University’s Digital Marketing Certificate program. There, she added to her already impressive marketing skill set by learning how to define, nurture and improve a client’s brand with social media and analytics. Since graduating from the program, she has achieved a level of success usually reserved for people who have been in the industry for decades. While still in her 20s, she has become a seasoned pro.
TMM’s Michael Munkvold, another alumnus of PSU’s digital marketing certificate program, sat down with his old classmate to talk about what she learned from the program, how she takes her clients’ brands into the digital realm, and how newbie marketers can SEO themselves.
Q: How did you get started in marketing?
A: I decided to major in marketing after failed majors in psychology and communications. Business made sense to me, and I have a creative personality, so marketing was the next logical step. After I studied graduated, I moved to Portland and got a retail job at Adidas in an administrative function. I was a retail developer, making NBA products and NCAA on court jerseys. Pretty cool, but not at all what I wanted to be doing. I kept trying to get into their marketing department, but it’s hard to make a cross-functional move like that. After about three months, I got a job as the marketing coordinator for the law firm Lindsay Hart. I was a one-woman marketing team, doing things like PR and mailers, and quickly realized that digital was where I needed to be spending my time, being on such a shoestring budget. So I took PSU’s Digital Marketing Certificate program, and here I am.
Q: What about the Digital Marketing certificate program helped you succeed as a marketing professional?
A: It gave us a good overview of the landscape of this industry, and it gave me a good overview of where I would fit in.
Q: How have you used what you learned in the digital marketing certificate program in your job?
A: One example is the content calendar. [Certificate program instructor] Siouxsie Jennett ran us through a content calendar in her class, and there’s a lot involved. It’s not just, “Monday: tweet”. It’s about what sort of messaging we’re promoting and what goals we’re accomplishing. I think now I’m able to see very clearly the difference between a strategy and a tactic, and I don’t think I would have able to do that if not for that class.
Q: You’re now working as a Social Media Specialist at Anvil Media. Tell us about that job.
A: I develop strategy for clients’ social media. That can range from daily strategy, where I create content calendars, to overall strategy based on clients’ goals such as increasing traffic to their website or increasing engagement with their platform. A lot of people think that a social media strategist is this person who tweets all day and says things like “tweet to like ratio”, but it’s so much more than that. For the first time ever, businesses are able to make money from social media, where it was hard to prove ROI on social media even a couple of years ago.
Q: What has changed?
A: Businesses needed to directionalize their effort. They knew that they needed to be on those platforms to have the competitive advantage, but they couldn’t afford to put someone on salary and not see results. With analytics, now we can track a person who comes to the website from Facebook, for example, and track them throughout the website, set up goals and analytics, and ultimately see if this person converts, if the traffic is qualified. If it’s not, maybe we need to adjust our messaging. With Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics, and even with third party apps, you can really get a feel for whether it’s working.
Q: How do you plan your social media strategy?
A: I start with what the client is trying to achieve, ultimately. If they’re an ecommerce client, they need to drive traffic to a place where people can make a purchase. You want to build your overall network around these social media sites so you have more eyes on your product. They might see your product in February and not purchase it until June, but it’s important to interact with them throughout that cycle. I engage them and drive them back to the website, where they can make a purchase. It’s basically a conversation; it comes down to audience listening, asking questions, and becoming engaged.
Q: Give me an example of a time you did that for a client.
A: I had a hospitality client with locations on the Oregon Coast known as romantic getaways, who wanted to highlight their amenities and a few specials centered on Valentine’s Day. In January, I started planting seeds with my network: “What are your Valentine’s Day plans?” I also got in touch with my client to see what kinds of things they wanted me to push. It’s a mix of talking to my clients and seeing what they’re pushing, and offering insights of my own.
Q: What tools and programs do you find most important in your job, and digital marketing in general?
A: First and foremost, Google Analytics. For social media management, I prefer SproutSocial to HootSuite; it’s a little more expensive, but I like the added functionality of it, and I find it to be more user-friendly and targeted more to businesses than individuals. I like the free tools that Google provides, like their keyword planner and keyword tools. I’m in Google for about 65 percent of my day.
Q: What advice would you give someone who is just starting out in the marketing field?
A: This industry moves fast, so knowing a bit of everything is a must. Right before I started doing this job, I was doing PPC ads for a white water rafting company that didn’t do social media, but that was where the industry was heading. You don’t want to lose your core business, but you could sync up other digital efforts with your social media or via the website. You have to learn things that are hard, even things you might not want to learn, but are still necessary. Just get started: do work for a family company that you know, build your own website. Get to know WordPress, implement SEO best practices, see who is coming to your site, and have your resume live on your webpage. SEO yourself.