I’m pleased to announce the latest addition to the Search Engine Journal team: Debbie Miller of Social Hospitality. We hired Debbie as our social media manager to man our growing community of users on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. I asked Debbie a few questions to give us further insight into her experiences and where she thinks social media is heading in 2014.
Debbie will also be writing a monthly column for Search Engine Journal. I am so excited to see what she has to offer!
What made you get into social media?
I actually got into social media accidentally. I had been hired to manage the web presence for a local destination marketing organization and the position relied primarily on updating website content, working on e-newsletters, updating calendar listings, etc. Around 2008/2009, our online marketing agency recommended we start Twitter and Facebook pages since, social media for businesses was becoming more common and essential.
I began managing the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages and engaging other members of the community. Then I began attending tweetups and other events with fellow social media practitioners. I was lucky in the sense that social media marketing came pretty naturally to me and I was able to continuously learn, “practice,” and grow with it.
The beginning of 2011 was a wonderfully transitional period when in January, I debuted my blog, Social Hospitality, on social media and the hospitality industry. Then, in February 2011, I began working for HyperDisk Marketing which helped further my career and allowed me to be involved in social media and SEO for various different clients, which helped further evolve my interests and skills.
What have been some of your favorite campaigns to work on?
I’ve worked on a lot of fun campaigns with my team at HyperDisk. Just a couple of months ago, we had a hotel client with around 4,500 Facebook fans in November and wanted to reach 10,000 by the end of the year. We did a large push with various strategic ads and messaging and helped them reach their goal.
Another one of our clients does an annual Mother’s Day brunch and last year I helped them incorporate a blogger outreach program that ended up doubling their brunch revenue over the previous year. We also have a collection of hotels for which we did a variety of fun giveaways including girls getaway, golf, regional, and family promotions.
What do you think is going to be hot in social media this year?
Having an optimized mobile presence will continue to be of high priority. This includes everything from responsive design websites to being optimized for local search parameters. People interact with businesses and websites differently on a mobile device than they do a desktop site and it’s vital that businesses are prepared accordingly.
Visual social platforms continue to remain popular and gain traction. Instagram and Pinterest continue to thrive and provide new opportunities on the business side, such as Instagram’s introduction of their direct-messaging-type function. Vine and Snapchat are also popular and should not be ignored. Brands seem to be getting more creative on these channels, like Airbnb’s “Hollywood & Vines,” which was the first film directed via Twitter and shot entirely on Vine.
I know you are a conference lover, like me. What conferences have you been to lately?
I love attending conferences and events and am looking forward to the many already planned for this year! In addition to numerous local events in LA and Orange County, I’ve attended SWSWi, SXSW V2V, NMX, iStrategy, TEDx events, Foodservice Social Media Universe, and the 140 Conference. This year, I attended NMX and will also be attending the Social Media Strategies Summit, Social Media Marketing World, SMX, Restaurant & Bar Convention (at which I’m speaking), BlogHer, and possibly more as the year progresses.
What made you apply to the SEJ position? What are you looking forward to most about this position?
For the past few years, Social Hospitality has transitioned from a blog to a side business as well. My goal for this year is to take it to the next level, so I’d been keeping an eye out for opportunities to take on new clients and projects. I’ve been a fan SEJ for a while and have always enjoyed the content produced on the site. It seemed like a unique opportunity to be in a role I know I’d enjoy for a reputable, high-caliber online publication. In addition to having a worthy excuse to read and talk about SEJ articles, I’m really looking forward to expanding my knowledge on the SEO side along with attending more SEO-focused events. The overall experience so far has been really enjoyable and I’m excited and grateful to be a part of the team.
What do you have in the pipeline for this year?
Taking Social Hospitality to the next level is my biggest goal this year. It often gets put on the back-burner when I get busy, and I plan to re-align my priorities to place a larger emphasis on the brand. It’s already given me so much even though I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to really nurture it, and this year I plan to do that and establish it as both a reliable social media resource as well as a company offering social media, SEO, and copywriting services. Launching an accommodating podcast on social media is also on my to-do list for the near future. On the speaking side, I’m hoping to do more speaking engagements and I was recently hired to be a Social Media Strategy Instructor at UC Irvine Extension, which I’m thrilled to be doing.