Author Archive for Celeste Currie

My Experience Building a Social Brand & Ambassador Program

This week in #CMGR class we read about social brands and building ambassador programs, which are two topics I consider myself being familiar with. In fall 2012, during my sophomore year in college, I enrolled in IDS (idea, design, technology and startups) 401. The IDS program is a hands-on experience that guides you through idea curation and execution. After completing all three classes, I now have a startup company, Soulscarf that focuses on giving back.

Each soulscarf comes with the above hanging clothing tag.

Each soulscarf comes with the above hanging clothing tag.

Soulscarf is a scarf company and we donate 20% of the proceeds to the charity that corresponds with the color heart on your tag. We just hit our one year anniversary (yay!). Although we are growing, we are no where near where we aspire to be. Each day, I learn more and more and I have a feeling that my learning process is going to be never ending.

While reading Britt Michaelian’s piece, I was able to connect with what he was saying. Michaelian brought up a lot of good points about how social brands connect with their audience and in my opinion, everything he said was correct. I found that not only do social brands connect with their audience, but we also connect with other social brands. We believe that helping others is the key to success. For example, TOMS recently launched the TOMS marketplace. A marketplace full of social brands where customers can shop their products. By creating this marketplace, TOMS has given social brands a new selling avenue as well as a new window of opportunity.

I have also learned that social brands are willing to share more information about their company to other social brands. When speaking with another social brand startup, we usually end up sharing every detail. Our “secret sauce” is not a secret. We want other social brands to be just as successful as we are.

As a startup, having an ambassador program is an opportunity that I jumped on. Mack Collier wrote a piece that explains how to build a successful ambassador program. I also agree on everything that Collier wrote. Here at Soulscarf, we have an ambassador program that we call “Campus Reps.” The Soulscarf Campus Representatives act as a liaison between their school and Soulscarf. They have their own email portal and are also featured on our website. When a new product comes out, they get a sneak peak and also a free sample.

When building the Campus Rep program, I wanted to start small and gather reps from a concentrated area. I started in my home state of Michigan and was able to work with a rep from every large university. Right away, I noticed that most of my sales were coming from Michigan. I believe that having a majority of our reps from Michigan as well as having grown up in Michigan gave Soulscarf the opportunity to have vast growth within those areas.

Building a social brand is something you need to be extremely passionate about in order to succeed.  Appropriate content and communication are a must and should not be overlooked. You are not just representing your brand, but you are also representing the cause(s) that you give back to.

Below are some of my favorite social goods. They’re perfect gifts that keep on giving for the holidays!

Flamboyant Body Cream from Tiossan. Price: $38.00

Flamboyant Body Cream from Tiossan. Price: $38.00

Cranberry Infinity soulscarf from Soulscarf. Price: $44.00

Cranberry Infinity soulscarf from Soulscarf. Price: $44.00

Charcoal Suede Pop Desert Wedges from TOMS. Price: $89.00

Charcoal Suede Pop Desert Wedges from TOMS. Price: $89.00

Poppy hat from Krochet Kids.

Poppy hat from Krochet Kids. Price: $37.95


Overlaps in Social Media Management and Community Management

This past week we have been reading about community managers and social media managers and the difference between the two. Vanessa DiMauro conveniently charts out the roles that a social media manager has that a community manager doesn’t have. I also read many other articles that pointed out the difference of the two. You can read them here and here.

Although I see the differences, I also see a lot of overlapping. After being a moderator for a week in #CMGRclass and after managing my startups social media accounts, I have some hands on experience. After doing the readings, I keep wondering, “Can you be a social media manager without being a community manager?” and “Can you be a community manager without being a social media manager?”

Below is the chart taken from Vanessa DiMauro’s article “Social Media Manager vs. Online Community Manager: Same or Different?”

B2B Success Measure Role Accountability
Drive leads Social Media Manager Marketing
Raise awareness of products or services Social Media Manager Marketing
Visibility of company, products, services or thought leaders Social Media Manager Marketing
Increase sales Social Media Manager Sales
Event attendance Social Media Manager on public channels, Community manager on community channels Marketing
Customer questions about how to use a product or service Community Manager Customer Service
Learn from customers (e.g. feedback into product development) Community Manager Product Management/R&D
Customer retention / satisfaction Community Manager Sales
Call center reduction/ Improve customers’ ability to get help from each other Community Manager Customer Service
Increase utilization of the products Community Manager Product Management

As you can see, the two roles have different jobs. However, they are also all closely related. For example, once you start to raise awareness of a product or service you will most likely have questions. A lot of these questions will most likely be asked through social media. So, when a customer asks a question through Twitter, who’s role is it to respond? The above chart states that it is a community manager’s role.

A social media manager is constantly checking their social channels and looking at customer’s reactions. They are learning from their customers because they are listening and are aware of patterns. Maybe a “how to” blog post gets more “likes” or “retweets” then a quote does. Knowing this information is useful and they are essentially gaining feedback. The above chart states that passing along feedback is a community manager’s role.

In my opinion, a social media manager is different from a community manager, but only slightly. I think we would find that a social media manager already manages the community that they have built. I also think we would find that a lot of community managers are active on social media. Overall, I think it comes down to the companies understanding of social media and community management. If they truly understand the impact of social media they might want to hire a “Community Manager.” If a company has both a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager, I have a feeling the two department have daily face-to-face meetings.


SU Graduate Tackles Blogging

The Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician logo.

The Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician logo.

Sean Keely is a Syracuse University graduate who has a passion for all things Syracuse University sports. He started noticing sports blogs and channels were not covering sub-topics such as soccer. They also did not have the type of content that he was looking for. When it was time for Sean to take matters into his own hands, he decided to just create his own sports blog. Now Sean’s blog, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician has many readers and brings in revenues.

A popular question that occurs in the blogging space is, “How do you attract reoccurring readers?” Although there may not be a “right” answer, bloggers typically have an idea of how they gained their audience. For Sean, his focus was simply writing for himself. However, using key words and amping up SEO are also beneficial to gaining traffic. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when using SEO. Blogger, Victoria Edwards lays out some key points to enhancing your SEO. In Sean’s case, he puts a focus on key words. Especially when a large or breaking news event occurs.

During our time with Sean, we were wondering if he had a relationship with the University now that his blog has many readers. Sean stated that at first the University was not involved, but he was okay with that. Now, SU is well aware of his blog and will invite him to special events or let him in on new news. Sean reached out to the University himself because he realized that he needed special access. From the panel, we also learned that Sean credits job offers from his blogging experience. One of these jobs includes his teaching position for a blogging course in the iSchool. This tells us that building a community is a valuable asset in the working environment.

At this point, it is safe to say that Sean Keely has built a name for himself in the blogging space. He has readers, access, and a “secret society” (if you know what Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician means, you’re apart of this society). He also has user-generated content, that he calls “Fanposts” and reader interactions. All of this has built a strong community made up of Syracuse University sports fans. Don’t forget to check out Sean’s blog here!