In this week’s Q&A, we sat down with Malikah Kelly, the Digital Content Manager from Steve Madden, to learn her best practices for Social Media, Brand Development, and Marketing to Drive ROI.

What has your experience been like in the retail industry?
So I’ve been in the [retail] industry for almost 10 years now. I started off with blogging and editorial content straight out of college - since then I’ve worked with several different companies on eCommerce, social media, digital marketing, and online brand development.
What is the break up of your ideal social team?
You definitely need to have a good mix of really creative, content oriented people who can do amazing photography and create beautiful graphics. You need people who are business minded – people who will be thinking about generating ROI and about how everything social relates back to the overall companies objectives. Then you need the data nerds – people who are into the data science and the intelligent use of the content in analytics. Content is really important for building a following and maintaining engagement - you really need analytics expertise so you know how to optimize engagement and see how it ties back to the company’s strategic goals.
What type of social networks would be important for brands or publishers?
Honestly, it depends on what your industry is and what your brands priorities are. There is a trend of people getting caught up in being where it is “hot” or “trending” but they forget what their core demographic and strategy is. Right now, everyone is obsessed with Snapchat – but they are forgetting that it is a heavy millennial platform, and if that’s not your core customer it’s not really the place you should be focusing. Maybe your core customer is based more on Facebook or Pinterest. The right social media marketing mix has to include multiple platforms and that mix really depends on what the company’s goals are.
How do you think that would impact businesses objectives?
I think that the cool thing about social [media] is that it’s such a good way to grab attention and get your products, brand or company in the right peoples faces. It’s so much easier than traditional print advertising to get traction with – so it can have a huge impact for relatively little investment, just from getting people to see your content or finding brand ambassadors to really support and be evangelical about your brand.
How would you measure the traction from these social media platforms?
Definitely likes, number of followers, comments, and other forms of engagement are important but it really just depends on what the brand strategy is. For example, going back to Snapchat, the ultimate form of engagement would be a screenshot because they [the consumers] know it’s going to disappear but they want to save it. Whereas on Instagram it’s more likely to be a comment, and on Facebook it’s more likely to be a share – the nature of the beast really does vary a with the way these platforms are, how to figure out how your brand is using social and what it [these platforms] helps to accomplish.
What challenges have you faced?
The hardest thing is always creating new content and keeping it really interesting but also cohesive. You want to make sure you’re telling a story that makes sense for your brand and you’re being true to your brands values – but at the same time you don’t want to make it look boring or stale. You have to think of way to make it look fresh, cool, and exciting without making it too different that you start alienating your customers or they don’t recognize who you are [as a brand].
Where do you get that inspiration?
I personally get inspiration from everywhere; I’m on social all the time. I try to spend a good time looking at retail, looking at products, seeing what’s on the floor, and every season I’m on WGSN or WWD looking at Fashion Week recaps. Everything from fashion to travel I just try to be immersed in everything going on in the world – it helps you know what’s relevant, stay on top of things, stay inspired and come up with cool ideas.
Is there a campaign you’re most proud of?
I’ve done a lot of cool campaigns that I really liked but probably one of my favorites was when I was living in Italy and working for a brand called, NEIMASITAWI – a small Italian luxury brand that had recently been started at the time I was working with them. I was brought to work on their marketing strategy and digital campaign – so we did a video and photo-shoot in this amazing old Italian villa and we sourced all of these really cool leather accessories and authentic lighting booths. The clothes were so beautiful – she was an amazing designer – they were all gorgeous Italian silks and cashmeres. We really had no budget so we just had to be really creative and scrappy but it just turned out so gorgeous from the scenery to the props to the gorgeous clothing that we were able to use. It was definitely a success and turned out visually stunning.
What advice do you have for social media marketers?
I think that it is really important to stay nimble because the industry is changing so much, and just to age myself a little bit – when I started doing this [marketing] there was Facebook, Instagram wasn’t even invented and Snapchat was probably just a thought in someone’s mind. Now there are so many things that we spend out time thinking about like how to maximize presence and how to monetize, but you don’t know what it [the market] is going to be like next year or five years from now. You really have to be on top of it and adaptive because social media is changing so quickly.
Do you have a prediction for the future of social media?
I think that we’re going to see more disappearing content, so more apps similar to Snapchat where the content is just temporary. I think the cool thing about that is it requires urgency – I know I can look at my friends Instagrams or Facebooks all day and their stuff is always going to be there so I don’t necessarily have to rush to see it, but every time someone sends me a snap I look at it right away because I know that it’s going to disappear. I think we’re going to see a lot more apps that use that similar technology just to increase the urgency of looking at content and the amount of time you spend on the app because you feel that pressure to quickly jump on to see what people are posting.
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Posted by Sheena