In this week’s Q&A, we sat down with Ryan Saghir, the Director of Digital Marketing from Sabra Dipping Company, to learn his best practices for Brand Development, Social Media, and Digital Strategy.

 What is your role at Sabra Dipping Company?

I am the Director of Digital Marketing and have been on board the company for just under a year now.

What is the makeup of your social team?

We primarily manage our social through our agency partners through variety of different ways. We work very closely with The Martin Agency for content marketing and community management, as well as OMD/Resolution Media for media planning and buying on social.

What social networks do you currently publish on?

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and we’ve done Snapchat but more primarily events based, not as an ongoing publication.

What are your business objectives for social media?

It may be surprising to people who live in greater city areas, but Sabra, and hummus in general actually, doesn’t really have recognition for the majority of the United States, so our major business objectives are driving awareness and household penetration. We want to get people who haven’t tried us, to try us, and get new users into the hummus category.

How are you currently measuring your objectives?

Primarily through studies: we do awareness measurement through brand studies, and then we work very closely with our partners whether it be Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. to see if there is a sales lift to understand ROI.

What challenges do you face?

Honestly, the fact of the matter is that no one has this figured out – we’re all in the same boat of trying to figure this out. It’s no longer digital marketing, it’s marketing in a digital age. You used to be able to just close your laptop and go from your digital life to your real life but now with the advent of mobile, it is now with us and has permeated every single aspect of our lives. We are truly marketing in a digital age now. We’ve never been in this place in history, it is a very significant change and we’re all trying to figure it out together. Brands are constantly learning, so the biggest challenge would be to make sure that you’re structured in a way that allows you to persistently learn, adjust and be flexible, because without that flexibility we won’t know how to proceed.

What is one campaign that you are most proud of?

It’s actually going on right now, we launched in April what is called “The Unofficial Meal,” and it’s really about that moment when you come home from work or school and dinner isn’t ready yet – you still need to cook dinner or Seamless needs to come – it is that moment when you change into your sweatpants, want to relax and have a little bit of that downtime with family or friends just before dinner – this is what we call The Unofficial Meal. Our loyal consumers are already using Sabra in a way that creates this daily ritual and gives them the ability to say “I just want to have some baby carrots, chips maybe, and enjoy a little Sabra over conversation while getting ready for dinner” so it is such a cool truth and reality. We’ve been doing this campaign across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and inclusive of TV – so it is not just digital or TV, it is digital AND TV – and we’re really working together in that Omni-Channel approach to make sure we’re celebrating this “unofficial meal” together. Every time I tell that to somebody, there is a smile across their face and they’re like “that’s totally me!” Every campaign plays on a specific truth and it transcends beyond digital or TV, we’re always trying to tell stories that are based off of truth.

What social networks are you most excited to try new things with?

I love Snapchat, I think Snapchat is awesome, but I have to say that more than anything else there are a lot of advances and exciting things happening at Facebook and with Instagram. I’m sure most people probably love the idea of what Snapchat brings and their approach because there is something very fascinating about it, but seeing how Facebook, Instagram and all of the other major networks are all evolving is really exciting as well. I’m really excited about working with the major social networks themselves, but there is still a piece of my heart for Snapchat, I just feel that it needs to be done right and not forced, I wouldn’t want to force us to do something when it doesn’t make complete sense for the brand.

What advice do you have for other social media marketers out there?

I think it goes back to what I was just saying – don’t publish for publishing sake. I think a lot of social media marketers got very irritated with the change when Facebook decided to tune down organic – but I think that was a great move because honestly brands tend to think they’re actually more important than people. When brands are posting 5-6 times a day to talk about their product, you know there’s something wrong. You want to add value and speak the truth of what you are as a brand, so you don’t want to “participate in the conversation” just to participate. I understand that brands want to be relevant and get reach, which is great, but in the end does it actually add value to people’s feeds? My biggest advice would be to pause and look at some of the content that brands are publishing because we’re just adding noise and diluting the benefits of these platforms. If Facebook didn’t make the change, people would’ve done it themselves, by unsubscribing and unfollowing or just stopped using Facebook altogether – so ultimately it was in the best interest for brands.

What predictions do you have for the future of social media?

I would say it is the importance of the “now” – I think there is a strength on Twitter that it’s just beginning to unlock. And I think we see that with Snapchat – taking a series of communications that is back and fourth without having to worry about permanent repercussions. This is all used to show what is happening right NOW. Even with Facebook Live we’re seeing the strength of the “now” and I think you’re going to see some big changes when it comes to Twitter and the evolution of Facebook. I’m really bullish about Facebook Live and with Twitter really beginning to find it’s groove when it comes to Moments – I think Moments is one of the most significant things to develop on their platform. I think as we’re looking at it, the future of social and the prediction that I see is the growing purpose of being able to share the immediate “now” very quickly and easily with other people. I think that this is going to continue to develop into an overall trend.

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Posted by Sheena