Acquiring Leadership Buy-In to Test on Social Platforms

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With SSU Social Media Marketing Awards seeking examples of innovative social media channels and campaigns, we spoke with Andrea McCarren, Vice President and Chief Content Officer for PenFed Digital. McCarren took top honors in the digital leader of the year category at last year's Digital and Social Media Awards.

We asked McCarren about testing new platforms, explaining social strategy to leadership and the challenges to building a variety of content on a regular basis.

The interview was edited for space.

Andrea McCarren, Vice President and Chief Content Officer for PenFed Digital

PRNEWS: How do you test emerging platforms for your brand and determine which ones make sense to join, and which you should avoid?

Andrea McCarren: Regardless of a brand’s industry, it’s important to know your social media audience and what motivates or inspires them.

Emerging platforms are an interesting conundrum for financial institutions like PenFed Credit Union. Do you jump into a new platform that may or may not gain traction, or sit back and see how it plays out?

Emerging platforms are exciting and provide an opportunity to highlight your brand in a new space. If your audience isn’t there though, you’ll be wasting time and effort that could have been spent generating engagement on a legacy platform.

Ultimately, we want to inspire trust and loyalty with our audience, not simply sell them a product. We select the social media platforms that enable us to tell a story and avoid trending or emerging platforms that might not have long-term viability.

PRNEWS: How do you explain this rationale to leadership who may or may not have the social media chops of your team, but want you to be experimenting everywhere?

McCarren: Leadership understands return on investment, so we often speak in terms that resonate with them and align with company goals.

Our team is fortunate that leadership trusts our judgment and expertise. For us, there’s a greater return on investment when we focus on what works rather than experimenting with each new platform.

There’s a level of risk inherent with social media, especially in experimenting with new platforms. We prefer to experiment with content that further engages our audience and strengthens our relationship with them.

PRNEWS: What are the greatest challenges to building out content on a regular basis for your various channels?

McCarren: Thinking outside the box and dreaming up creative, inspirational and engaging—yet, brand-relevant—content is a challenge. Social media platforms are always transforming and changing the landscape. With limited resources, staff and time, we focus on where we can make the greatest positive impact.

Call for entries for the 2023 Social Media Marketing Awards is open.