An Interview with Jeremy Waite, head of Social Strategy at Adobe EMEA
There are lots of influential people in the world of social, many of whom share their social wisdom with the rest of us. We always jump at the chance to get some insights into what inspires those big in social, and what their tips are for great social etiquette.
How did you first get into social media as a career?
I have been in brand comms for 10 years and started in the golf industry.
Advertising started to get more and more social and I have always been fascinated with behavioural science and communities, so I was pretty much obsessed with social when I first discovered MySpace and started blogging.
What do you love about social media?
From a personal point of view, I love the fact that I am constantly connected to my friends, despite moving away from Manchester to London.
I also love the way that social media brings like-minded people together, so I regularly chat and share ideas with other social strategists and digital marketers.
From a commercial point of view, I love that social media is the one area of business where a brand doesn’t need to out-spend its competitors in order to beat them.
And what do you hate about it?
People’s obsession with the number of friends, followers and subscribers.
I’m a big fan of Robin Dunbar, the social scientist who’s research states that people are not capable of sustaining more than 150 friends. In fact we usually only have 3-5 really close friends. With that in mind, the fact that people claim to have thousands of friends is simply not true.
In many ways, social media is making us less connected than ever, because there is so much “noise” and we’re trying to “manage” so many superficial relationships.
What’s your favourite social network and why?
That’s like asking me to chose between my children as to which one is my favourite!
If I’m pushed I’ll go with Twitter and Instagram (although it’s interesting that Twitter don’t call themselves a social network anymore – they’re an information network), so I’ll go with Instagram. I love the creativity, I’ve always been a frustrated photographer, but I love the visual element that breaks down all cultural boundaries.
Every other network apart from Instagram is restrictedly language. I love that Instagram helps people anywhere in the world connect with each other.
Who are the people in social who inspire you most?
Jack Dorsey. Brian Solis. Gary Vaynerchuk. Kevin Rose. Olivier Blanchard. Reid Hoffman. Peter Thiel.
On a local level, James Whatley from Ogilvy is a pretty cool cat.
Which brands do you think do social particularly well?
The cliches will be Innocent, Coke, Red Bull and Starbucks – but I’m a huge fan of Paddy Power. Not necessarily from a gaming perspective, but I love that they “get” their fans and connect with their customers in a way that many other brands fail to.
What are your three top tips for those starting out in social media marketing?
1. Social media is about story-telling and engaging with the people that care about you (or your brand) the most
2. Social media is not primarily a sales channel. People want to “click-to-share” before they are asked to “click-to-buy” (although social is a pretty damned effective sales channel when it’s used properly)
3. If you understand the top 2 well enough, you don’t need a third tip :)
What 3 changes do you think we’ll see in the world of social media and SMM in the next year?
1. Social “media” will be increasingly referred to as social “business” as more brands will put it at the heart of their organisations
2. Customer service teams will have as much (if not more) ownership of social channels than marketing teams. Managing large numbers of fans at scale will also put the emphasis on more (accurate) automated processes
3. As brands seek to justify ROI for every penny they spend, social marketers will be held more accountable in the boardroom
Tell us about your new book – what are readers going to learn? What inspired you to write it?
“Follow Me, I’m Right Behind You” is a book about the top 100 people in social media. The subtitle of the book is “leading from the middle of the pack”. The book aims to inspire everyone from start-ups and entrepreneurs, to business leaders and junior managers by asking each of the people in the book two questions.
It should be a fun ‘coffee table’ style book and will be available for free (pay with a tweet) or as a glossy hardback version – where all profits will be going to charity (Help for Heroes Poppy Appeal). It is due out this summer.
Jeremy Waite is the Head of Social Strategy at Adobe EMEA. Previously, he held the same role at TBG Digital and prior to that was Head of Social Media for Phones 4u. His experience includes working with FTSE-100 organisations, such as Unilever and Centrica, in addition to well-known brands such as Reebok, MTV, and Kellogg’s. Jeremy is the author of ‘Sex, Brands & Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and is currently writing his next book, ‘Follow Me, I’m Right Behind You’.
Other Posts by Dominick Soar
Social Media Today