Two Minutes With” is Weber Shandwick Seattle’s employee spotlight series that provides professional and personal insight into our rock star team. Today we’re highlighting Senior Digital Manager Jon Yang. Enjoy!

Digital Strategist. What activities does that job entail on a daily basis?

A digital strategist works with account teams and clients to identify business problems and define realistic goals and key performance indicators that, when paired with smart tactics and a solid understanding of the target audience, will result in empirical progress against the baseline – translation; ROI.

It’s important that they remain focused on providing real value by ensuring tactics support the overall strategic vision – versus ad hoc activities which may not be efficiently supporting the stated business goal. They should be constantly asking not only the how but also the why a tactic should be deployed, and then be able to show proof of that. Recognizing that there is a multitude of potential audiences, key messages, content vehicles and platforms – the goal then is to find the points at which these intersect most effectively and drive engagement for brands.

Today’s digital strategists need to have a tactical understanding in a host of areas to be able to effectively connect the dots between brands, marketing channels, technological solutions and ultimately advocates. These can include, but aren’t limited to –

  • Social Media Channels & Best Practices – playbooks, community management, risk plans.
  • Paid Amplification – social advertising, search advertising, paid content syndication.
  • Content Creation – design, copy, video, content delivery mechanisms.
  • Platform Development – websites, mircrosites, social properties, email marketing, mobile applications.
  • Measurement – awareness, sentiment, tonality, CPM/CPC, reach, impressions, etc.

What’s one social media trend that’s top of mind as we start to dive deep into 2013?

I’ve always been interested in specific ways brands can connect with or educate consumers through the one thing that’s always with them – their mobile device.  Of course it’s important to focus our attention and resources into the digital space, but I’m also highly curious to see how brands merge the physical world with cyberspace through technologies such as NFC or AR; near-field communication and augmented reality, respectively. NFC will significantly lower the bar to engagement as users simply have to swipe their phone near a NFC-enabled item such as a movie poster that’ll launch a movie trailer, a can of soup that will launch suggested recipes, a store sign that will bring up recent crowd-sourced reviews, or retail opportunities that ties in a loyalty programs and sharing incentives after a sale is made.

So what does this mobile technology specifically have to do with social media trends? Brands that invest in mobile interaction/content are going to have the best chances to engage with customers – whether that’s through location based content, sponsoring NFC scavenger hunts, or figuring out a way to continue to tailor social platforms to users who are continuing to move to a ‘mobile-first’ mentality. Brands will need to continue to create interesting, relevant and shareable content while also building out their mobile capabilities to foster social interactions. You could extend this further to talk about the role of transmedia and how brand’s need to use unique veins of content from numerous sources across multiple devices to reach consumers – but we’ll save that for another post!

What do you feel are the biggest challenges for brands on the social media front these days?

I think one of the biggest challenges is finding ways to continually create content that the user base wants to connect with, rather than just creating content to fill space. In the last few years brands have been told to essentially make land grabs for users and mindshare without much thought on what to do next with their followers or fans. As content becomes more and more competitive, brands are going to have to get increasingly creative with their content and focus them on niche audience segments. I think we’ll see a move to more complex publishing models run by brands if they want to compete for mindshare against the competitive content landscape.  They’ll be increasingly defining their brands through this content publishing model that will need to target niche audiences within social media channels.

Apparently, you like to hike and camp in frigid temps. What else keeps you busy when you’re not helping clients navigate the world of online marketing?

Jon-Yang-CampingIn my free time I like to get outdoors to hike, snowshoe and camp. In particular, I like to go camping in the winter up on Mt. Rainier or some other local mountain for a couple of nights with friends. It’s a great way to (mostly) disconnect from the world and recharge with nature.

We’ll typically start hiking at night with our lamps, backpacks, poles, snowshoes, toboggan’s, etc. There’s nothing quite like being up on a mountain in the dark with the wind/snow blowing in your face.  the view of the mountains in the day and the unparalleled view of the stars at night make every icy breath worth it.

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