The scoop on flavorful approaches to social media
ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
NAME: Billy Johnson Jr.
TITLE: Music and Entertainment Journalist
Billy Johnson, Jr. is the former senior editor for Yahoo Music, a position he held for 17 years. He is a regular guest correspondent for CBS’s The Insider and his byline has appeared in numerous publications including Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Source. He has fully embraced a variety of social media platforms including Snapchat and Periscope. In addition, Billy and his wife, Ebony, host a podcast called “Parents in the Mix” that reviews music from a parent’s perspective. Tune in here: parentsinthemix.com
SOCIAL MEDIA URLs:
FACEBOOK: Billy Johnson, Jr. on Facebook
LINKED IN: Billy Johnson, Jr. on Linked In
INSTAGRAM: Billy Johnson, Jr. on Instagram
PERISCOPE: Billy Johnson, Jr. on Periscope
Q: We have access to so much news on a daily basis. What kinds of information do you consume at the start of your day?
A: My name is Billy Johnson Jr. and I am a social media addict. I’m checking my social media pages nonstop, including as soon as I wake up in the morning. I get notifications, etc. Twitter seems to be the platform where I discover the most news. I’ll follow any news outlet, but especially like CNN, AP, Reuters, CBS. I typically find news stories that I’m interested in from retweets from people I follow.
Q: How do you use social media?
A: I am one of THOSE people who overshares on social media. You’re gonna see what I’ve had for breakfast, whether or not my son’s basketball team won their game, or what work-related thing I’m doing on a given day. I love it. I’m a talk-to-strangers kinda guy so social media suits me fine. I recently embarked on a mission to start exercising. I hate exercising. So I set out to walk every morning for 21 days in a row and I’m documenting the experience on Periscope. I call it, My Pledge 2 Health aka #MP2H.
Q: How has social media changed your life?
A: I post so much that people may think that I don’t have any limits, but I do. I’m sharing what I feel comfortable with and what won’t upset my wife and twins, who, coincidentally aren’t into social media and wish I’d tone it down. But I like the transparency. I think I’ve benefited from it in so many ways. Socially, I’m able to keep family and friends updated on special moments, even the small ones. And professionally, I let my external colleagues know what I’m up to. This has been invaluable. When I was a senior editor for Yahoo Music, I saw the benefit of posting about my writings and interviews. I follow a good percentage of my contacts so they always knew what kind of stories to pitch me and what types of projects to refer me to. One of the most humbling positives that has happened is the support I received after leaving Yahoo Music. I was initially hesitant to publicly share that I had left the company after 17 years. But I decided to let folks know that I was excited about the next chapter. The response was incredible. It’s been two months and people are still reaching out to me everyday to tell me about opportunities.
Q: Do you think social media has enhanced or diminished our personal relationships?
A: I think both. I think it has blurred the lines. I communicate with some people so often via social media that I sometimes can’t remember if I last spoke to them via phone, in person, or social media. I think it has enhanced relationships in the sense that I’m in semi-regular contact with people I would not otherwise have the time to call on a regular basis. This applies to childhood friends, distant relatives, and some business associates. I think it is a good thing when I see a posting on social media and it prompts me to actually pick up the phone and call someone. This happens a lot. It’s just an easy way to share a message with a large group of people.
Q: What organizations, brands or personalities do you follow? What makes them worth following?
A: Even though I follow a lot of big brands, I feel like I become aware of the news from postings from people I follow, personalities and otherwise. If I come across an interesting post from someone, I’ll scroll their timeline, and if I like their personality, I follow them. I’m inclined to follow people and organizations who are funny, informative, and positive. I definitely frequent pages of my close family members and friends. But my two favorite people to follow are these dynamic entrepreneur coaches Gary Vaynerchuck, Vayner Media, (@garyvee) and John Lee Dumas, Podcaster’s Paradise, (@johnleedumas). They share such insightful info every day, and they are engaging.
Q: What kinds of posts spark your interest?
A: Entertainment, breaking news, interesting human interest stories, especially family.
Q: What is/are your favorite social media platform/s and why?
A: I like so many of them for different reasons. Facebook is the favorite. It’s easy to use and most of my family and friends are on it and I receive the most engagement there. I love Twitter for live tweeting. It’s the best. Fast paced and fun. I’m a late comer to Snapchat but am loving it as well. The video editing features — cool filters, ability to write on photos — is addicting. I also love how all of the video posts automatically play in sequential order, making a mini movie. I share my Snapchat posts on the other platforms. Instagram is just the best, hands down, for photo sharing.
Q: Favorite hashtag or one you’d like to see?
A: My favorites are #TBT and #FBF. I enjoy the throwback posts. And I make up my own, silly hashtags all the time. #FunnyHashtagsAreTheBest
Q: What advice would you give to a brand about how to get started with a social media program or make their existing one more effective?
A: Use your social media channel to give your followers an engaging, behind-the-scenes look at your brand. This should be personality driven. It’s not enough to post stock pictures of your employees posing for the camera. Post action photos of them doing the work. Capture the fine details in the images that will make someone stop scrolling to look at the picture. And write fun and informative captions.
Q: If you could follow any historical figure on social media, who would it be?
A: I’d love to follow President and First Lady Obama after they leave the White House. I’m really curious what they are going to do next. But I’d want the type of updates they’d share with their family and close friends on Facebook as opposed to the vetted, politically correct postings for public consumption.
Q: Cone, cup, or straight from the container?
A: sugar cone
Q: Favorite flavor?
A: Pralines and Cream
Have something to add or share? Please leave a comment in the section below. Feel free to like and share on social media. And please join us next week, when our guest is David Moye, “Weird News” staff writer for HuffPost. (You KNOW it’s going to be good!)