ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
NAME: Amanda Shepherd
TITLE: Social Media Manager
COMPANY: Ellipses PR
Amanda Shepherd is the social media manager at Ellipses PR, a Bay Area-based communications firm that specializes in the food & beverage and hospitality industries. She has worked in the social media space for more than five years and enjoys helping businesses reach audiences in fun, new, and exciting ways. When she unwinds from the digital world, she is likely to be found on a golf course, backpacking through a far off land, or turning the [real] pages of the latest best-seller (“because that’s the only way to truly experience a good book”).
SOCIAL MEDIA URLs:
FACEBOOK: Ellipses PR on Facebook
LINKED IN: Ellipses PR on Linked In
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 phone sits right next to me on my nightstand, so when it yells at me to wake up in the morning, I pick it up and immediately go to Twitter to see what is trending. Then I make my way to Facebook and Instagram, check a few emails, and head in to the office, where I spend almost an hour or two a day checking emails, reading all newsletters and blogs that I subscribe to, and checking up on what is new in the social media/PR world, and the world in general. I read a lot of social media blogs, such as Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, and Buffer, along with other industry related blogs like PR Daily and Muckrack. Since I work in the food and hospitality industry in the Bay Area, I read a lot of local works like 7×7 and Eater SF. When I say I read everything, I literally mean that – word for word, really immersing myself in the industry and in the craft. I like to be informed and I am lucky to be able to spend so much time reading, since I know a lot of people don’t have that luxury.
Q: How do you use social media?
A: On a personal level, I love Snapchat. It’s easy to use, non-invasive, real-time, and fun. On a professional level, I am trying to figure out how to best utilize Snapchat for my clients. I use Facebook more as a formality, as most of my family is on Facebook, and only Facebook.
On a professional level, I use Twitter for breaking news and to see what the popular topics are in the world. I love that you can change and see what’s trending, whether it is worldwide, in the U.S. or in the U.K. during Brexit (those were some funny trends).
Q: How has social media changed your life?
A: It’s given me a flexible career. The great thing about social media is that all I need is a device (laptop, phone, tablet, etc.) and wifi. I can sit on the beach with a margarita to the left of me and crashing waves in front of me and still be able to work. Travel is such a huge part of my life, and I always lovingly say the only reason I work is to make money to eat and see the world. I am fortunate to have found a career that I enjoy, that keeps me on my toes, keeps me intellectually engaged on a daily basis, and still gives me the freedom to explore.
Q: Do you think social media has enhanced or diminished our personal relationships?
A: Both. It has given me the ability to interact with friends and family members across the world, many of whom I haven’t seen in years, but still love and care for and want to be a part of their lives. In that way, it has enhanced my personal relationships with them because I am still involved, even if I’m in a completely different country 5,000 miles away. On the other hand, it’s easier to hide behind a screen and talk with people instead of meeting face-to-face, which I think has made us a bit complacent. Sometimes I think social media has taken out the “social” in our face-to-face communication.
Q: What organizations, brands or personalities do you follow? What makes them worth following?
A: I personally follow a lot of travel bloggers. I am always reading blogs like Adventurous Kate and Young Adventuress and follow their adventures on social media. I just love what Southwest Air has done with their social media. They really understand the social side of things and make their pages seem “real.” I also follow just about every Disney Instagram account you can follow, because I will forever and always be a Disney nerd.
Q: What kinds of posts spark your interest?
A: Short videos or funny GIFs always get me to stop scrolling and see what’s going on. They’re very attention grabbing and for that reason, I can see why Facebook is putting a greater emphasis on video.
Q: What is/are your favorite social media platform/s and why?
A: Instagram and Snapchat are my two favorite platforms right now. Instagram because it is easy, highly visual, and not clogged by ads and posts from people I don’t care about. Also, Snapchat because it’s new and fun and I thoroughly enjoy the filters. Possibilities seem endless with Snapchat and I look forward to seeing what else they do with the app. I am very pleased they didn’t end up selling to Facebook a few years ago.
Q: Favorite hashtag or one you’d like to see?
A: #eeeeeats is my favorite, but it’s very dangerous, because it makes me hungry every time. Also, #TravelTuesday, and also dangerous, because my bank account suffers when I book a spontaneous trip. 😉
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: Listen, listen, LISTEN. Your audience will tell you what they want to see if you just listen to the conversation already being had about you. If you aren’t sure where to find that conversation, ASK. Give a survey to your customers. Ask them what they like to see and they will tell you. Let your customers be as involved with your social media as you can, and never forget that social media is about being SOCIAL.
Q: If you could follow any historical figure on social media, who would it be?
A: Amelia Earhart. I did a project on her in 4th grade and have been kind of obsessed with her life ever since.
Q: Cone, cup, or straight from the container?
A: Waffle cone, dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with nuts.
Q: Favorite flavor?
A: If I’m not caring about my calories, any kind of peanut butter and chocolate combination. If I do care about my calories, I’ve found love with Halo Top’s lemon flavor.
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 on the Ice Cream Social blog is pop culture icon “Weird Al” Yankovic.