Amy Summers describes Dole's move from agency-managed social to an in-house operation as the result of a perfect storm.
She was days away from leaving her job at Dole to move closer to her family when they made her an offer she had been hoping for since she started there. They were bringing social media responsibilities in-house, and they wanted her to work remotely as their go-to social media person.
“It's been a really exciting and fulfilling experience for me personally to bring it in-house,” she says. “Since I started at Dole a few years ago, I've been really passionate that social for Dole belongs in-house.”
Turns out, Amy had spread that message and her dream to the right people before she prepared to leave, because as the company was going through some extreme changes, someone brought up her idea to leadership.
With a new company president, a new Marketing VP, and a reevaluation of ideas across the board, Dole was open to her idea and ready for SocialMedia.org member Amy Summers to lead the way.
Now, as the Associate Manager of Digital Media and Communications, Amy is the primary contact for all things social.
Her main project: Completely redefining how they handle the back end of social media. Her goals: saving money, becoming more efficient, and presenting a more authentic brand voice in social.
While she's the only one at the company with a primarily social-focused role, she still has support from plenty of people.
Dole's social savvy nutritionist and registered dietitian helps with content development, responding to questions, and publishing on their social channels. She also has two employees dedicated to responding to concerns in their consumer center. Plus, she says their marketing executives also take an active role in developing social, not just as figureheads, but as a part of the team.
But their program is not completely without outside support. Amy also works with a couple of vendors for recipe development as a key piece of content and one agency that handles campaign graphics and their blogger outreach program.
To get all of those people on the same page and to consolidate their social presences, Amy's working on a social media playbook.
“We had to develop policies that each division could buy into and define a new way of operating on social so we can communicate all of our diverse messages in one voice. The social playbook is a way to define voice and tone, what we do, and what we don't do in ways that cover everybody's team,” she explains.
I don't think our social media playbook will ever be completed, and I don't think it's meant to be.
It's also meant to define their objectives, come up with ways to measure their success, and determine what works for the brand in social. The playbook is currently about 83 pages, and it continues to grow.
“I don't think our social media playbook will ever be completed, and I don't think it's meant to be,” Amy says.
“The playbook will be a constantly evolving entity that reflects who we are, how we act, what our goals are, and how we're measuring our goals. And those things are going to continually shift as social shifts, as we shift as a brand, and as we learn through our measurement of success.”
Amy says handling social internally has helped them do much more with their social presences.
“Absolutely what we've predicted has come true,” Amy says, “We're saving money, we're able to get quicker approvals and work more quickly, our brand values are being presented more clearly, and we're seeing more of what we want to see as a brand.”
By combining separate divisions, they're able to get quicker buy-in now that everyone's on the same page, save money on developing and promoting posts, and use their combined budgets to fund bigger campaigns.
For example, this year, they're promoting a “Get Up and Grow” campaign that involves going on a nationwide tour to educate people across North America about eating and living healthier.
She admits their move to internal social media management was really lucky.
“I've heard the struggles that other teams have had at the most recent SocialMedia.org Member Meeting, and I feel their pain,” she says.
She says her advice to those on the crusade to bring social media in-house would be to have patience and stand your ground even though it may seem discouraging. Make your opinion well known without bashing the people who disagree with it. Bring up examples of how it could save money and time using specific information and quantifiable amounts.
“Miracles can happen, so stay positive and keep your eye on the ideal situation for your organization.”
We're proud to have Amy as one of our newest members on the Purple Council. You can find her on LinkedIn and ask her about her favorite fruit salad recipe.