With a job in category management as an analyst for a grocery company, Eric Ellis says he was struggling to find his career rewarding.
“I didn't know where the career was going or where to move on. And I was frankly kind of bored,” says Eric, who's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2014.
“After finishing my master's program, which was largely focused on new media, I learned that social and digital media really spoke to me and leveraged a lot of my skills. It can be technical and creative, which I think plays to my strengths.”
Upon completing his Master's in Strategic Communication, Eric moved on to do contract work for Target as a Social Media Analyst, and later, worked as a Social Media Strategy Leader for Deluxe Corporation.
Now, Eric helps lead social strategy at The Toro Company, a worldwide leader in turf maintenance equipment and irrigation.
In his role, Eric serves as a partner to different business units and sister-brands, offering ways social can play a part in their programs. He's also responsible for corporate governance, setting best practices, and educating the company on social.
Eric says, “There's a strong focus on education and the role social can play in how we engage and build our audiences, and I find that rewarding.”
“When I started at Deluxe Corp, all I heard was, ‘our small businesses aren't on social media.'”
“So to prove they were, I gathered segments of Deluxe Corp's email lists and did an email match within Facebook and our customer segments. I found up to 50 percent of their customer segments were in social.”
Arriving at Toro, he applied that same tactic to prove 68 percent of a segment of Toro's residential customer base is also on Facebook.
“This is data that turns heads and starts to prove the viability of social media in helping execute strategies that fit within the overall marketing mix.”
He explains proving social media as a valuable marketing tool can sometimes be an uphill battle, but it hasn't stopped them from delivering some innovative campaigns. For example, their social campaign, “Toro Snow Rants,” geo-targets areas affected by snowstorms in real time with videos of common snow removal frustrations.
The Toro Company just celebrated their centennial last year.
“It's a great opportunity for us to reflect and celebrate what got us here, and how we continue our momentum — of which digital will play an important role.”
It also means Eric has a lot of history to work with: a wealth of industry experts, vintage images and commercials, and Toro historians.
Eric says working with stakeholders like Toro's historians is one of his favorite parts of the job.
“Anyone else who just started with the company wouldn't normally communicate with a lot of the people I'm able to be in touch with. There are people I'd probably never meet within my first two to three years here, and yet I've been talking with them within my first seven months because of this unique position,” he explains.
He hopes that, in the future, he'll be able to integrate even further into different business unit's marketing campaigns — to be a part of those discussions earlier in the process.
Follow Eric on Twitter and ask about his favorite snow activity. Eric's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2014.