Joy Hays

Joy Hays, AT&T Director of Digital and Social Media

We sat down with AT&T's Director of Digital and Social Media, Joy Hays, to ask about her career path in social media. She's been a member since 2011 and presented a class at our Brands-Only Summit in Orlando on how to integrate social media with marketing, advertising, and digital.

Joy Hays says she's not a geek.

“I am a self-proclaimed aspiring geek. Not quite a geek yet, because I need a bit more technical knowledge, but I’m getting there,” she says.

But with a major in international business with a focus in marketing and minors in Japanese and computer science, as well as a master in E-Commerce, she discovered she had a knack for explaining technical subject matters to non-technical people. That knack led to her interest in communications and PR and eventually to a career as AT&T's Director of Digital and Social Media.

“Understanding tech and the digital world has always been fascinating to me. Communications and social media are natural segways for me to share my love of the digital world.”

“Social media defines the balance between art and science,” says Joy.

She explains that while methods like improving engagement rates and measuring response numbers to prove a case for social depend on the left brain, the right brain helps social executives develop creative solutions and content.

Joy says, “There is a definite art to the words that you put out there. You have 140 characters (and sometimes 96 if you want to use a hashtag and a link) to convey a point that you hope someone will resonate with enough to share it with their audience. If you do social media well, you believe both in the art and science that goes into it.”

As the Worldwide Manager of Digital and Social Communications at Texas Instruments, Joy helped with a massive restructuring of their social media strategy.

It resulted in an increase of over 600 percent in overall social engagement, over 400 percent increase in blog views, and an average of 20 percent conversions from integrated digital campaigns.

But while she learned a lot of best practices at TI to carry over to her role at AT&T, Joy says it was even more important to understand AT&T's company culture and audience.

“Your audience isn't going to be the same as anyone else's in the entire world. So the most important metrics for any company are their own,” Joy says.

For AT&T, the most important social media metrics involve creating relationships — both internally and externally.

“I see social media as the voice of the company. To really make that a true statement, you have to work to build relationships within the company so that you're reflecting what the company truly is and what the company feels like is important.”

Joy says that means more than just engaging with their customer, but also working with other business units towards a common goal. After all, Joy says social media can't do it by itself.

“It's a dangerous path to say that social media is going to contribute directly to revenue.”

She explains, “The question of how you measure social media and what it's worth seems like a new question, but it's really not.”

She says that while communications, marketing, and PR have always had challenges defining their worth, she feels like providing value is really a companywide question.

“We're a part of an ecosystem where every team has to play its part for the overall objective to be achieved. Social can't do it by itself, digital can't, and even advertising can't. Working together and getting that halo effect of joining forces is what will really make a difference.”

Say hello to Joy on Twitter and follow #socialmediaorg from her presentation on combining social with advertising, marketing, and digital and more at our Brands-Only Summit in Orlando.