“I'm like the world's biggest Baby-Sitters Club fan.”
As a children's book publisher, ultimately, our readers are children, and we must comply with the laws about marketing to kids on social media.
Morgan Baden says she jumped at the chance to join the publisher of the long-running series, Scholastic, in 2007. She was coming from a world of journalism and finance at Thomson Reuters to the world of education and children's books at Scholastic. The concept of her work was similar, but the content couldn't be more different.
“Thomson Reuters was an exciting place to be, and I had a wonderful time there. But my heart was never in the financial world,” she says.
Now, in her office at Scholastic, Morgan has framed pictures of the times she's gotten to meet The Baby-Sitters Club author Ann M. Martin.
“Social media as a career didn't exist when I joined Scholastic.”
It wasn't until 2009 that Scholastic sent their first tweet. But, Morgan says, after that, social media for the company began to grow rapidly. Her team, Corporate Communications, had to take a step back and determine the company's overall social media strategy, structure, and goals.
Over time, Morgan took the lead in that role, saying she was mostly just in the right place at the right time. “I've met a lot of people through SocialMedia.org who can say the same thing. They were working on one role — internal, marketing, PR — and social media just started happening. And someone had to do it, so they did it,” she explains.
“I consider it one of the luckiest turns of my career.”
Few social media leaders split their time between internal communications and social like Morgan.
Her team manages Scholastic's corporate social media accounts and oversees over 100 more. They help page admins for Scholastic's books like The Hunger Games, Goosebumps, and The Magic School Bus series across channels ranging from Facebook and Twitter to Tumblr and Pinterest. They consult them on message alignment, strategy, trends, and regulations surrounding new technologies.
On top of that, Morgan is a part of internal communications, handling executive communications and running an active intranet. With as many as ten stories per week, she works with a communications team to ensure they have enough content.
Oh, and she writes for Scholastic's blog, On Our Minds.
How does she juggle it all? Morgan says “It's not easy,” but internal communications and social media can be complementary to one another. She says messaging for employees can become social, and vice versa, as long as you think about what your audience cares about.
Audiences can be a challenge when you work in social for Scholastic.
“This is something most people don't realize,” Morgan explains. “As a children's book publisher, ultimately, our readers are children, and we must comply with the laws about marketing to kids on social media.”
With books like Clifford The Big Red Dog, Morgan says their social media presences have to target the parents and teachers of small children, rather than the end reader.
With back-to-school season and holidays coming up, Morgan says they're working to power up some emerging channels.
She says with emerging tech like Facebook Live, Instagram video, and Snapchat, the first thing they do is listen. Her team will use it themselves and make sure the platform is right for their goals. They'll also share it with the legal department to review the terms and conditions. Then, they'll create a strategy: Who owns it? What kind of content will it require? What resources need to be dedicated?
“We've got some exciting things planned for the Fall,” Morgan says. And while they're always planning for the expected, like the release of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child or seasonal campaigns, they're also ready for real-time social media.
“We have a great relationship with our editorial department, so when an author is in the building, they'll let us know. We'll drop everything and do something with them on social media. Every week something happens that we didn't expect or anticipate on our social media calendar.”
Morgan is also a writer and co-host of the podcast “Writing in Real Life.” She's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2010. Follow her on Twitter.