For this member profile, we sat down with Reebok's Global Community and Social Media Content Manager, Blair Hammond, to talk about her career in social content marketing.
“I entered the working world fully thinking I'd be a journalist,” says Reebok Global Community and Social Media Content Manager Blair Hammond.
“But I came into the industry during the Recession. Luckily, I was spared the axe of layoffs, but as a business journalist, every story I wrote had something to do with the economy.”
“That gave me some insight into big brands and big companies. I started to see there's a lot more strategy behind what brands are doing than what people give them credit for.”
Eventually, she took that empathy and her writing skills to help Amtrak revamp their corporate publication.
“Amtrak was really ahead of their time in terms of content marketing.”
As Amtrak's Senior Officer of Social Media, she joined their social team of one to create a blog showing the transportation company had a personality. That led to social-focused content like “5 People Having Too Much Fun on Amtrak,” “Revenge of the #Nerdtrain,” and other fun storylines based on what passengers were sharing in social.
In fact, The Washington Post recently reblogged one of Blair's posts from over a year and a half ago.
“That tells you just how long the shelf life is for really good content marketing,” she says.
And in case you're wondering, yes, Blair was the voice behind the tweet that started Amtrak's writer's residency program — a viral campaign that earned over 16,000 entries in 48 hours. She says it's something that happened by pure luck, but something she'd also love to replicate in her new social role at Reebok.
At Reebok, she's helping to bring the brand's social voice in house.
Blair shares, “When I started, they wanted people who were going to be talking, breathing, and eating the Reebok brand to be communicating with consumers on social media.”
So they increased their headcount to eight, including the head of the Experiential Department (where social media sits), a senior manager of global social, a global community manager (that's Blair), three junior community managers, and two specialty brand community managers.
She says with that headcount, they challenge themselves with the ambitious goal of replying to every single mention of Reebok on Twitter.
“If you tweeted us, we will tweet back. Nike doesn't do that. Adidas doesn't do that. Puma doesn't do that. Reebok does that.”
Blair admits that committing to that kind of real-time engagement means a lot of physical effort to be personally in front of the conversation.
“We really charge each other with doing more with less. If it's something traditional, we're not interested — we're really kind of biting off more than we can chew and then figuring it out,” Blair explains.
But she says the blood, sweat, and occasional typos are worth it to show customers they're empathetic, human, and real.
“We set ourselves apart through hard work. We're not going to buy our way to the top,” she says.
Blair says getting there takes a lot of planning.
When she started six months ago, her biggest priorities were putting workflows and processes in place and establishing a healthy content calendar and voice. She says it's also important to create regular, accurate reports translated for the executive suite.
And as a new team, it's all about establishing legitimacy — not by just sharing what's important to the social team, but by sharing what's important to the corner office and other business units.
“In terms of content, there's never enough.”
Looking forward, Blair says some opportunities for Reebok lie in internal education on social content — specifically, explaining why advertorial content doesn't quite fit into the social conversation.
“We can't just take the outtakes, or the designs, or flyers, or window clings and put them on social. It's really another beast — it's another mouth to feed.”
Say hi to Blair on Twitter and ask about her favorite workout or piece of Reebok gear.