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Host: Hey everyone! My name is Keith and I am the CEO of Sociallyin, a social media marketing agency that works with both medium and large businesses to improve their social media presence through social paid ads, influencer marketing, content marketing, social media strategy and more.
Thank you so much for joining the Seriously Social podcast where we take you behind the scenes of some of the world's largest brands and get you a deeper look at what they're doing on a day-to-day basis when it comes to their social media strategy.
Today we have a very special guest, Mike Delgado. Mike is the social media director at Experian and leads both the global and North American team.
And if you guys don't know, Experian is a multi-national, consumer credit reporting agency. Experian collects and aggregates information on over 1 billion people and businesses, including 255 MILLION individual US consumers and more than 25 million US businesses.
Mike, thank you so much for being on our show today, very glad to have you.
Guest: Hey Keith, thank you so much for having me here.
Host: Absolutely. So I just want to touch a little bit on your background, Mike. And just kind of understand how you got into the realm of marketing, I mean I'm sure you've been in marketing before social media was even a thing, so I'd love to hear about your background and how you got into social media.
Guest: Sure, so when I finished college, I was an English Lit major, so back then I was thinking about either going into teaching or getting into film writing, or working in the cartoon industry and around that time I was getting married, so I realized that the film industry was going to be kind of a harder path to go.
Even though I loved the creative aspect of entertainment, it's also unstable with shows and movies and so I needed something a little more permanent as I was going to start a family and that was very important to me at that time.
So I ended up starting to look for the types of jobs an English major could get. I ended up finding this copywriter role and I was "oh, I can write!" and copy writing looks interesting, so I ended up getting the job and then not even knowing what a copywriter was.
So I got the job and then I was like running to the book store to like, get books on copy writing because I didn't know what copywriters did except that they write!
Anyway, that led me to a path of beginning to write web content for the company and that led into developing blog content regularly for companies, and then around that time social networks were starting to get used regularly for businesses.
This is way back when MySpace was huge, so I started launching social media accounts for the businesses I was working for, and back then it was like MySpace, and a bunch of smaller, kind of niche, like networking sites and forums that don't even exist anymore.
And then a couple of years later the company was like, "Hey, let's actually create a social media role" and asked me if I would be interested in doing it, and this was over seventeen years ago.
At the time I said no, I have no desire of being really pigeon-holed into social media, I mean, I think sometimes when we're starting our careers we don't want to get too specific, we want to be more general and just learn a lot about different aspects of the field we're in.
So I really enjoyed digital marketing and I loved all the aspects, like email marketing, all of that and even enjoyed learning about search engine optimization, paid search, and I just kind of like was very, very broad early in my career.
After moving from content management to more niche roles like paid social and paid search, I ended up coming to Experian about nine and a half years ago to join their small business team, which was really focused on helping small businesses improve their marketing and improve their overall businesses and all that.
So I was brought over as a digital marketer to kind of help with that division and after about a year of doing that, I started working on some side projects at the company with some different teams and then while I was there, there was a social network internally at Experian that was just starting up and it connected me with people in like 45 different countries and I was like, "oh! There's so much I can learn from other digital marketers."
Host: Right! Absolutely.
Guest: And so I started an internal community. But fast-forward, that did really well and I got the eyes of leadership to be like, "hey, Mike, you built this internal community at Experian, how about doing it externally for us?"
So I had the official, first social media role for Experian.
Host: Got it. Awesome, man.
You mentioned that you launched several brands on MySpace. I don't recall any brands even being on MySpace, so do you mind sharing who that was and what you did for them?
Guest: Yeah, so back then MySpace was being used by a lot of musicians and bands, right? So that was kind of how MySpace got their start. They attracted a lot of fans for different artists and bands who could play their music there.
And so around that time the company I was working for owned colleges all around the US and Canada and that was like our target demographic, those people who were interested in music or considering going into college and there was some advertising starting up on MySpace and colleges were kind of looking into social media.
And back then even Facebook was kind of a closed social network at the time. So Facebook became more of a place where we were like, oh, college students are on social media and this would be a good place to reach them.
So back then there was a school I worked for called Wyotech, which is an automotive school that helped train people that were interested in getting into either fixing planes or fixing cars and getting certified as a mechanic.
So I started a Wyotech Facebook page back in the day and that was just one, there were also some very niche automotive forums and social media sites that were actually better fit for the brand, but MySpace was an easy place to develop content and also rank really well in Google because the Wyotech MySpace page would rank in like the top ten.
Host: Yeah, I remember when there was a time when there were a lot of social network platforms popping up that were very niche specific and now what's happening is, you know, Facebook, LinkedIn, they're all sort of just starting their own groups. I don't know if you recall, but Facebook actually ran a super bowl commercial around Facebook groups, so very interesting stuff.
So how is the internal community at Experian doing? Is that still going strong? Is that growing? I'd love to hear a little bit about that.
Guest: Yeah, it really ballooned, so over the years and as more and more people started to use social media for business, because originally social media was very much a personal place, especially back in the day, it was a place for friends to connect and especially if you were looking to connect to former classmates, that was kind of a place to find them and connect with family and friends.
So social media was very much a personal place, but businesses started to enter in and especially when things like LinkedIn started up, it became a place where "oh" it's like "We can have business conversations" and like you mentioned, Facebook groups, when I go into Facebook and type in "artificial intelligence" or "business intelligence" I can find tons of discussions or specific business topics that I'm interested in.
So at Experian our internal social networks have just been booming. Like more and more people have been more comfortable over the years, so it's really cool to see the thriving activity happening internally.
Host: What do you guys use? Do you use Facebook Work Place or something else for your internal network?
Guest: Yeah, so I can't share with you the tool, but it's a very popular tool that's out there. And there's a lot of different Enterprise tools out there that you can use for that.
Host: Oh, okay, cool. Awesome. So I know you have your own podcast produced by Experian, do you mind talking about that a little and what they're about?
Guest: Sure! So over the years I've created a couple different podcasts for Experian, the two that I run right now, one is called Data Talk, which is based on a Live-stream show that we do on Facebook and was originally on YouTube Live.
But basically that show is really geared to help people understand a little bit about data scientists, what they do, how they leverage data in their businesses to help consumers and help businesses make better decisions.
And Data Talk is really a conversation with getting to know different data scientists, who they are, what type of work they're doing, their passions and interests, you know, it's really kind of a human conversation. And then we do get into some data-techy topics.
And then the other podcast is called Level-Up Leadership, and that one is based around getting to know the leaders at Experian and what drives them and what motivates them and how they're leading their teams. I guess you could say it's almost like a mentorship class.
Basically every episode is hearing from a different leader for an hour and they're sharing their leadership journey, their experiences, things they're learned along the way and so those are the two shows that I work on right now.
Host: Awesome. So switching gears a little bit, I'm interested in what your day to day at Experian looks like because y'all are a multi-national company, very large organization and your social channels have a very large following, so I'm interested. Are you in the day-to-day, do you have a team that you work with? Maybe if you can just touch a little bit about what your day to day looks like.
Guest: Yeah, so as you can imagine, we're in over forty countries, so we have marketers, teams, all over the world, which makes life very exciting. I get to chat with people all over the world and we're working on various projects, and I wish I could tell you that there's a day that's like. The same.
I think the biggest part of the the role of somebody who leads social for a Global organization is the listening aspect, right? Like we need to spend time listening to our consumers, what are the important trends and topics that our leaders need to know about, we need to be reporting on certain trends and topics depending on what's coming up on social right now, especially during covid-19. There are so many new things that we are paying attention to and making sure that our content is resonating with our audiences, because as you know, working in social media, it's all about developing helpful content for our target audiences.
And so that means like, we have to be really good listeners and so listening, and social listening tools, it's a key part of our jobs to make sure that we are not being tone-deaf on social, so that when different issues come up, we know, you know, what is Experian's position on that issue, or you know, is it even something we need to address?
How do we address it, what sort of content should we be creating around that message, is it video, is it animated gifs, is it an image, you know, is it a live-stream, and then which channels are we using? Are we using all of them? focusing our energy?
So listening is a big part of the role anybody who is on social media, they know that's a big part of the job, and like right now I think what has been very difficult about listening is that the content right now around COVID-19, the BLM movement, the various protests, having to just see the police brutality, see what happened to George Floyd and countless other marginalized community members being killed, what's been really hard about social listening has been the amount of violence and the amount of pain that, right now, is happening on social and right now the beautiful part is that there is a positive movement for change, a drive for, you know, we need to be more inclusive, how can we improve our relationships with Black communities, with other marginalized communities, how can we get better education, etc, you know, so there's a lot of positive conversations so that's beautiful.
The hard thing is that there has been obviously so much violence and so many hurtful things that have gone on not only on video, but also from people who are maybe not inclusive, people who are very racist and so when you're social listening and if you're part of that community that has been hurt, and not only has the Black community been talked about terribly online, and there's been so much racism, but also there's been a lot of racism towards our Asian communities and that started when Covid began, people were blaming Asian people for the illness and so I'm saying all of that because when it comes to social listening, which is an important part of our job as social media listeners, that we have to be careful about the fact that sometimes what you're listening to can be traumatic and managers need to be aware, you know, when you're assigning social listening tasks to your teams, you need to be aware of who you're asking those individuals to do.
Is that person comfortable looking at that content to do reporting? Because listening and watching the video content and paying attention to the hateful posts around certain communities, it can be very traumatic and so you have to be careful during times of crisis about social listening.
It's super important during times of crisis, but it's also a time when we need to take a step back and realize, okay, when I assign this task, is there going to be any sort of trauma that cab be raised in the individual who is listening and if there is we should not be handing that project over to that person. We need to find someone else to do it.
Host: I agree, no, that's great advice. And I think that's something every leader should consider, especially and even if they have a small social media team considering the fact that they are going to be social listening and you know, being cognizant of what's actually happening.
To move on, I've got a couple of questions about what you said, going back to your early statement about being in 40+ different countries, do you guys think of the different languages, do you translate your content in all the different languages and how are your profiles set up, is it Experian US, or how is it set up?
Guest: So global social is interesting because every company does it a little differently and the way we kind of structure our accounts is we have a kind of country account, so there's Experian US, Experiak UK accounts, Experian Brazil accounts, and then within those country accounts we also have business units, which are based around specific target audiences that we're trying to reach.
So for example, in the US we'll have Experian US health accounts, automotive accounts, baking accounts, so we kind of break it down like that to a topic level based on audience because those particular channels are putting out channels for those specific audiences.
Whereas the US account can share the content in the automotive account or the baking account, that's going to be more general, and it may not be as engaged as the niche accounts in those core topics, but we're also taking into account languages.
Now what's beautiful about social networks is that if the post goes out in English or Spanish, depending on where you are you can automatically have it translated to your region, so that's the nice thing about these social networks language is usually not an issue because translation can be done right in the social media app.
Guest: But yeah, language is a really important area that anybody who is working on the global side needs to be thinking about because as you're generating social media accounts, especially in places like Brazil, where people are comfortable speaking Portuguese and English, back and forth, sometimes that means that our content will be a mixture.
Same with here in the US. We've actually had discussions about having some Spanish accounts where it would be Spanglish, or where we get a chance to talk like we would at home, where it's a mixture of Spanish and English.
So based on the comfort level of that community, it could be a blending of a language, it could be one or the other, or it could be a mixture. And you know, if you look at our Experian Facebook page, you'll see it's really a mixture and depending on who we're targeting, we'll use specific languages.
Host: gotcha. I'm glad you brought up that point about how the translation tools are built right into the social channels, because we do get a lot of prospects asking, hey, do y'all translate, and yeah, we can, but you know, I kind of refer back to the fact that the language is translated to whatever language you've selected on your profile.
Okay, awesome, so what would you say were some of your overall goals are that leadership has asked of your social media team? Is it lead generation, brand awareness, education? I know you said they asked you early on to help build an external community, so maybe touch a little on that.
Guest: Sure! So yeah, I think that anyone who walks into a social media role, depending on the business unit you go into, and kind of the function you're being asked to do, sometimes it can be marketing, and I've definitely been in more marketing centered roles where the job is really leads and sales around case studies and webinars, things like that, or even selling productions and I've done a lot of that on social.
My current job is more around buidling community and helping improve communication and our reputation, as well as expanding our credit education efforts. You know you mentioned we'e a credit bureau, so part of our work is how do we help educate people around really important money topics and credit topics so that everyone can be financially healthy.
And so, like how do we develop that type of content and use social media to do that?
And I would say that is the big over-arching goal, whether you're a marketer or a community builder, you know, the ultimate goal is to provide help and provide meaningful content that makes people want to go to your profile because they know they can get something from it.
So that's the #1, how are we creating useful content that will drive people back to want to see our YouTube channel, or what we're tweeting next, that's the ultimate goal if we're not doing that, our marketing messages are going to be ignored.
And sometimes I see that in certain businesses, you know, you go to their Twitter or Instagram and it's all sales, just a constant promotion, and that can be so bad because pretty soon customers will just block it out. They don't want to see constant marketing messages anymore.
Host: I'm with you there.
So I'm interested in how you team structure work. Do you have separate social media managers for different units, or?
Guest: Yeah, so each of our business units will have different people who are leading the social, and sometimes their role won't be titled social media manager, it can be digital marketer, but under the umbrella they're also handling the social.
So there are a lot of people handling the social media, but don't necessarily have that title. It could be a coms title, or marketer title, so we have those roles all over the world with different people handling social and then I think as companies grow and get bigger, they're able to have more niche roles, like people focused on social listening, or just on paid social, things like that.
Host: Got it, so going back to the current state of the world with the protests and the BLM movement and COVID, has Experian taken a stance on any of those topics? I mean obviously y'all have probably made statement around COVID, I know a couple of corporations who have taken a ban on Facebook ads for a month long, I'm interested in hearing what y'all have done, if anything.
Guest: Great question, and I've been really proud of the Experian leadership because they acted so quickly to come out, both internally with heartfelt messages around their feelings towards the BLM movement, and like I said we have an internal social media network at Experian where people are just sharing from their heart about how they're feeling, and so I've been really very impressed with how quickly leadership came out to share their support of BLM, both internally as well as externally on our global news blog, so on a social media side, we put out that message across social and it's viewable on Youtube.
We also did a Data talk episode around the BLM movement and also things that we were doing going forward, because I think a big part of what brands were struggling with was they didn't want to just say yes, we stand with the Black Community during this time because it wasn't enough.
It's not enough to say that because of course you shouldn't be racist, that's a human thing, of course, but what are YOU doing about THIS specific situation, what are you doing specifically to help the Black community?
So our leadership took the time to think about, you know, what are some things we can actively do and say we're doing, aside from just sharing our support, what are we actually going to be doing?
As an example, on Data Talk I talked about how we'd never talked about racism and AI, it was never really a topic that we've covered in the last couple of years and we talked about gender AI and issues around it, but never specifically addressed racism or racial bias in AI, at least not too much.
We did have a conversation here and there but it was never a focus.
However, after George Floyd was killed and as we started to watch and see the BLM movement develop, I started to realize and check in on myself, like what am I doing to help? How am I getting educated on these issues, so I talked about that on Data Talk, like, with my role I'm going to start using this podcast to address some of these issues and how marginalized communities have been hurt by Ai. So that was something I was personally doing and I think everybody at Experian has been doing a check-in, like what are we individually doing and what are we doing as an organization aside from donations, or any monetary things, you know.
We want to take a closer look at what we're doing within our organization, you know, like how are we personally embracing inclusion.
Most company websites, they'll always say, like, yeas, we embrace inclusion and everything, and it's definitely a standard thing people say, but the bigger question is, "what does that mean", "how are you doing that?" and "how are you making sure you're raising up the next generation of leaders within your organization to promote diversity", you know?
I want to know how they're mentoring certain community groups and measuring diversity inclusion at your company. And yeah, we've been thinking about this stuff, but I think it's even magnified now, and so, you know, At Experian we want to attract the best talent and that means when someone comes in, we should be expecting that question, like what did YOU do around BLM?
Someone who has empathy and compassion wants to work at a company that has a similar mindset and I was really, really proud to see just the quick response, the blog posts, the personal notes, and just seeing people come together and also, like I said, a big part of it is just checking in, you know, like on ourselves, what are WE doing?
That's been a big part of it, too.
Host: That is awesome, I love that. So switching gears here for one last question, I want to talk about the hottest topic right now, which is TikTok. So two questions: has Experian thought about TikTok and what would a strategy look like for you guys? And then I'd also love to get your thoughts on the bans that are happening, or at least the conversations about it in the US and the ban in India.
Guest: So that's a really great, great question. So we have used Snapchat in the past for credit education and we've spent two years doing Snapchat and I did a ton of video clips trying to make credit education fun and silly so that it would appeal to the younger generation. Like my kids are my test and I have them watch the video and see if they laugh or thumbs it up.
So I think it's always great to test new platforms and if your target audience is there and you want to build brand awareness, you know, for example I know TikTok is approaching Universities and colleges wanting them to start to use TikTok has a platform to educate kids and get them thinking about college and graduation and stuff, so it's an interesting play.
But it's really similar to Facebook in that it started with the college market, so I think TikTiok can be used as an educational vehicle similar to SnapChat, and I also think that people have to realize, like it takes time to build any sort of community and that if your content is not silly and fun like a TikTok audience will want, it won't be as engaging.
You've got to really be thinking about how you can use this fun place and ask yourself is TikTok the right place for us, because it might not be.
Not every brand should just be jumping into TikTok and it can make you look really bad and cheesy if you're trying to morph into something that isn't appropriate for your brand and you need to be thoughtful about it.
So like I said, we did Snapchat for two years, once Instagram launched their Stories, it just pulled our audience away from Snapchat, and so we saw just saw drastic decline.
We were really excited to build the community and two years in we're so happy with so much engagement and snapbacks and it was AWESOME and then once Instagram launched their Stories, which was basically Snap Stories, like, it just really hurt Snapchat a lot.
Host: yeah, I don't know if you remember the tweet about the death of Snapchat, we saw that.
Guest: Yeah, yeah, exactly, so I saw what happened there and I saw our community was just less and less on Snapchat and moving over to Instagram, so we still have a Snapchat account but we haven't been active due to the fact that it takes a long time to create a Story with all the story-telling and editing and everything.
And the ROi wasn't good anymore, unfortunately, so I know Snpachat has been snapping back, which is great, so maybe we'll look at it again in the future, but for now we haven't seen the ROi, and so we paused it.
And as far as TikTOk, I kind of see it as something similar in the sense of, like, can you make fun, creative content for the TikTok audience, because it's even younger than Snapchat and so I think that every brand needs to figure that out, but I'm always for testing things and if you can do something that's fun that fits with your brand and you can use it to educate and entertain, and if you find the balance, that's awesome.
But it does take a lot of time and the trouble with running those tests is that you spend so much time developing the content and the strategy behind it and then sometimes what happens is that you run it for two weeks to a month and then you don't get the views or engagement that you thought you would get and part of that is because when you start a new community you have no fan base.
So, you know, you put out a video, you're not going to get hardly any views because no one following you. So yeah, that's the bummer part is that some people quit too early because you think you're not getting the results you wanted, but of course you aren't
It takes time to develop a community, so it must be thoughtful, very long term.
As far as the bans that are going on around the world, that's something every global brand really needs to be thinking about. Because if you're going to be launching a social media profile in a network that's being banned in certain countries, how will that be perceived to be running it in different countries but not there, you know, what sort of kickback will you get or reactions will you get from the community.
Like why aren't you doing any posts in India or different parts of the world where it's being banned, so you'll definitely want to have different messaging in place about why you're not participating in that country.
Host: Makes sense. Well, thanks so much for being on our show today, Mike. So glad to have you.
Guest: Thank you! It's been a pleasure.