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Ask a Social Media Director #4: The Budget-Friendly Edition

By: Susan Chang, Head of Social Media, Dropbox

October 7, 2019

I’m Susan Chang, and I’ve been running social media programs for brands for 10 years. Currently, I’m the head of social media at Dropbox, which has taken me on the best professional adventures of my career. In my free time, you can find me at the ballet studio, watching a tennis match, or drinking boba at a local cafe.

Dropbox, head of social media, susan chang

Susan Chang, Head of Social Media, Dropbox

Dear Director,

What are your go-to free social media tools for reporting analytics and publishing?

Sincerely, Toolin’ Around

Dear Toolin’ Around,

My team at Dropbox currently uses Sprinklr for publishing and analytics, which is a paid product, but my recommendation for a free product would to be to utilize the native platforms themselves. In the past few years, every social platform has really upped their game in providing analytics to their users, so it’s often the most accurate to get your data directly from Facebook Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

When it comes to publishing, features go live first on native platforms, and then the paid social tools have to catch up—which can take anywhere from weeks to months—so it’s best to use native platforms if you want to take advantage of all the latest and greatest publishing features.

Dear Director,

Can someone with literally no budget handle their social media and run their business?

Sincerely, Penny-Pinched

Dear Penny-Pinched,

In a word: Yes. Don’t get me wrong, paid budget will help your message travel further and set your social program up for potential ROI, but brands can still be built on social with just an organic presence. At the start of my social media career, I worked with B2B brands and had zero paid budget, so it’s definitely possible! For example, if you own a restaurant, you can choose to focus on Instagram and post beautiful visuals of food and your customers to build up buzz and share with your local community.

If you run social for a software company, you can focus on Twitter and share out thought leadership blog posts, and use hashtags to help your content get surfaced by relevant audiences.

Alternately, if you run social for an executive, you can manage their presence on LinkedIn and have them join appropriate LinkedIn Groups and participate in discussions with other LinkedIn Influencers. There are so many different channels and ways you can connect with customers; a paid budget shouldn’t make or break your social media program.

Dear Director,

What’s your approach to social media coverage during “off hours,” vacation and sick days?

Sincerely, Off the Clock

Dear Off the Clock,

Having worked in social media for 10 years, this is a topic I’m really passionate about. I deeply understand the need to disconnect for the sake of career longevity and to preserve your mental well-being. People like us are using social media professionally and personally so it’s twice as important to set aside time to restore and to really relish those off-hours.

We all know social media never shuts off. But I’m fortunate to have a great team that can support my vacation and sick days, and to work for a company that values work/life balance. My approach: I set the tone for how available I can be while on vacation. For example, if I’m taking a long weekend trip to another city, I let my team know to cover me for the Friday that I’m out but that I’ll be reachable for any emergencies. During a trip like this, I’ll still check emails and keep a pulse on things that are going on in social. But if I’m taking a trip to a rural area with limited access to wifi, or purposefully taking a vacation to do a digital detox, I tell my team that I won’t be available—and I fully commit to that. The key here is to empower your team to cover the work while you’re out and to leave handoff plans with clear instructions on how to deal with any social media situation.

Follow Susan: @SujinChang

At The Social Shake-Up