social shake-up attendees

Social Marketers Dive Into Design and Crisis Management

By: The Social Shake-Up Editorial Team

May 7, 2019

The 2019 Social Shake-Up Show in Atlanta kicked into high gear with a slew of hands-on workshops on social-adjacent topics from live streaming, to graphic design, to crisis management and more. Marketers and communications professionals working at a wide array of brands (Entertainment Tonight, Adobe and Kent State University, to name a few) offered attendees tips and tricks for more eye-popping designs, higher search rankings and better game plans for inevitable Twitter storms.

In the evening, the top Movers & Shakers in social media and marketing over the last year were honored as part of an opening reception emceed by Social Shake-Up 2019 host Brian Fanzo, CEO of iSocialFanz. (More on that below; Fanzo also co-led the day’s live streaming workshop).

Below, some top takeaways from the day’s workshops:

The power of visual simplicity. José Mallabo, CMO of Morehouse College, told graphic design workshop participants about his previous role at eBay, the first Fortune 200 company to tweet quarterly earnings reports with visuals. “All of those words just didn’t matter as much as a cool picture and 140 characters. We were changing stuff with bite-sized morsels of information and cool images,” said Mallabo.

Mallabo also talked about his time as SVP of marketing and PR at The Savannah College of Art and Design. Their “SCADpad” initiative converted parking spaces to living spaces, starting with a simple, graphic blueprint. “This image of simple living was kind of esoteric to people, but when you put it in graphic design, people get it,” Mallabo shared. 

Graphic design chops also offer an opportunity for winning buy-in from senior executives for social media programs, according to Mallabo: “If you can convince leadership that that image, that pixel will drive revenue, then you can push the limits.”

Infographics and creative briefs offer ease of process. Jim Nickerson, lead instructor of digital marketing at General Assembly, spoke to the power of the infographic for those just getting started in graphic design. “For those of you in communications, the infographic is a great baby step,” Nickerson advised.

general assembly, jim nickerson, speaking

General Assembly’s Jim Nickerson offers Shake-Up workshop attendees candid tips for better graphics.

When it comes to graphics, don’t go rogue. Nickerson warned against being a “design rebel” and asking your designer for something not in the brand color palette. The palette is the palette for a reason. He recommended putting together a creative brief before launching any visual campaign. This brief should illustrate what you’re trying to evoke, including the medium and the tone. It also helps to ensure an intake process for the design team. “There needs to be a formalized way to gather people’s thoughts. If the design team doesn’t give you a one-pager template, you can’t align expectations,” he argued.

Design with a viewer’s eye in mind. Veronica Belmont, product manager at Adobe Spark, noted that her brand’s product helps close the time gap between a creative vision and the time needed to publish it. She introduced the key concept of creating content and visual hierarchies. “[Make] the most important content the largest, in the top-left corner, where everything else streams diagonally down, follow[ing] where your eyes go,” Belmont said.

justin joffe selfie in front of #SSU2019

#SSU2019 senior content manager Justin Joffe takes a celebratory selfie to kick off Day One.

Transform social media crises into teachable moments. At a workshop exploring how to avoid and manage social media crises, Myeisha Essex, senior social media editor at Entertainment Tonight, offered a great post-crisis tip: Take photos of problematic Instagram, Twitter and Facebook posts. She advised attendees to use those screenshots as training tools later, especially for communicators new to their companies.

Another crucial item for crisis postmortems: Analyze what your automated systems missed (e.g., what important keywords were not flagged) during the crisis. Make sure you plug these keywords into your monitoring tool next time.  

There’s no crisis plan without a listening plan. Nicole Losi, social media director at Kent State University noted that while lots of brands have crisis management plans in place, they should also have a listening plan on paper. “Know specifically what you want to listen for.” Like Essex, Losi advised attendees to invest in an automated tool, if possible, that listens for crisis language. “If use of that language increases around your brand, make sure the tool sends you an email,” Losi recommended.

jennifer watson displays live streaming tool

Agorapulse’s Jennifer Watson (left) and #SSU2019 host Brian Fanzo (left) share live streaming tips and tools with attendees.

Sometimes, insights around sentiment can be found in unexpected places. During a crisis, sometimes monitoring platforms that you normally don’t monitor can pay off and offer a lot of information, Losi said.

Save yourself a Twitter headache. The Shake-Up’s crisis management experts told workshop participants not to respond to every tweet during a crisis. It’s better, they said, to post a pinned tweet with a statement. If your statement is longer than 280 characters, consider hosting it on a web page.

Follow the #SSU2019 hashtag on Twitter (and @social_shakeup) for up-to-the-moment updates from the Shake-Up Show.

At The Social Shake-Up