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Bright Minds of Social Media: Jane Stolar, The Barbarian Group

Posted by Mary Ann Kelly

We’ve always said “Every day I get to talk to the smartest people in the NYC ad community and tell their stories. It’s what I love about being a recruiter.”

This statement certainly holds true for Jane Stolar, Senior Media and Distribution Lead at the Barbarian Group. I was fortunate enough to meet Jane last spring and was immediately impressed by her knowledge of our industry, her well managed career path and her public speaking engagements at local universities. I’ve been so inspired by her that I thought it only made sense to get her input on top happenings in social media.

MAK: What are clients asking for right now? What social platforms or tools or ad formats are clients buzzing about?

JS: Third-party messaging apps recently exploded worldwide and brands are figuring out if and how they can play a part. But with privacy a primary asset to these platforms compared to, say, a Facebook, it’s a tricky space for brands to play in.

Examples of  messaging apps include: Whatsapp, Viber, Line, Facebook Messenger, Kakao, Kik Messenger, Google Hangouts, snapchat, Instagram Direct, Clipchat, Emu, Surespot.

MAK: How do you stay on top of the latest trends in Social? What influencers do you follow?

JS: My team writes a biweekly hot sheet highlighting what’s new and interesting in digital media called TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) in an effort to condense and highlight the most important news. Fortunately, the Barbarian Group is full of extremely smart, savvy, connected people, so most of the time I find out about new trends, new apps and things to know from right within the office.

And we all follow blogs like Mashable, Fast Company, TechCrunch, etc.

MAK: What social campaigns or brands do you most admire? Conversely, can you point to an example of how NOT to do social?

JS: Not to self-promote, but I’m really proud of how we’ve built Pepsi’s social presence over the years with some very fun campaigns. A couple of my favorites are Pepsi NEXT presents the Extra Hour and live-vining the NBA All Star Weekend in 2014 for Pepsi MAX, with Nate Robinson in character as old school basketball player “Lights” reacting to each dunk.

In terms of how NOT to do social, there was a time in recent memory when every brand got the “real-time” memo and started tweeting to an outrageous extent, chasing every cultural moment on Twitter. Every brand felt compelled to comment on everything and it got old very fast. My rule is, if a brand has nothing relevant to add, they should say nothing at all.

MAK: How is social a different animal from other advertising channels? How do you need to think to be successful in social? Can you give me an example of a campaign that was well-integrated across all channels?

JS: On social, you have to be human and you have to engage your audience. You can’t just blast ads out there. You have to engage in a way that feels native to the platform.

And social content’s great. We have the luxury of knowing when people will see/interact with our content and we use that to our advantage.

Ultimately, the universal advertising tenets apply and we just have to make content that feels personal yet universal (and, as a result, shareable).

MAK: It has been said the 2014 World Cup was bigger on social than the Super bowl and Olympics – in your opinion, what was driving this?

JS: Compared to other athletic events, the World Cup is just bigger and more globally relevant. And because it only happens once every four years and only lasts one month, the burst of social chatter is more intense. When people feel passionately about something (and when do they feel more passionate than during the World Cup?), there will be tweets.

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