By 2023 most of us have created a social media account in one form or another since these platforms first launched. With the sheer volume of online content and the Rubik’s cube of algorithm updates shifting rows overnight, how can companies stay relevant, while still focusing on what it is they actually do?
That’s where our Social Media Expert Martina Sulkova steps in. She handles all the research, setting platform goals and creating the engaging posts that get us views. (If you found this blog from one of our social accounts, you’ve already seen her work firsthand.)
Martina shared with us her insights from her years in the social media world, what it’s like running our platforms at Ataccama, and gave us a glimpse into the social media side of data management.
Getting started in social media
For some, a career in social media begins with taking a specialized course or gaining recognition on their own personal social accounts. Having a background in related fields can be just as useful for building a career in the social media sphere.
Martina earned her Bachelor’s degree in English in Film and Media and a Master’s in Art Management before she ever knew she wanted a career in social media. While studying her Bachelor’s in Scotland, social media was starting to gain traction in academic discussion.
“Social media was this new thing but no one really knew what an impact it would have. Twitter was still pretty new and our professors said, well, let’s see if this lasts!”
“To be honest, I still didn’t really realize how many opportunities there would be in social media. For my Master’s I did an internship in a gallery in 2011 and set up all their social profiles. But it still didn’t occur to me that it would one day be a huge thing. I didn’t know that hundreds of thousands of people would have careers in social media.”
Since her uni days, Martina has worked in social media for an impressive catalog list of organizations around the world. From a Dutch content agency managing accounts for the world-recognized “I amsterdam” tourism guide, to managing pages for household brands, to running socials for a shipping company with over half a million followers, she’s seen the ins and outs of the growing social media world for nearly every industry imaginable.
The Social Face of Ataccama
Every social platform serves its own purpose, and establishing a distinct online messaging and brand awareness is no small feat. Martina let us see some of her approaches to our social media presence at Ataccama.
How did you start working at Ataccama?
“To be honest, I didn’t know much about data management, but I really liked working in tech in my previous jobs so I really wanted to get back into that environment. So when I saw this opportunity, I was really excited. And I really love the fact that it’s an international company. I love that vibe.”
What are your main goals for Ataccama’s social media presence?
“I think it’s been changing. When I started at Ataccama we had a few goals, mostly around hiring and brand awareness to let people know that we are a big player in the data management sphere. And with that comes updates, like when we’re in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, and promoting all of those things. And there’s also thought leadership, to let people know that we’re experts in our field.”
“But our goals have been changing a bit. Of course, we want to grow our followers. And our focus was on LinkedIn, because we are a B2B company. And this did work, because when I started here we had not even 5,000 followers on LinkedIn and now we have over 10,000. And I still want to grow more.”
“I know that compared to some accounts this seems like nothing. But actually, our engagement is really high. Most of our posts usually have over 8% engagement, sometimes even more like 20%. On LinkedIn, 2% is considered good. When I check these big brands that might have 500,000 followers, they only have maybe 100 likes.”
How is the data management industry different from other clients you’ve had?
“Sometimes it’s a bit more challenging, because at least at first there was less experimenting than with some pages I managed in the past. But then I got inspired. There are really great influencers and pages, and you can still be authentic. It’s a bit different from lifestyle brands, but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring. People still want to read compelling things. And actually, if you’re different and entertaining, people might respond because you might be one of the few profiles like that in the industry. So in that sense, it’s like any other social media profile.”
“And I think being B2B is different. For example, this is the first time that LinkedIn is the biggest page that I’m managing. In previous companies usually it was Facebook or Instagram. So that was a big learning curve too, growing our LinkedIn, since LinkedIn is so specific.”
“And social listening has been so important. It was this learning experience for me and I actually got to learn about data management more by reading the way people discuss different terms and concepts like data mesh and data quality, which I wasn’t as familiar with.”
Social (Media) Etiquette
Most of us are far from being social media experts. So, we jumped at the chance to ask Martina everything we wanted to know about running a successful online account.
How should brands share content across platforms that have different audiences?
“I think you have to keep learning because all the platforms are changing so much. You always have to be on the platforms and see what’s trending and also read about it on social media news websites to see what you should focus on. About two years ago videos started being huge. And we all know that reels and now audio are the huge thing on Instagram. So you’re going to have to always keep reading and seeing what’s trending for each platform.”
“And each platform is different, but I think there’s also an overlap. Videos, for example, are huge everywhere. But on LinkedIn, text posts can do super well and some are so engaging. But that would not really work on Facebook. So I think you just always have to stay informed.”
Do you think there’s a difference in approaches to organic and paid social posts?
“I think so, but I think a good strategy is to leverage both. This was a specific brand and industry, but at this huge shipping company I worked for, they really didn’t need paid posts. It’s not that they didn’t have the budget, but it was just so specific and the following was already huge. They weren’t really trying to get others to know about them because the industry knew them.”
“But I really do believe that organic is important. Starting out or trying to grow slowly with organic posts might be difficult, but you need at least authentic organic posts to break out and be recognized. I don’t think it always helps to just sell. And actually, a lot of our most popular posts are thought leadership and culture posts. Again, it’s just something interesting that people want to read and we’re not really selling anything. I think a good mix is great.”
How do you make content authentic to each brand?
“First, you have to do an audit. You set your goals and see what the tone of voice is because everyone is different. Lay’s, for example, told us openly that we can be kind of cheeky, and our target group was teenagers. So in that sense, the brands are so different.”
“You have to know your target group, your tone of voice, and also not be afraid to be authentic. There’s a lot of influencers on LinkedIn in the data management field. One in particular is really great when it comes to growing her own brand on LinkedIn, and I really feel like her authenticity helped. She posts statuses that are fun and sometimes brands send her things and she does unboxing videos. It’s really real, not just, Here are 10 things you need to know about data management. She’s only one example, and there’s so much room for people and companies to grow and do that too.”
How do you go about community management?
“First of all, I try to be really timely and always respond to people or thank them. You can’t really let it sit there for days. That’s just bad. Sometimes you get some negative comments too. We don’t really get them much but I think every page gets some. So you have to always be professional and answer people and not do so in a hot-headed way.”
How has social media changed since you’ve started in the field?
“I think it’s becoming faster and faster, and there’s more content. You have to put out more content to stay relevant. You have to run more ads. There’s just more and to be honest, that’s where you also see some social media teams grow. Back in the day, it wasn’t a thing for companies to have a huge social media team. But now it’s totally normal, and no one even bats an eyelid. I think it’s only going to grow more. And there will probably be new platforms emerging. So it’s getting faster and bigger and more expensive. Also more fun, because there’s different profiles doing really cool content that you can be inspired by, which also wasn’t so available before.”
How do you get inspired for your own posts?
“I’m following a lot of accounts, and social listening really helps. It doesn’t only show me what people are talking about, but often there’s really, really interesting content which is related to our topics, like cool infographics on data mesh, or video or animation. And then also following social media news, like Social Media Today, or Mashable, just to know what’s happening in terms of social media trends.”
What is social listening?
“Social listening is basically looking on different platforms for keywords that are important to your organization to see what’s trending or what you should focus on that people are talking about. For example, some of our keywords are data quality and data mesh, and we’ve seen how that’s evolved. Now people are talking a lot about data observability. It’s really cool to see what people are discussing on social media platforms like Twitter and message forums. And I think it’s really important for a social media manager to have one of those tools. In some companies, where there are bigger social media teams they have a few people whose full-time job is social listening.”
Any advice for somebody who wants to start a career in social media management?
“First of all, anyone can start. But if you like writing and visually appealing posts and culture, I think it’s really great because social media combines all of those. And you can do social media for so many different industries. I think you should start your own profile and see what you like posting and who you like following and try it out. Maybe post some reels. And definitely follow accounts like Social Media Today, and We Are Social. They’re really handy.”
Learn something interesting from Martina? Let’s keep the conversation going!