Interview with one of Microsoft’s Facebook Managers, Tina Kelleher

Tina-KelleherTina Kelleher is a Community & Social Media Manager at Microsoft. The brand page she manages on Facebook continues to get high levels on engagement so I asked her a few questions about her Facebook strategies and Microsoft’s upcoming involvement at SES Toronto 2012 in June:

What is your role with Microsoft and why did you choose to get into your field?

I’m one of the three Community Managers on the Microsoft Advertising Community site.  I manage the adCenter Blog content and social media channels for the US and Canadian small business audience. My colleague in the UK, Simone Schuurer, does the same for the European audience.  Mel Carson manages the content on the Microsoft Advertising blog and social channels, which are primarily geared towards the Marketer and Agency crowd.

As for why I chose this as a career, Joseph Campbell once said, “Follow your bliss”… that’s essentially what landed me here.  I got started in social media back in 1994 with the old BBS systems (they didn’t call it “social media” back then, but that’s what it was).  From there, I moved on to Prodigy, AOL and have followed along with most of the trends since then, all the way up to Facebook, Twitter and now Pintrest.  I majored in English, so after graduation, I started thinking about what kinds of careers would let me marry my love of the written word with all the time I spent talking to people online.  Community Manager made the most sense, though there weren’t a whole lot of full-time positions in this field back then, so I took a detour into online marketing and PPC management before finally landing my dream job.

Why did Microsoft Advertising set up a Facebook Page?

Two reasons.  One, we wanted to give our readers a simple and convenient way to stay updated on the latest from the adCenter Blog. Where our content includes a mix of adCenter release news, pay-per-click optimization and campaign management tips along with other topics relevant to small business owners, we thought Facebook would be key for not only delivering that content to our audience, but in opening up opportunities to expand our readership through making our posts easily shareable.

Two, while we use both our Community forums and Twitter to respond to support-related questions and to gather feedback, we didn’t really have a vehicle that would help enable non-support discussions around topics relevant to the PPC/SMB audience.  We thought Facebook could lend itself well to that as discussions can be sparked with an interesting article or a simple question that could get people talking, both to us and to each other.

You’re consistently in the top 5 Pages for brands who target entrepreneurs (most recently #3 at http://www.evancarmichael.com/blog/2012/04/24/most-engaged-brands-for-entrepreneurs-april-2012/) – What do you do to keep your engagements levels consistely double the average for your industry?

We respond to every question that’s posted on our wall, we ask questions both as stand-alone posts and within the blurbs that accompany content postings and to help start discussions, and we post content gathered from SMB expert sources all over the web from sources like Entrepreneur.com, SCORE.org, etc.  As long as your content is relevant to your audience and you’re willing to have a conversation with them about that content, you can’t go wrong.

How do you determine what type of content to post on your Facebook page?

If it’s timely and relevant to the do-it-yourself marketer and/or small business owner, it’s prime fodder for our Facebook page.  Although getting eyeballs on our content is important, at the end of the day, we want to add value to our fans’ newsfeeds.  The goal is to provide information, not only about our products and services, but about topics that might be of use to small business owners, from PPC optimization tips to best practices for time management to what to look for when hiring a web designer.

What does a typical week look like from a posting persepctive on your Facebook page?

A typical week on usually has one post per day from the adCenter Blog, one post per day from another source not related to Microsoft Advertising – these can be anything from an article on Entrepreneur.com to a post from an SMB Blogger about some of the challenges they’re facing to a video from Office365 on using Excel more efficiently – and perhaps a few fill-in-the blank or open-ended questions to see what’s on our fans’ minds.  We’re very conscious about not spamming our readers, so we stick to a maximum of 3 posts per day, each one spaced out several hours from the last.

What advice do you have for business owners who are launching a Facebook page or trying to boost the engagement on their current Page?

First and foremost, know your audience: know what’s important to them, know what they value, know what excites them.  Once you’ve got a firm grasp on that, your next step is to be ready to have a conversation about those things – ask questions, share information – not just about your business, but about what you find valuable, interesting, exciting, etc.  Social media is about connecting people, not only to the information they’re after, but to each other.  If you know what your audience is passionate about, you can tap into that with the content you’re sharing to get them talking to you, and each other.  For more tips on managing your social presence, I’d recommend reviewing my coverage from the SMX Social Media Marketing conference last December… there’s some great info there from industry experts.

What is your team going to be showcasing at SES Toronto 2012?

We’ve got a couple of things going on at SES Toronto this year.  First, John Gagnon and Paul Corkery will be showcasing some of the adCenter team’s latest technologies and features in the Microsoft Advertising adCenter New Features Lab.  This session will cover new areas of innovation, best practices and “hidden” features (plus there might also be a preview of the next release!).  Second, we’ll have search experts on-hand to host a 20 minute one-on-one search optimization consultation.  Check your conference guides for detailed info on when and where these sessions will be.

To learn more, come check out SES Toronto 2012 in June – I’ll be there so if you’re planning on coming, drop me a note and we’ll meet up!

About the Author

I #Believe in entrepreneurs.

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