April 5

Social Teams 100 with Miruna Dragomir, Head of Marketing for Planable Episode 42

We’re joined by Miruna Dragomir, who’s the head of marketing for Planable. Planable is a content review and marketing collaboration platform, and Miruna and Planable have just put out their social team’s 100. So we’re going to be talking a little bit about that today. As always, I’m joined by Paul, Ian, Dan and Jen. Thanks Miruna for joining us today.

[00:01:37.664] – Miruna

Yeah, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

[00:01:40.524] – Ken

Yeah, I’ll go ahead and get started. One exciting thing I saw with your platform is that Instagram direct posting is now available. So that’s awesome. A lot of us in the marketing community have been limping around with some odd piecemeal workflow solutions to people to try to post to Instagram. So we’re really happy to see that. So what made you decide to launch the, the social team’s top 100 and what types of statistics are included in that?

[00:02:10.144] – Miruna

Yeah, so I think the topic itself kind of started as a, as an internal question. We were, we were wondering what else happened in 2020 besides the all-world, all across the world pandemic and lockdown and everything that we already want to forget. And we were wondering, what about the social media industry, what happened there, and especially the hiring scene in particular, did companies still choose to hire or did they kind of chose social media to be the place where they cut costs or they put a hold on everything?

[00:02:45.524] – Miruna

And after that, we had so many questions, we decided to kind of conduct the research. During the research, we found thousands of companies that hired at least one person on social media in 2020, obviously thousands of people that were, that found a new role. And so many statistics were brought to light during this research, we found the most popular industries for roles in 2020. We found a few surprises there. The titles were quite interesting, too, and the kind of departments that were most hard, months that were most popular, all these kinds of interesting stats that might turn to be useful for some people.

[00:03:27.674] – Ken

Yeah, one thing that we saw, it really became really critical for businesses to post on a regular basis, maybe even more so than they had been, just because with the uncertainty about, if it’s a brick-and-mortar location, are they open and some things like that. And so you really had to kind of step up your game. If you weren’t posting, you were interjecting potential doubt about the viability of your business and whether or not you were even actually open. So I’d be curious, did you track any metrics in terms of the increased posting volumes with any of the businesses or anything like that?

[00:04:01.064] – Miruna

Well, no, we didn’t look at the activity during this research, but we did last year, kind of host a series of webinars with different experts in the industry. And it was really interesting to talk about these changes that happened in social media during the pandemic. And I think there were quite a few. One of them, as you said, you know, the brick and mortar businesses, not only that they became a lot more active because, as you say, they had to kind of let people know if they were accepting orders, if they tried to find any way to transition to an online business for a temporary period of time.

[00:04:39.464] – Miruna

But I found that a lot of businesses kind of took a new approach that maybe in the past, if it wasn’t for the context of the pandemic, would have been something unheard of or unspeakable. And that is to kind of show that they’re vulnerable and that they need the help of the community to keep going. I think that’s a very interesting thing that, that happened during this pandemic, the businesses, the CEOs, the business owners simply come and go on social media saying, you know, we find this one way where we could still provide for ourselves during this pandemic either, I don’t know, delivery or selling some sort of product that you might need during this time, and we’d appreciate your help. And it gave the audience the chance to feel like they’re contributing to something, to saving their own local businesses, the businesses that they care of. And I think that was a really interesting, I’d say trend but it sounds wrong to say trend in this particular context. But I think it’s interesting to see that people are open to this kind of vulnerability and authenticity from brands just coming to them and telling them what they’re going through and seeing nothing but tolerance on the other side.

[00:05:56.374] – Ken

Yeah, I think it was really fascinating to see that.

[00:05:59.064] – Dan

I wanted to follow up on that with a question based on your answer there. What does this say about the social media scene in general? What does that tell you about the social media scene based on what you got back?

[00:06:11.254] – Miruna

I think it says that social media, contrary to what some people might expect, and that is that I still think that a lot of people would expect it to be optional or and or nice to have. I think the fact that during this time so many companies chose to invest in it rather than dial it down shows that social media isn’t something you can overlook. You need it. And especially in a world that’s forced to transition online fully for a period of time, I think that’s kind of the first thing that I noticed, that social media is actually expanding and it has expanded during this time.

[00:06:50.314] – Miruna

Companies are growing their, their teams and it’s getting to be further and further away from a one-person job that it used to be when it first started. It’s a team effort. And behind every post, there’s such a large effort and there’s such a big team involved.

[00:07:07.794] – Jen

Absolutely. What are some of the interesting stats that you found while doing this research? Do you have a couple that stand out?

[00:07:15.034] – Miruna

Yes. One surprising fact from the industry stats was that higher education actually hired a lot of social media professionals. I wouldn’t necessarily have expected that. I wouldn’t know to guess why in particular, I’m thinking it’s either because they, as you said again, they had to keep all their students and all their personnel and all their teachers up to date. And they had to have a lot of people hired to maintain all the information up to date, or it was simply about needing to recruit new students.

[00:07:51.274] – Miruna

I’m not sure why, but it’s really interesting to see this happened. And I didn’t know that higher education usually has a lot of different social media teams. It’s not that necessarily that they have big teams, but university usually has so many different specializations or different kind of initiatives that people can go and study. So they usually have sort of a sub-brand for each of those. A sub-brand there’s a different person handling that content. Then I think it’ll be interesting to look at how they’ll manage to grow into having all that organized and managing to speak not only about the sub-brand, but about the university as a whole and the whole, the big brand, as well as keeping the content relevant for that particular topic that they’re, that they’re talking about.

[00:08:42.754] – Paul

Let me follow up on something you said earlier about people investing more in social media. Are there some niches that are growing faster than others?

[00:08:51.574] – Miruna

I think few people were hired and digital. A few people were hired in the content department. Not such a big percentage wasn’t paid or performance, which was a bit surprising for me. What we looked at was the title, if the title contained any particular information about the, about the department that they’re part of right. If it’s either, I don’t know social media paid specialist or social media ad specialists or social media content manager, those are usually indicators of wherever that role is placed within the organization.

[00:09:26.794] – Miruna

And there weren’t a lot of these indicators. A lot of people were, just had a general title, social media marketing manager or specialist. But there were titles, the titles that stood out to me because a lot of the, I think about 14 percent of people had the word manager in the title, which for me is, is quite surprising. It’s usually, you know, the managers are fewer in numbers. And that’s, that’s interesting for me. I think it might be an indicator that some teams were either formed as a part of marketing, it didn’t necessarily have a leader on social media, and it might be an indicator that teams are becoming more specialized in social media and their own individual self.

[00:10:15.194] – Paul

What about from an industry perspective, are there some industries that are making better use of social media, are getting more traction using social media than others?

[00:10:24.224] – Miruna

Yeah, so I think the biggest industries were the tech ones, which isn’t necessarily surprising, to be honest. Those are the ones that we see are growing in general, not necessarily only on social, and especially on how LinkedIn divides them. The first, the top three industries were Internet, computer software and I.T. So all three basically one way or another tech. And that took up about 30 something percent of the whole hiring scene. So I think that’s, that’s a lot.

[00:10:58.034] – Miruna

And also, agencies hired quite a lot of people considering the number of agencies out there and that it’s generally smaller than the number of companies, it was about eight percent of the hiring scene was within agencies, which I also think it’s quite a big number for the agency space in particular.

[00:11:17.204] – Ian

Miruna, did you see any growth or any change or did your study actually even look at this, but how governments, both local and broader, countrywide, are using social media throughout the pandemic?

[00:11:30.914] – Miruna

I didn’t notice the change necessarily from the research, but empirically speaking, they’ve been very focused on, I mean, they needed to communicate information and they needed to kind of triple check that information. And that would usually change every hour because as we know, no one kind of knew a lot about needed measures, regulations and the advice that they should give. I definitely think that they found this need to be more and more pressing. And I’ve seen this trend a bit more from a business perspective, because Planable has had an increase in requests from governmental institutions that needed software to collaborate more.

[00:12:19.424] – Miruna

So I can say that from, from that perspective, I think they’re, they’re definitely starting to invest in this a bit more than they’ve done it before.

[00:12:28.794] – Ian

It makes sense. And if we step back a little bit and, and we were to look at it from your expert viewpoint, what would you say the pandemic has meant to social media as a whole?

[00:12:39.704] – Miruna

Oh, I think it has opened a few new paths and, and I think brands got a new set of lessons to say so. One of them, I think, is how adaptable that actually has to be. It’s one of those things that it feels like we’ve knew it from all along, that we have to be adaptable and move fast and listen to the audience and react in real time.

[00:13:02.264] – Miruna

But were we doing it enough, at least probably sometimes hard to maintain, it’s hard to listen to what the, the people have to say. But it feels like this, during the pandemic, this kind of interesting thing happened that the audience got more aligned and united in their behaviors.

[00:13:24.434] – Miruna

And we took new hobbies, for some reason we took them in bulk. I mean, we all started working from home, baking bread. I don’t know. There were a few of these trends that just took over the Internet for a few weeks. And the brands that have succeeded in keeping or, and tightening the bond with their audience were the ones that listened. They were OK, they’re baking bread now. OK, this is something we can help with maybe, I don’t know, give them a recipe, give them some ingredients or something.

[00:13:54.674] – Miruna

And I think in order to do that, you need kind of a system in which you could react in real time. That doesn’t necessarily mean, because they feel like a lot of people when they hear about having a system to react in real time, sounds more like, OK, so we should kind of all agree that each of us can do whatever we want and post whatever we want right. I personally wouldn’t advise for that as their personal antics might sometimes be wrong for a brand, but simply a workflow that enables communication and collaboration between teams and between people so that they can get the approval, the ideas in place and they can react quickly enough.

[00:14:34.784] – Ken

Yeah, and that kind of segues into my question, which was the work and the workflow is probably changed as you’re staffing up more people. I think you did a great example with higher education where they may have departmental-level needs and communications, but that may or may not be really aligning with what the overall university or institution is trying to do. So do you really see that that’s going to change really, everything moving forward in terms of the social media workflow, and just kind of talk about what you see is that general kind of a workflow?

[00:15:08.464] – Miruna

Yeah, I do think there should be some changes. I think that the team, the teams are growing fast and they’re growing a lot. This is not necessarily only valid for social media teams. Any team that grows in size will have some growing pains to deal with, because what goes in a two-people team does not go in a 20-people team. The talking across the desk, the brainstorming as you, I don’t know, get your coffee, the quick messages via chat to ask for approval or on the phone or whatever.

[00:15:44.254] – Miruna

They aren’t scalable. They cannot work for a big team. People will inevitably lose information. They’ll inevitably lose feedback and not be able to implement it. And the mistakes will happen, usually. I think that’s kind of the trend and aspect that team, the social media teams have to deal with at this point. It’s not a bad thing, I think it’s a very maturing phase that could really help us as an industry move faster and scale and be more ready for whatever comes because we’re hit with new trends that might come every day now, we, each day there is a new IOS update. What’s that going to mean for us? There is AI, there’s VR, there’s so many things that might or might not take a huge growth from one day to another and we’ll have to adapt. But I think it’s less important how extremely up to speed you are and more important that your team is ready for whatever comes. You are ready because you have a steady foundation and a steady framework in which you can put whatever is needed, whether today it’s a blog and tomorrow it’s VR content, you should have the framework that works for whatever.

[00:17:03.454] – Ken

Thinking back almost a year ago when this was starting to hit and we really didn’t know what was going on, I think everybody that I knew in the marketing community was like, how do we change our message? What do we say? How do we demonstrate empathy, or not sell, sell, sell? Because that’s always been a, too much of a trend for a lot of businesses in social media is just sell, sell, sell. And you had to kind of back off of that.

[00:17:25.984] – Ken

So I would imagine that plus political season that we went through in the US, for example, where there was a lot of misinformation, incorrect information, false statements, people didn’t know what was real or what was not, that that probably put even more pressure on a system to go through a really good approval process.

[00:17:47.134] – Miruna

Especially considering that we’re human, too. We might hear information that’s not real. We might be impacted, but, by whatever else is out there. Usually when, the more brains you have involved in a process and in a piece of content, the less likely you are to make a mistake because someone else is probably going to notice if you say something that can be interpreted as offensive, if you say something that’s, that might be fake or not, not accurate. When you have more people involved, you kind of bulletproof your content and your brand, for that matter, because you, you don’t risk as much.

[00:18:26.164] – Dan

Speaking of looking ahead, if we peer into our crystal ball a little bit here and you’re advising heads of social media, what are some things coming up or around the corner that you think they should probably keep an eye out for in 2021?

[00:18:42.514] – Miruna

I think a shift is happening in the content that people are looking for. I think we, we come from a long age of content that’s very polished, very professional, with a lot of touch-ups and this kind of tendency to appreciate more raw content or more, content that’s more real and more authentic, has been happening for a while. But during the pandemic, brands and marketers were forced to give that content because they don’t, no longer had the access to professional studios or recording very polished-up things, and they got the chance to see how the audience reacts.

[00:19:31.474] – Miruna

So I thin,k that’s a trend that’s going to continue and people will want and appreciate a more natural way for brands to show themselves in a more human behind-the-scene, on-the-spot content.

[00:19:45.844] – Jen

You mentioned some of the challenges with growing a team. Are there a couple of specific ones that we can look out for as we grow our teams?

[00:19:54.274] – Miruna

Yeah, I think wasted time and very faulty processes. Is something that a lot of teams should look out for, and it’s interesting because it’s an easy thing to audit, if you were to convince yourself and other members to, I don’t know, log their time for a week, just for the purpose of seeing where the time goes. I don’t know, tasks that are normal to take a lot of time. And they should and they should always be prioritized. And where are we just doing work that shouldn’t be done by a human being with a creative mind and extremely important skills, and look at all the copy-paste and really look out for the copy-pasting. Anything that requires more than three or five copy-pastes in a row, it should not be done I think by a human being, it should probably be automated. And it’s probably a very easy and cheap way to do that.

[00:20:50.924] – Paul

Definitely. Definitely. Now, let’s talk about Planable a little bit. A lot of people probably heard of it. Is it just collaboration software? I mean, what does it do? What is it capable of and who is it designed for exactly?

[00:21:01.664] – Miruna

Planable is a social media collaboration platform. That does mean that it’s very, very focused on collaboration. We allow for all the processes that happen behind, before the actual publishing, including the publishing. So that means creating the post, getting feedback on them, planning them across your calendar and channels and then approving them and then finally publishing them. It’s meant for really any teams that plan their social media, which is pretty much anyone at this point. It’s a collaboration software so that does mean that the team that’s more divided or larger is going to get a bigger benefit out of the tool. But anyone who is remote and who wants to kind of get rid of the spreadsheets, because what usually happens now, and I’m sure a lot of people will relate to this process, is that most teams kind of create and plan their content in a spreadsheet usually, or in Excel. And then they take that file and share it across the entire company or team via chat or via emails.

[00:22:10.904] – Miruna

And then they start gathering feedback that people will throw at them regardless of the environment or of the clarity or, best-case scenario they’ll put it in a cell somewhere in row 1057 cell A B. And then they usually have to kind of match all that feedback, implement it and somehow ensure that they have the final approval, which is usually someone calling on a chat, hey guys, has everyone looked at this? Please tell me, is it good to go?

[00:22:44.564] – Miruna

And then they finally end that process and start copy-pasting that content and either publishing tool or natively on Facebook, Twitter and so on. So that’s what Planable covers, that it kind of takes that spreadsheet and scattered feedback away from your hands, your life and fortunately, not your memory, but yeah, that’s what Planable does.

[00:23:09.134] – Paul

I think you made a really good point there about a publishing tool, as opposed to taking the time to natively publish to each of these individual platforms. And having a publishing tool can save you a lot of time.

[00:23:21.404] – Ken

We’re all marketing consultants for marketing agencies. So how does Planable support businesses like ours where we’re doing social media management for many of our, our clients, but we need approvals from them before we can create and develop the content. Sounds like Planable is an ideal solution for us.

[00:23:40.844] – Miruna

Yes, Planable is used by a lot of agencies. It’s very helpful for them because it does allow for a more seamless client collaboration. The first benefit, I think, is obvious. You get your clients’ feedback in this one place, it’s not scattered. It’s very friendly for anyone, regardless of how tech-savvy they are or aren’t. More than that it also gives them the visibility that they need because the main difference between Planable and a spreadsheet is that you can see the content, how it will look like live and you can interact with it.

[00:24:15.474] – Miruna

You won’t have another client asking you, OK, I get it, it’s a carousel, but what is that again and how does it look like and how it’s going to be cut and all that. You won’t have to kind of mock up those posts. If you were doing that, they’ll see it, they’ll interact with it. They’ll like, either like it or not. From our personal experience working with agencies, there were two main benefits that I always hear from our case studies, from our, from simple interviews with them.

[00:24:43.574] – Miruna

That’s, first of all, saving a lot of time. And that means that it usually gives agencies the ability to scale without needing more resources so they don’t have to hire three more people to get another couple of clients. They save enough time that they can take more clients on. That’s one thing, and the second thing is the fact that it genuinely improves the relationship they have with their client, because no one runs from approvals anymore. The team doesn’t run from the thought or idea of involving the client every step of the way because it becomes easy and manageable, and the client ends up actually liking it because they feel like they’re part of the process. They’re not left out to be the bad guy that disapproves of everything when, during the final stage. They can see it in progress sometimes, if you want to. If not, you have the option to hide content in draft mode until it’s ready to be seen by actual clients. But they are involved in this process and they’re invested in it and they’re there with you. They’re no longer an objective third party to the whole situation.

[00:25:54.954] – Ken

Yeah, that’s awesome.

[00:25:56.014] – Ian

And hey, Miruna, this is the million-dollar question and especially small business owners, I think, are guilty of this. I know we as agency owners are, we love chasing after the latest shiny object. And there’s a lot of voices out there related to trending in social media, what’s hot, what’s not. And of course, it depends on who your target audience is because that should direct which platforms we’re on as businesses. But what are you seeing as the most popular social media platforms right now for small businesses?

[00:26:26.764] – Miruna

Honestly, I’d still bet on Instagram. I’m pretty sure a lot of people would expect me to say, then your shiny object, and that is tik tok or clubhouse. For now I’d still, I’d still go for Instagram as it’s, I think it’s still the popular platform that people are still not yet sick of. For now, we never know. And it allows for many different pieces of content. So you can really test it out there. But generally, I recommend any business. I’m a tech marketer that’s very invested in data and experiments, so I always, always recommend experimenting. There’s nothing wrong with that. You usually have nothing to lose and just test more things out and see how they go for a quarter or two. You try it and obviously not invest all your money and your time into one experiment. But if you just, I don’t know, put out a few posts or two on a new platform, see how they go, it might answer your question.

[00:27:24.784] – Ian

Thank you.

[00:27:25.804] – Ken

Yeah, we’ve got a great deal that Planable has provided to us. So we’ve got the code MGSB30 and that’s going to get you thirty percent off Planable for three months. So thanks very much to Planable and Miruna for providing that to us. Miruna, we’ve really enjoyed the conversation. We usually try to keep these around thirty minutes or so. Just wanted to see if there was any one last thing that maybe you wanted to share with our listeners, either about the Social Team’s 100 or just about Planable. And if people are interested, I certainly would encourage them to go check out this offer. I’ve used Planable and it’s a great tool, so thanks.

[00:28:06.454] – Miruna

That’s awesome. Thanks for saying that. Yeah. So first of all, about the top, you can check it out for yourself. It might be very useful if you’re looking to see to, I don’t know, find new clients, for example, that might need your services or if you might want to see the companies that you should look out for during the next year or so to see what they’re going to come up with. You can check the top out at planable.io/social-teams-100.

[00:28:35.704] – Miruna

One thing I’d like to leave people with is audit your, your process, sounds boring and we always want to postpone it as much as possible because we, you know, we’re marketers so we want to do, do, do, go, go, go. Right. It might prove very profitable in the long run.

[00:28:54.394] – Ken

Do you guys have any kind of an audit tool?

[00:28:56.434] – Miruna

No, no. But it’s, I mean, you can use Toggl, which is free, for example. For task management we personally use Sanselma (?), which is a very cool startup, and it also allows you to kind of has this function of focusing and that implies also tracking the time. So and I find it very useful to reviewing how I, how I spend my time.

[00:29:18.574] – Ken

Awesome. Anybody else have anything they want to, want to join in?

[00:29:23.014] – Ian

No, this has been great though Miruna. Thank you.

[00:29:24.694] – Ken

Yeah, thank you so much. We really appreciate your time. And I’m always glad to hear about what’s going on from people who are looking at data. I’m a big fan of looking at data myself. And so your insights and the discussion today was really valuable. Thank you so much.

[00:29:40.264] – Miruna

Yeah, thank you for having me.

[00:29:41.764] – Paul


[00:29:42.464] – Ken

Thanks to everybody.

[00:29:45.484] – Narrator

We want to thank you all for taking the time to listen to today’s podcast. Please be sure and subscribe to the Marketing Guides for Small Business podcast in your podcast software. We’d love for you to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. And please don’t forget to visit marketingguidesforsmallbusinesses.com, for more episodes, free resources and links to set up free consultation calls with any of the hosts of this podcast. Thanks again. And stay tuned.


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