Let us introduce you to Susie Santry, Customer Success Manager at Sprout Social, a market-leading social media management tool.
Susie, over to you...
Can you tell us a bit about your role and industry background?
After dabbling in some blogging in my early 20s, I decided to go back to college to pursue a Masters degree in PR and New Media. I’d caught the bug for working in social and digital, and was eager to expand my knowledge. Once I completed my studies, I got a job working as a Social Media Manager on a seasonal event in Dublin and moved to be up here. After my contract was up, I landed a job with McCann Dublin as a Social and Content Specialist and worked there for 2 years with a variety of clients. I briefly went to another agency and was working there as a Social Media Manager when a recruiter contacted me about my current role, a Customer Success Manager for the Agency segment at Sprout Social. I’ve been with Sprout for almost two years now working exclusively with Agency customers all over EMEA, and I absolutely love it!
What is it about social media management that interests you most?
I loved the creativity and evolution that came with the role, but I won’t lie, I did feel a bit burnt out. While the demands of the role started to take its toll, I still wanted to remain in this world as I enjoyed the fast paced environment, the quick pivots and updates, and always being kept on my toes. My current role as a Customer Success Manager at Sprout Social is a perfect melding of the two. My interest and background in social allows me to work with agency customers on a consultative level, which provides the opportunity to continue working within social, but less so on the frontlines. I have a high level of empathy for those who do—especially after 2020.
How has the last year changed interest and demand for social tools, listening and management?
The past year really drove home the value of social for every industry as well as the importance of having a tool that teams could rely on. The pandemic presented many challenges for people, and social management tools like Sprout helped teams move more quickly and efficiently while freeing up time to focus on other parts of the business that needed it most. I saw agency teams bring people into Sprout who typically wouldn’t have been, and seeing how it was expanded across teams outside of the marketing department was great.
For example, if a team was trying to generate buzz for a new campaign launch or event but had their budget repurposed, they could turn towards social listening to cast a wider net and understand how their initiatives were faring digitally.
What are the biggest challenges facing your industry right now?
The biggest challenge for agencies right now is repurposing and expanding their offerings whilst not minimising their profit margins. It’s a balancing act between keeping clients, maintaining services and making sure teams don’t get burnt out while ensuring your business is making enough financially to survive. Clients are also turning more towards short term campaigns and projects, so there is a need to continue sourcing enough of these types of deals in line with longer term partnerships that help your agency flourish and grow. Social is now the place where we’re connecting with friends and brands alike, making it necessary to have a presence there. Of course many businesses are stretched thin or do not have the bandwidth to dedicate enough time to this channel, which is why agencies are more valuable than ever before.
What are the biggest opportunities?
Having confidence in your capabilities. Agencies have dedicated teams who are experts in various aspects of social and digital marketing. To brands, I say: trust them to guide you through moments like these—it’s why you’ve been working with them in the first place! And to agencies, I also say: don’t sell yourself short. Agencies suffered great losses at the start of the pandemic, but swiftly saw those same clients who had walked away come back, or new clients landed on their doorstep in bigger numbers. This also applies to pricing and packaging your services—it’s not easy to line item community management, for example. Be honest and realistic about what you can deliver and communicate that time is valuable. If they need it, they should be paying for it.
Who can benefit most from harnessing social media marketing and management in 2021?
Everyone! My advice for brands and agencies is to keep an eye on what’s happening in your industry, in the wider social sphere and on the social networks themselves as it’s all going to influence your strategy for 2021. Social media is the first port of call for customer service and you need to ensure your brand is visible and responsive. In our 2020 Sprout Social Index, we found that 61% of consumers believe brands who know how to engage with audiences on social are “best in class.” People are noting who is being helpful, who is engaging authentically and who is most responsive online as a measure of success.
What trends will you be keeping an eye on in 2021?
I’m finding the Reels vs. TikTok debate to be quite interesting. I recently read in an article that Reels are proving more successful for brands, whereas TikTok is much more lucrative for individuals and content creators.
I’m also noting the boom of e-commerce that’s taken place since Covid-19 and its ties with social. Being able to buy straight from social networks reduces the transactional time, making it easier to share items with others. The ease of use is really helping local businesses get set up and be able to maximise their social presence. Although personally, sometimes it’s been too easy to buy things!
Who would be your dream brand to work with?
After the other week, Weetabix! My absolute dream would be to work with a brand who allows that kind of creative freedom and trust when it comes to online banter—not to mention the success that comes with it. I’ve also always admired Glossier’s online presence, including theirconception of the #shelfie. And I like that when they use that type of UGC, it isn’t always strictly their products on the shelf. It’s very authentic in that sense.
How can agencies get the most from working with Sprout Social in 2021?
I recommend signing up for our Agency Partner Program, I can’t speak more highly of it! As someone who has worked in the industry and was constantly looking for more resources, tools and strategies to grow my skill set, knowing there’s an epicenter for materials like this was a game changer. If you’re unfamiliar with the program, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and our Partnerships Team will be in touch. Plus, if you refer other agencies to the program you can earn partner revenue share, which is a win-win!
Let’s end with one thing you think would convert a company or agency to Sprout?
Client expectations require agencies to be one step ahead of trends, industry changes and consumers’ needs—and social data can uncover those insights before they become mainstream. Sprout Social can help your team collaborate, work more efficiently and align on your goals, resulting in real business impact for the brands you work with.