Elisabeth Michaud: uberVU

Elisabeth MichaudWho is Elisabeth Michaud and how is she a marketing maverick in the world of social media? Self-described on Twitter as “Passionate about brands, culture & community. Bostonian. Social media addict, Mainer at heart, grammar nerd. Social media/community manager @uberVU,” Elisabeth is someone with great insight who we can all learn from…

Are you originally from Boston?
No, I’m from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, right outside of the great “little” city of Portland. I moved to Boston to attend Harvard College and I got used to a bigger city and it helps that there are more jobs here. I feel that Boston is a happy medium between Portland and New York City.

How did you get become interested in social media?
While in college, I was looking for summer internships and I got an opportunity at a small PR firm in Portland. I did another PR internship later and when I graduated I knew I wanted something PR-related. I was able to find work at an agency that did PR and social media and it was then, back in 2008, that I fell in love with social media. I enjoy the sense of community online; the conversations you can have with people you would otherwise never interact with or encounter. I was inspired to pursue a career in social community, market research field.

Are you obsessed with brands?
I’ve always been interested in how brands are perceived by the general public and I knew I wanted to work in that field. I get to help advise brands and help brands be better through getting in touch with the right consumers through engagement and genuine messaging. Brands need to alter messaging strategy online to be engagement driven and not simply have the same message across all mediums, or they risk not coming across as genuine or organic. This has been changing with social media, but good brands engage consumers; they don’t just add a hash tag and expect people to simply follow it. Good brands give reasons to engage; for example, become a fan of X brand and learn X information. The best campaigns have elements of social, traditional and, if possible, experiential. They create new opportunities and are creative.

Has any brand impressed you recently?
What Oreo did during the Super Bowl was impressive. The real-time, quick Twitter response during the blackout was, especially to me as a marketer, exciting; more exciting than the Instagram stuff they were already doing. The spur of the moment tweet was creative, but it was successful since it stayed true to the brand. Other companies can follow suit only if they let the brand guide the activities and not just try to take advantage of the social media platform. Not simply “oh, we need to make an easily changeable image that we can live tweet during a live event,” it requires planning and the brand serve as the guide.

Hactivist: You can still dunk in the dark
Can people be brands?
Definitely. Social allows people to become brands; without it they couldn’t. Public recognition through big brands in social is important. Just look at Grumpy cat, who is a brand. Ten years ago a cat could be a brand mascot but not a brand. A lot has changed.

Grumpy Cat

What is uberVU?
It is a software platform for social media marketers to use on a day-to-day basis. To help companies achieve marketing goals, it is important to be connected, to be accountable and to get results. This platform gives insights across social platforms while engaging consumers and monitoring engagement.

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 9.58.41 PMWhat do you do in your role as Social Media Marketing & Community Manager at uberVU?
Well, it is an interesting position. My job is to do for uberVU what uberVU does for our clients. I do the social media outreach for our brand and help drive conversations. I do a lot with Twitter; it gets the most volume and frequency of posts. But since customers are on all platforms, I check out everything to see what will work for each brand. It is important to be on all the social platforms.

Do consumers know what they want?
Some consumers know what they want, but it depends on what they are looking to buy. Word of mouth is really important, and social media does that more than ever before.  It’s an opportunity for a brand to influence customers of rival brands.

What is the best tool to connect with consumers?
It depends on who your customers are and what you are looking to achieve. It is important to listen to the audience first and figure out how they want to be talked to. That should always be the start. For example, some commercials fail because they attempt to reach customers in a certain medium when they would rather connect through a different one.

Can businesses keep up with all this big data?
Yes, if they hire data scientists that can understand how to use it to make good decisions. That is what uberVU does for companies. It is a smart platform that alerts users to trends and spikes in activity so you don’t have to manually dig through data all the time.

Complete the sentence….
In 10 years, Google will…
still be the #1 tech company.
In 5 years, Facebook will…be more present and have more touch points in daily life. It is trying to change how the internet works.
In 3 years, Twitter will…be considered a very valuable, valid resource for advertising, not just for engagement.
In 1 year, Vine will…still exist, because it interacts with Twitter, but it won’t be totally mainstream.
Google+.…could take off. I don’t spend time on it, but the communities are cool places to be. Google has work to do with social integration before Google+ can be relied on.

What “screen” do you see the most of?
Definitely my laptop since I’m on it all day at work. On the weekends it is my phone. I use the phone for everything during off hours, such as an alarm, workout apps at the gym, or maps, and so on.

Do you ever try to disconnect from technology?
I don’t really get disconnected. I try to separate time when not using technology for work, but since technology is fun it doesn’t intrude on life too much since it augments both work and play. I like using my smartphone to Yelp a good restaurant instead of picking one at random. There is a right way to use technology but it varies by audience.

Do you think the smartphone will replace the wallet?
Not sure. I use apps like LevelUp but I don’t see it totally replacing a wallet, at least not in the next 5 years.

What if you lost your phone?
Since I’ve had a smartphone, I haven’t lost it (knock on wood).

What is your favorite…
Google, if I’m allowed to say that.
…Analytics Tool: uberVU. It’s the once place I go to do everything on social.
…Screen: Right now it is my iPad Mini. I enjoy playing around on it and the tactile stuff is fun.
…Brand: That one is tough. Years ago it would have been Apple; now it would be the one-for-one social good pioneer brands like TOMs or Warby Parker. There will be more brands like them.
…City: Boston, it has to be.
…Bar in Boston: Tough one. Either jm Curley near Downtown Crossing or the Legal Seafood summer outside patio near Harvard Square; it’s fun to be outside hanging out.
…thing about Boston: How everything is together in one place. The mixture of the old and new is interesting. All the history and the monuments I see every day coupled with the new buildings and biotech stuff are interesting. A good example of the two together would be at Copley Square where you see the detailed architecture of the old Trinity Church in front of the shiny and tall John Hancock building.
…(worst) thing about Boston: The frequency of the MBTA breakdowns. It isn’t as reliable as I would like.

DSCN3252What advice would you have for student looking to get into the advertising and media world?
Make sure to network online and in person. Boston has tons of networking events for every interest. You can meet great people this way and it can lead to jobs. Also, do your part online to connect with people and reach out. Finally, look at start-ups and small companies since they offer so many opportunities where you can learn a lot and quickly. Wearing a lot of hats is a good thing. I love how connected big agencies like Hill Holliday and Mullen are, but students should consider smaller agencies as well, especially ones like Antler, Small Army or Amp.

Parting thoughts?
Platforms change but the way we talk to people won’t.

Follow @emichaud, @uberVU and me, @mikethatmiller, on Twitter!

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