Kathryn Hawkins is a partner at Eucalypt Media, a content marketing agency based in Scarborough, Maine that works with business and nonprofit clients throughout the United States and internationally, assisting them with marketing strategy, content development, public relations outreach assistance, and numerous other professional services. With a background as a journalist and editor for publications such as CBS’ BNET.com, she helps clients develop successful strategies to build their brands and captivate audiences, both online and offline.
Counting Crows, content marketing and on being an introvert
What was your first experience with social media?
“As an awkward adolescent in the early/mid-90s, I became obsessed with the band Counting Crows, and found their message board on AOL (back in the days of crazy-slow dial-up Internet). I bonded with a lot of fellow fans from all over the country on that forum, some of whom I’m still close with today. We’d send emails, instant messages, and organize group chats, and it soon became about much more than the band. Our online connection led many of us to meet in person, and we went to concerts together and traveled together frequently. Several of the band members even made their way to our little online hangout, which blew my mind at the time, but looking back, my fellow ‘folderites’ were what really helped me through that tumultuous phase in life.”
What do you like about social media?
“As an introvert, it makes it easy to connect with people with shared interests in a low-stakes environment. Whereas I probably wouldn’t call someone on the phone out of the blue if I didn’t have a previous connection with them, or possibly even send an email, sending an @ message on Twitter is a simple way to engage and start a conversation. When my daughter was born in 2009, it was a great way to start talking with other new parents, including some local parents who became friends. I’m not a frequent poster on Facebook, but I check it frequently, and love the ability to stay up to date on my friends’ and relatives’ lives, especially those in other parts of the country who I’d have trouble keeping up with otherwise.”
“Business-wise, I’m a partner in a content marketing agency that works with clients all over the world, so Twitter is a great way to find and engage with leads and other industry contacts, as well as to stay up to date on the latest industry news and blog posts.”
What do you dislike about social media?
“Sometimes I dislike the necessity to cultivate an image—when you know that what you’re saying is going out to people well beyond your “inner circle,” or to people who might know you from different parts of your life, it can feel a bit awkward to try to combine all those identities together or to make sure that you’re being portrayed in the right light. (i.e., do I want business prospects to know about the silly thing my daughter said today, or do I want to share posts on content marketing with my college friends?)”
“Yes, you can set privacy filters for different posts on services like Google+ and Facebook, but it often feels like more hassle than it’s worth to do that. As a result, I don’t connect with total strangers on Facebook, since that’s where I tend to share more personal details, versus using Twitter and LinkedIn primarily for business.”
“Also, it can often feel (on Twitter especially) like a lot of people are talking, but no one is listening. People often want to promote their own content, but don’t have time to read anyone else’s or engage in actual discussion. And yes, I’ve been guilty of this myself, which is usually a sign that I should step away until I’m ready to engage more fully.”
What would it be like for you to disconnect from social media for six months?
“Somewhat isolating—my husband Jeff and I work from a home-based office and deal with clients primarily through email, so social media platforms help provide some of that water-cooler talk that I miss out on by not working in a larger office.”
“At the same time, while I check Facebook frequently because that’s how I connect online with people I know in real life and stay up to date with some of my favorite media publications and local businesses, I’ve slipped away from services like Twitter for months at a time when I’m preoccupied with work and family demands, since it’s easy to get overwhelmed and distracted by a constant stream of strangers talking, and when you don’t engage frequently it’s sometimes easier to let it lapse. Still, it’s always fun to slip back into the stream after some time away.”
If you could only use three words to describe social media, what would they be?
“Overwhelming. Constant. Compelling.”
Is there a person or brand that you think uses social media effectively?
“We’ve only eaten there a couple of times, but I really enjoy the Facebook Page from the Old Orchard Beach restaurant, Hoss ‘n Mary’s. They post daily photos for their (often over-the-top) specials, but they also use the page to make recommendations for other local restaurants, engage with their fans about the best meals they’ve eaten recently, and seek feedback on new menu items and names for specials. A lot of restaurants don’t seem authentic when they use social media, but that couple just seems to be genuinely passionate about food, and it shows in their Facebook posts.”
I want to thank Kathryn for taking the time to talk with me about her opinions on, and experience with, social media.
You can find Kathryn on Twitter at: @kathrynhawkins
You can find Kathryn on LinkedIn at: kathrynhawkins
You Kathryn on Google+ at: Kathryn Hawkins