darb hogan social media success

Unveiling the Secrets of Social Media Success with Darby Hogan

In the fast-paced world of social media, gaining insights from experienced professionals is invaluable for brands striving to stay ahead of the curve. We were fortunate to have a pre-event conversation with Darby Hogan, the Head of Social Media & Community for Wonderbelly and former Senior Social Media Manager at Liquid I.V., as she prepares to speak at the highly anticipated Social Media Strategies Summit (SMSS) panel titled “The ‘Creative Desert’: Brainstorming Social Content Ideas During Slow Days.”

From the importance of aligning social media campaigns with broader company goals to the art of balancing creativity with brand consistency, Darby provides valuable insights that will inspire and guide both seasoned professionals and aspiring social media managers.

So, before she takes the stage at SMSS, let’s dive into our interview with Darby Hogan and discover the secrets behind her social media success.

How did you get started in social media management, and what led you to Liquid I.V.?

I began my career in social media at THINX Inc. back in 2017. I was working on their Customer Support team but was handling all community management on Facebook + Instagram. I fell in love with the way I was able to interact with the super engaged community they had at THINX and began exploring other parts of social media management. From there, I continued my career in social as a coordinator and then social media manager at Four Sigmatic. I learned a ton there and also began working on some freelance content creation projects on the side. I discovered that I really enjoyed working in the health & wellness space for DTC brands and that’s when I discovered Liquid I.V.!

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest social media trends and changes, and how do you incorporate them into your strategy?

I always say scrolling is research, because it really is! Being a consumer and social user myself has helped a ton with trend discoverability. Other than being “on” the platforms I manage, I think it’s so valuable to be a part of a social media management community or marketing group on Facebook or LinkedIn. I’ve learned a ton from other social media professionals in Facebook groups like Social Media Marketing For Female Creatives & Entrepreneurs or Women in Marketing. Another great tool is to follow pages on LinkedIn or sign up for newsletters that deliver the latest social media news and platform updates. Some great ones are Social Media Today, LLC and Girl Power Marketing.

Changes to social platforms or algorithms are important to incorporate into your strategy ASAP to ensure you’re maximizing your reach on the content you’re posting. If I read news on a platform update and am able to fact-check that it’s real, I shift our channel strategy pretty quickly to adapt. In regards to trends, I would say half the challenge of being a social manager is deciding whether it’s appropriate or on-brand for your brand’s accounts to jump on a trend. Once I determine if it’s fitting for our brand to jump on the trend, I usually make sure to do so within 24 hours of seeing the trend gain traction.

How does Liquid I.V. prioritize social media channels, and which platforms have been most effective for reaching and engaging with customers?

TikTok is a huge priority. LIV has seen a ton of success on that channel and has been laser-focused on developing an engaged community and always-on strategy there. With that said, you never want to lose the already engaged community you have, so Instagram and Facebook are still a large priority as well.

When setting KPIs and goals for social media campaigns, what do you consider to be the most important factors to keep in mind, and how do you ensure that your posts align with those goals?

I would say the centerpoint of any social strategy for campaigns or just in general is community building/ community engagement. To measure the success of any social campaign, it’s important to look at engagement rate, follower growth and reach but equally as important to analyze community feedback and sentiment. All posts that are a part of your campaign should have a clear CTA (call to action) for your community to engage. Something we’ve been testing at LIV is turning pieces of community engagement (a funny tweet, comment, etc.) into content. This highlights your audience’s opinions and the engagement on these pieces of content tends to be higher.

How do you review data and performance on previous social media posts, and how do you incorporate that feedback into future campaigns?

At every company I’ve worked for, we have sunset meetings to report on the previous month’s performance. Coming to that meeting with numbers and inferences on why we think certain pieces of content over-performed or under-performed is super helpful. My social team at LIV reviews performance weekly, and we review monthly performance with the wider marketing team monthly. We have a full section in our reporting deck dedicated to optimizations for the month ahead, we take feedback from the larger team and come with our own learnings to set the tone for future campaigns.

How do you balance the need for creativity with the need to stay on-brand and consistent in your social media content?

Balance is key. The biggest challenge a social media manager faces is deciding when to jump on trends or test a new piece of content. You want to make sure it feels authentic for your brand to enter the chat. Reporting on a weekly and monthly cadence is helpful when you’re testing new forms of content; you can evaluate and optimize based on the numbers and community sentiment. Sometimes a post that seems off-brand could surprise you and do really well because it’s not like your regularly scheduled content and your community appreciates some scroll-stopping surprises every now and then! I find that scattering those out-of-the-box posts throughout your content calendar is best; in case the post doesn’t perform well for your brand, it won’t hurt performance for the month.

How do you manage and prioritize multiple ideas generated during brainstorming sessions, and how do you decide which ideas to pursue further?

Everyone always has a ton of ideas for social which is so welcomed but it’s important to remember that as the social manager, you know your online community best and you know what will resonate with them + what won’t. Referencing past data or performance has been really helpful when deciding which ideas to activate and which to pass on but maybe revisit for different campaigns in the future. Looking at data also helps inform which ideas will move the needle the most for reaching your social goals.

How do you collaborate with other departments within Liquid I.V., such as product development or customer service, to ensure that your social media campaigns align with broader company goals and initiatives?

I have weekly one-on-one meetings with each channel lead to ensure that all messaging is cohesive for everything we’re posting. Often we utilize social as a tool for amplification of projects other teams are working on whether it be an article mention, launching in a new retailer, or popping up for an activation in a local city. Working with those teams on their goal for the project they’re working on and then putting a social spin on the content we post to promote it has been our process at LIV. In addition to promotion of projects, we have a number of core company values that I’ve baked into the content pillars for our social strategy.

Darby’s success lies in her ability to align social media campaigns with broader company objectives, effectively incorporating the latest trends, and striking the delicate balance between creativity and brand consistency. Her practical advice and real-world experiences will empower professionals to refine their strategies and achieve remarkable results.

Hear more of Darby Hogan’s advice and social media experiences when she speaks at the Social Media Strategies Summit on June 14.

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