Image of coffee mug with headshot of Arik Hanson and Bellmont Partners and Arik Hanson Social Media company logos

What’s Brewing: Arik Hanson

Recent­ly, I had the chance to sit down and talk all things social with Arik Han­son, an expert in the field and good friend of Bell­mont Part­ners. As a self-described social media nerd myself, the con­ver­sa­tion focused on trends, impor­tant things for brands to remem­ber and what every­one should stop doing on social media. Here’s What’s Brew­ing with Arik Han­son and the world of social.

Arik’s start and background

Like many of us in social media, Arik fell into it. While work­ing full time as a com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sul­tant, he start­ed blog­ging out of curios­i­ty. And curios­i­ty is what even­tu­al­ly led him to social media. With the rise of Twit­ter and how clear it was that social media was here to stay, Arik’s curios­i­ty about that side of the mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions world is how he found him­self jump­ing in. Now over two decades lat­er, Arik con­tin­ues to be a trust­ed expert for mid-sized and large com­pa­nies across the country.

We asked Arik a big ques­tion – what’s brewing?

“I’m about halfway through the semes­ter teach­ing social media at the Uni­ver­si­ty of St. Thomas,” he said. “I’ve been teach­ing this class now for four years and it’s just as fun as the first year I taught it. I’m also real­ly busy on the busi­ness side of things—I’m work­ing on a cou­ple social media audits at the moment and start­ing a big coach­ing engage­ment with one of the larg­er com­pa­nies in the Twin Cities. All in addi­tion to the five retain­er clients I work with every month! Final­ly, I have a cou­ple big speak­ing engage­ments com­ing up. One I’m par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ed about is the reboot of Social Media Break­fast! I’ll be talk­ing about social media trends at the first SMB event since the pan­dem­ic on April 14 at Improv­ing in north­east Minneapolis.”

What makes social media exciting?

“It’s con­stant­ly chang­ing and evolv­ing,” says Arik. “There’s always some­thing new – you have to con­stant­ly be learn­ing and evolv­ing which is, in and of itself, what makes work­ing in social media so exciting.”

Speak­ing of chang­ing, how do you stay on top of what’s “in” and what’s “out?”

“No one keeps track of it all, so don’t feel bad about not keep­ing up with it all,” Arik says. Com­pared to years pri­or, there are few­er peo­ple talk­ing about trends in social and offer­ing thought lead­er­ship. “Everyone’s busy doing the work,” says Arik.

Despite the lim­it­ed resources out there, there are a few stand­out orga­ni­za­tions that Arik fol­lows, in par­tic­u­lar Social Media Today and Social Media Exam­in­er.

Over­all, it’s impor­tant to stay on top of the trends but don’t feel like you have to spend con­sid­er­able time scour­ing the inter­net. Accord­ing to Arik, there’s sim­ply so much infor­ma­tion out there and not all of it is worth­while. Acknowl­edge the things you are read­ing but com­bine them with what you’re see­ing in your own work – you know your brand and audi­ence best.

It feels like we’re con­stant­ly being told to do a thou­sand things on social in order to be suc­cess­ful. But let’s be real — what should brands stop doing on social?

Arik’s imme­di­ate answer to this was quick. “Hol­i­day posts,” he said. “You’re wast­ing valu­able time and resources at a time when social media peo­ple are very stretched. No one real­ly cares.” While cer­tain hol­i­days may tie into your busi­ness or make sense to post about, say, if you’ll be closed or if you hold an event relat­ed to a cer­tain hol­i­day, but for the most part leave these out of your strategy.

Sim­ply put – no brand needs to post 30–40 times each month. “You’ll get impres­sions, sure, but at what cost?” Arik asks. “You’re gonna kill your social media team. Impres­sions just to get impres­sions is not real­ly help­ing,” he says. The need to post often is a com­mon misconception.

Along those same lines – there’s no need to be on every social media plat­form. Pri­or­i­tize the places where you’re see­ing the most progress, effec­tive­ness and efficiency.

Teams are stretched thin. Often­times we’re see­ing brands that have one per­son man­ag­ing social media and some­times that per­son has oth­er projects under their umbrel­la. Pri­or­i­tiz­ing chan­nels and con­tent helps every­one keep their head above water.

What advice does Arik have for social media man­agers and the peo­ple man­ag­ing the social media managers?

“We’re all in the same boat – we all have days when we don’t feel like doing it any­more. It’s impor­tant to shut off,” Arik says. “When you’re done with your job, don’t feel bad about not doing it at night.”

Step­ping away is a com­mon theme that’s come up not only in this con­ver­sa­tion, but in con­ver­sa­tions among social media man­agers across the board. It can be over­whelm­ing to be the per­son tak­ing the brunt of everyone’s unfil­tered thoughts about a brand and being on all the time. Give your­self per­mis­sion and grace to turn it off.

Per­son­al­ly, Arik him­self has stepped away from social media. Oth­er than Twit­ter and LinkedIn and the occa­sion­al hol­i­day post, Arik knew how impor­tant it was to allow him­self to unplug.

And to those get­ting into the world of work­ing in social?

“You have to know how social media fits with the busi­ness,” Arik says. “Even at a mid­size com­pa­ny, social media touch­es mar­ket­ing, PR, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the prod­uct team, HR when recruit­ing, cus­tomer ser­vice – it touch­es every­thing.” It’s going to take some time to learn the needs of each depart­ment and how social media works with them, but it’s an impor­tant piece to being a suc­cess­ful social media manager.

There is so much going on in the world of social media, and our con­ver­sa­tion could have eas­i­ly gone on. Hav­ing gone from being a forum where peo­ple post­ed about what they had for lunch to becom­ing an incred­i­bly pow­er­ful tool for brands to con­nect with audi­ences and grow their busi­ness, social media con­tin­ues to evolve and we are excit­ed we get to help our clients nav­i­gate it.

You can learn more about Arik and his work on his web­site or his LinkedIn!

1 Response

Leave a Reply