She’s the ‘Riel’ deal: How Stephanie Riel is using social media to engage with consumers

Stephanie Riel with her dogs Hops (left) and Morice (right). She has been working in the marketing industry since graduating from Arizona State University in 2009. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Riel)

By: Amber Franklin

How do you reach an audience when your company is based online? Scott’s Marketplace community engagement manager, Stephanie Riel, spoke to Public Insight Network Bureau students about how to reach target audiences through online platforms.

Shortly after graduating from Arizona State University in 2009, Riel used the skills she gained from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to pursue a communications career with a concentration in marketing.

Her job is to “engage the community and expand brand awareness” for Scott’s Marketplace, the online retail platform for local businesses. Riel creates organic social media and manages public and media relations and community events and planning.

Her current position at Scott’s Marketplace is relatively new, and she said she is having fun creating what it means to be a community engagement manager.

Riel described a strategy she uses called, “creating personas.” With this strategy, Riel places herself in the shoes of her various demographics within the audience she is trying to reach.

“I try to put myself into these different personas to see how to gauge my audience in the best way possible,” Riel said. “If someone is tweeting at me from Pittsburgh, I’m going to try to use the language they use and connect with them personally.” So, for example, she said she would use the regional slang “yins” instead of “ya’ll” to appeal to consumers in Pittsburgh.

As for her favorite social media platform to engage and reach audiences, the winner was Twitter. The real-time updates and the various ways you can use Twitter professionally and personally give it an upper hand, Riel said.

“Twitter chats are one of the best things you can use (to reach a target audience). You can go into a chat and connect with people that you might not even follow on a topic you are passionate about and interested in,” Riel said. “Also do not DM (direct message) people. Never DM, always use mentions within the Tweet you’re creating.”

Online engagement is something that journalists should use to their advantage.

This type of engagement can make it easier for your community to jump into the conversation if they can’t make it to an event, or give their input on a topic almost immediately. It can also help the journalist do some preliminary research on what interests a community most, or what is important to them.

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