Social Media from the Frontline: Sam @VaynerMedia

By Rob McNair


Welcome to the first “Social Media from the Frontline”, a new regular guest blogging spot from mycleveragency.

As much as we love to hear what the big cheese’s have to say and frequently indulge ourselves in the Social Media big wigs blog posts, interviews or videos – we thought it would be a nice diversion to check out the people on ground, those individuals in the “trenches” who are immersed in social day in, day out.

So we’ve lined up some of the industry’s finest to tap into their knowledge at first hand. We ask the same questions each week and they offer up completely different answers. All from the people living and breathing Social right now.

First up is Sam from VaynerMedia.

If you fancy getting involved drop us a tweet @mycleveragency.

NAME: Sam Taggart

COMPANY: VaynerMedia

ROLE: Account Executive

TWITTER: @gosam



A little about myself…

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA (huge Philadelphia sports fan) and lived there until I left for college in 2005. I attended Boston University for my freshman year (where I met one of my best friends and my current employer AJ Vaynerchuk). I then left snow for sunshine, and transferred to the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, where I majored in Communication. I’ve worked at VaynerMedia  – an agency specializing in social media branding – since its inception in May 2009. I personally work with the New York Jets, New Jersey NETS, as well as Cap’n Crunch and another CPG as an account executive. My greatest loves in life are my family & friends, sports, the Phillies, the Internet, and my 21-year-old cat Mikey. And chocolate.

My likes…

Most people would get in lots of trouble if they were caught on Facebook or Twitter while at work. I’d get in trouble for not being on Facebook or Twitter. So, I like that. I like that social media is a new frontier. We are the pioneers, actively molding a new industry and a new way of thinking, each and every day. For me, that’s really exciting. I like that social allows brands and consumers to engage in a way they never were able to before. I like that social allows old friends to stay in touch like they never were able to before… I think social media is the best thing that ever happened to fans of professional sports. It gives us inside access to the extreme, and even gives us the chance to interact one-on-one with our favorite athletes. Too cool!

My dislikes…

I dislike spam. I dislike people and brands that push without ever taking a second to listen to the people that care about them. And what I really dislike is how many people claim to be social media experts, gurus, ninjas, and so on. I try not to drink that haterade, though, so my list of dislikes is short.

My favourite books…

One of my favorites has to be The Thank You Economy, the most recent book by my boss, Gary Vaynerchuk. I’m obviously biased but I also think it’s a really powerful book and worth the read. I’m also a big fan of Malcom Gladwell. Most of my other favorites have to do with sports: Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball, Rick Reilly’s Who’s Your Caddy, and and Buzz Bissinger’s Three Nights in August.

My favourite blogs…

I’m not a big blog reader, to be honest. My daily reading list isn’t all that out there – Mashable, TechCrunch, TechMeme, AllFacebook, etc. I prefer to skim, I prefer the short-form, so my go-to medium is Twitter. On my must-follow list? Fred Wilson, Tristan Walker, Gary V for different aspects of tech. Baratunde for social commentary & satire. Darren Rovell for sports business. Nate Jones for basketball. Eric Stangel for sports satire. I could go on…

Any Social Media tips…

If you’re a brand, I recommend you go where your consumers are and treat social as much more of a listening tool than a push tool. It’s not another press release mechanism, it’s not another email list for you to beat into the ground… So don’t treat it that way! Your consumers are there, telling you (or willing to tell you) what they like, don’t like, want, don’t want. So listen to them! And then go react based on their thoughts. They clicked the ‘like’ button and took the time to tell you something – they care!

Another tip? Drink lots of water! Especially in the summer…

Any Social Media predictions…

This isn’t novel, but I think that community management of social media properties is going to be something we’ll see a lot more brands doing. If you look at most brands’ social media pages, they’re not commenting on fan posts on their Facebook pages and they’re not @replying their followers at a high rate. Next year, I’d expect most brands to have a full-time community manager engaging their butts off. Pretty soon, everyone will be on Facebook and Twitter and will have an established fan base, so the conversation is going to switch from quantity of fans & followers to quality of engagement.

Another shocker, but I’d expect mobile to be a much bigger play next year. The trends are staggering – smartphone usage is skyrocketing – walk down the street or drive on the highway and no one is looking up because they’re too busy texting or tweeting or angry birdsing… If you’re not thinking about a mobile strategy, you’re already late to the game. Next year, you’ll be dead.

BIG thanks to Sam!

We’re a full service social media agency. Check us out on Twitter and hook up on Facebook.

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.