‘The promise of new stories’
Digital Media Specialist Kimberly Longville loves mac and cheese, bulldogs and getting people excited about the power of social media. Before coming to Subject Matter, she worked at Vitamix, where she empathized with the deep love people can have for a blender. Prior to that, at Smucker’s, she promoted the ingredients of America’s favorite sandwich, the PB&J. In other words, she loves to tap into the subjects that get people pumped and enthusiastic — from food to public health and safety to popular entertainers. We talked to Kimberly about the keys to social media success, the one thing that keeps her going and her alternate-reality career.
Subject Matter: What exactly is a “digital media specialist”? And what would surprise people about the work you do?
Kimberly: I develop social media campaigns and digital content that purposefully engage clients’ key audiences. Social media posts, social ads, copy for infographics and blog posts are a few examples of the types of content I plan out and write. People might be surprised at how much effort goes into managing social media and creating digital content for a brand, organization or public figure. It’s not as simple as casually uploading a selfie to Instagram every day. I use careful procedures and set goals. A single social post requires planning, preparation and creativity. Understanding the topics, the platforms and the nuances to succeed in digital spaces is crucial to success. You also should be someone who likes building relationships, is a bit of a geek about social media and web analytics, and adapts easily to change. You have to have stamina and foresight, too. Social media doesn’t often live within the confines of a 9 to 5 job. Social communities don’t go home – or sleep – when you do. This reality has challenged a lot of brands and organizations to build strategies, schedules and staffing around off-hours social community management and marketing.
SM: Before coming to Subject Matter, you worked for several beloved brands. How do your past experiences on the corporate side influence your work for today’s clients?
Kimberly: My previous positions taught me to cultivate lasting relationships and build communities that are loyal and passionate about brands and the values they represent. Working on the development of major brands on social platforms taught me a great deal about what resonates with people and why. I also was able to learn how to build effective processes and focus on customer service. Those skills help me forge strong relationships with Subject Matter’s clients, and also with my teammates across the firm.
SM: What gets you up in the morning?
Kimberly: If we’re being literal: coffee and my fiancé, Matt. But seriously, I wake up excited about the promise of new stories every day. The stories I read in books and articles and create as a part of my work. When I was a child, I loved telling stories at the dinner table, so much that my dad limited me to two sentences each night.
SM: And that’s how you got your start in digital media.
Kimberly: Yes! I think in a way it was. My dad was ahead of his time.
SM: What is your favorite project you’ve done at Subject Matter? Kimberly: Being a part of a team that created social media content to support a series of op-eds by professors and experts at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been my favorite to date. One of the op-eds focused on the conflict in Syria. The authors were passionate about explaining their perspective on the conflict and calling on leaders in the United States to take action. Our team was able to provide guidance on how to increase the reach of the piece and use correlating social posts to reach new audiences. I felt honored to be a part of that effort and to have helped bring more attention to that issue at a pivotal moment.
— JHU Public Health (@JohnsHopkinsSPH) 28 January 2016
SM: If you weren’t working in communications, what would you be doing?
Kimberly: Starting a small business with one of my best friends from high school. We both love entertaining and bringing people together, so I imagine our business would be something to do with food or beverages. Just like it brings our grandmothers joy to gather people around the table for family meals, it makes us happy to invent new dishes or cocktails for our friends and family to enjoy.