Social Strategist: Michael Gabriel, Marketing Manager, Envision Creative Group

Three years can be an epoch in the fast-changing world of social media marketing.  Just ask Gabriel, who joined Envision three years ago and opened its social practice, a business that now accounts for half of the package design and branding company’s revenues. “Not too long ago a business could post something on its Facebook page and know that its whole audience was seeing it. Now you’re lucky if five or 10 percent see it,” Gabriel says.

The 2012 University of Texas graduate says he’s fortunate to be a Millennial who grew up with social media. But he pushes those social views percentages up for Envision’s clients the old-fashioned way: with a multi-faceted, dedicated team and lots of research. “Social media is no longer a one-person job,” Gabriel emphasizes. “It’s content marketing now, and a successful plan requires a talented designer and copywriter who understand targeting and budgeting.”

Gabriel begins each planning process with an intensive client meeting that probes perceived brand identity and target markets. Also crucial: what metrics to track. After that, he and his team go into research mode. “It’s our job to tell [clients] — in the social media sphere — whether they’re right or wrong,” he says.

And do they tell them. Envision’s  action plan for Mix-O-Logie, a marketer of blendable perfumes, is a 60-plus-page document that lays out a five-phase strategy to be executed over a nine-month span. A “build” phase introduces the brand and divines the most relevant channels; this leads to the “amplify,” “analyze,” and “expand” phases.  The process included identifying geographic and demographic targets. Additionally, consumer research unearthed no fewer than 27 pieces of audience intelligence to guide content.

“Everything you do on social media has to be verified with actual statistics and feedback,” Gabriel says.  “Engagement has become very difficult on social. You have to know what entertains which people.”

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