Happy Friday all!
For those of you that are fans of the show Scandal, I hope your blood pressure levels have returned to normal after last night’s episode.
Today’s Millennial on a Mission feature is truly a social media rock star. I’ve had the pleasure of following him on Twitter for quite sometime, and it’s been awesome to see how he utilizes the platform in order to effectively build online relationships. His passion for connecting with people, in conjunction with his interest in emerging technologies has yielded amazing professional opportunities, and he continues to inspire millennials like myself daily with his knowledge of the ever-evolving social media space. And as the Social Media Manager for 16 Handles, it’s pretty awesome that he’s got an all-access pass to delicious frozen yogurt (How cool is that?!)
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Adam Britten.
A native of Novi, Michigan, Adam has lived on three different continents in the past three years, with plans to continue to move all around the world. He obtained a Bachelors of Science in Marketing Management from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, and he holds a Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School in London. “College was a very invigorating period of time for me, as it was when social media was becoming ‘hot’,” Adam says. “I was invited to be one of the first students on Syracuse’s social media team and we were ranked by Klout as the number two college on social media, in between Harvard and Stanford. This is when I realized that social media was something that I could make a career out of.”
On what inspired him to focus his career on social media, branding and digital marketing:
I was lucky enough to have some great mentors as I started my career. Syracuse was a sort of “breeding ground” for social media professionals, as the staff & faculty at the iSchool made every effort to make sure that Syracuse was known for excelling at social media. Specifically, Anthony Rotolo & Kelly Lux gave me a lot of support and guidance. But personally, I love new & emerging technologies, and I love talking to people. Working in social media allows me to combine these. The internet and social media allow millennials to break boundaries. Previously, networking was all about who you were introduced to based on events you attended, personal connections you had through friends & family, and what school you went to. I’ve been able to digitally “network” with executives that I wouldn’t have been able to meet had it not been for Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social channels. Once I communicated with these people online, I was able to comfortably meet them offline, and some of these relationships have lead to job offers. And the fact that it’s really easy to put yourself out there (either on Twitter, or by starting a blog or YouTube channel, or by creating a personal website,) you can show hiring managers so much more than you can on a cover letter.
As someone who works outside of “typical” 9-5 office hours, Adam has had many great successes where he responds to a customer at an odd hour and help them with something, which really sets the companies he works for apart. For instance, a customer that couldn’t leave her apartment because she was sick had tweeted a Friday at 10pm that she wished 16 Handles delivered. Lucky for her, the store closest to her apartment delivered but at the time, their phone wasn’t working. “After making a few calls to the District Manager, who then called Verizon to fix the phone service, I suggested that she call the store again, and a short while later she tweeted a picture of her yogurt and said it was the best customer service she had also received,” Adam says. “It’s moments like that where I feel like I’m really making our customers fall in love with 16 Handles.” Conversely, Adam does realize that being a Social Media Manager does require him to be “always be on”, so he is making a conscious effort to disconnect from Facebook, Twitter and email as he gears up for his vacation in a few weeks.
On how brands, companies and organizations can build a relationship (and trust) with their customers via social media:
Social media is another way our brand can stand out. At 16 Handles, we aim to be innovative, and that’s not just about the flavors of yogurt that we serve, it’s a cross-company initiative. That’s why I push our company towards new concepts; as an example, we were the first brand in the world to use the photosharing app Snapchat for a marketing purpose. This got covered by Mashable, Ad Age, Wired, and several other prominent tech and marketing blogs. On a more consumer-focused level, our guests absolutely love when we respond to their tweets. They feel like they are taking to a friend when they talk to 16 Handles, and that makes them feel more comfortable when they visit our stores. I think that in order to build trust with their customers, businesses need to treat them like people. A great example of this is Chipotle. When I was in grad school in London, I tweeted that I missed Chipotle. They quickly responded asking when I’d be back in the states, and said they hoped grad school was well. The fact that they connected to me personally and remembered those details about me made me feel like Chipotle cared about me as an individual, and not just as a customer.
To Adam, being a millennial on a mission is all about proving that our generation is much more hardworking an ambitious than people think we are. “Many of my peers are incredibly passionate people who work far more than 40 hours a week and are devoting some of the best years of their life to their career,” he says. “Once we are at an age and a position to take on leadership roles, I think that we will prove to a lot of people that we are just as talented and dedicated as past generations.” With ambitions of becoming CEO of Disney in the future, Adam strives to achieve his dreams by not only working as hard as he can at his job, but also for himself. “I manage my own blog,TheDigitalCareerist.com, in an effort to add to my online brand. I also make a serious effort outside of work to advance the skills that I think will help my career grow more quickly.”
If he could offer one piece of advice to young professionals working in the world of communications, it would be to dive right in. “Starting a blog or having an active Twitter account is a great way to stand out, but many young professionals think that they have nothing of value to say on these platforms.” Adam says that this could not be further from the truth. He believes that it’s important for millennials to be authentic, show interest in their field and not to be afraid to put themselves out there. “The internet is a fantastic equalizer where we all have the same opportunities to stand out. Take advantage of it!”