If anyone is an expert in all things internet, it's Jason Brickhill — the Social Media Manager for The Webby Awards and today's PLANOLEADER. As a longtime web aficionado, Jason's burgeoning career took flight with a game-changing internship at The Webby Awards where he cut his teeth learning the basics of content production. In later years, Jason blended his digital prowess and creative point of view to create his namesake apparel brand. This endeavor sharpened Jason's social media savvy, and soon enough, he landed back at The Webby Awards to spearhead the company's Instagram efforts. Since rejoining the team, Jason's role has evolved, so we spoke with him about the importance of having a strong point of view as a creator and what it takes to make award-winning content in 2018. Read on to meet Jason and for a peek inside The Webby Awards HQ in New York City.
Please introduce yourself!
Hi! I'm Jason Brickhill, Social Media Manager for The Webby Awards by day, designer by night. I've been living in NYC for eight years but am originally from Perth, Australia. Also, I love glitter!
Before The Webby Awards what were you up to professionally, what role did digital play in your job description, and what have been some notable moments throughout your career so far?
Before The Webbys, I was working on my clothing brand. From building my website, creating promotional content, marketing only through Instagram, and selling only online, my entire business is run on the Internet (jasonbrickhill.com). So digital played an enormous role in my job description. I had interned at The Webbys back in 2012 helping with various things, including digital content for the show. When I was asked if I was interested in rejoining the team four years later to help with their Instagram, I jumped at the opportunity! And two years later I was promoted to Social Media Manager.
Tell us more about how The Webby Awards has evolved since its initial inception. How would you say social media (and specifically Instagram) has played a role in these changes and has ultimately influenced the way we look at or "award" digital content and campaigns today?
The Webby Awards evolves along with the Internet—so that is to say, it's evolved and grown a lot since its inception in 1996 (before YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook were even things). Every year The Webbys examines the work being made for the Internet and consults with experts across the industry to make sure we recognize the best and most cutting-edge digital projects out there. In the past few years, we've seen such amazing and creative work being made in podcasts, games, social media, social video, VR, voice apps/assistants... and more. So we have new categories to represent all of that (including one for Best Use of Stories which I am particularly excited about given the incredible ways people are using Instagram Stories now!).
With regard to the Social Media category, what do you think makes a compelling social media campaign in 2018? What advice would you have to smaller or emerging brands who may be looking to ramp up their presence or are interested in entering the awards?
If you take a look at the Webby Winners Gallery on our site (a great source for inspiration in itself), you can see all Webby-winning work by the year, and you'll notice that compelling social media campaigns are the ones that innovate and lead the way, making use of all the new social additions. Airbnb's done some awesome stuff with Facebook Live, IKEA did a fun take on the "Influencer." It's not just larger companies that take home Webbys. All work is judged equally by our diverse judging academy of over 2,000 members. Big or small, if you have really great content that stands out, then it'll get the recognition it deserves.
As the Social Media Manager, what would you say is currently the biggest priority on your to-do list? How much would you say your time is spent creating content around the nominees/winners vs. the awards show and other aspects?
Content, content, content! In addition to the Awards Show, we have the Webby Podcast (currently in Season 4), and we regularly publish editorial pieces spotlighting our Winners. We also work on various projects with the best partners and travel the world presenting #WebbyTalks, our annual thought leadership presentation. My biggest priority is always finding fresh ways to highlight all of the awesome things we do and translating these into social content so our community can follow along! This is in addition to branching off with my own ideas, like my video series "Webby Walks," as well as a new conceptual art project asking a select group of Webby Winners to interpret Prince's 5-Word Speech (and our current Webby Talks theme): "Everything You Think Is True." Creating new content is always on the top of my to-do list which keeps the job fun and exciting.
You seem to have a lot of experience on the production side as well. So for professionals who are just starting in their careers, how would you advise them to put together a content production plan specifically tailored for social media?
Start with knowing your voice. What do you want to say? What is the purpose of the content you want to create? Once you have that locked down, let the ideas flow in! Brainstorming is super important. I always love to get the team in a room and bounce ideas around, whether it be for a project we know is coming up, or something entirely new! Social video is the way to go nowadays and something I am very focused on. One doesn't need to have a big budget (or any) to create a nice piece of video content. You can do A LOT with a smartphone, simple video editing apps, and by making use of the many free resources on the Internet. Just put an idea on paper and build from there. A one-page script can get you a solid two-minute video. Just make sure it's to the point, and something YOU would want to watch.
Based on your expertise, what would you say are your top "must haves" in a social media strategy for brands looking to be successful in the digital age?
- Adaptability! You never know what the big social platforms have up their sleeves, so a good social media strategy should be loose enough to welcome and incorporate any big changes.
- At least one "WOW" element. It's very important to always think outside of the box. I believe a great social media strategy should include at least one "WOW" element that pushes the norms. Think of this as a little experiment. Let your creativity run wild.
- Personality! Every social media strategy should be a clear representation of your brand's voice. Let your personality shine!