Social Bites: Italian Edition

What’s your name?

Luigi Ferrara

What major social media accounts have you managed?

The biggest sports newspaper in Italy, some very big food and beverage Italian brands, a couple fashion brands, one football team

What were the best things about managing these accounts?

The certainty of always having a reaction: for better or worse there is a big chunk of fanbase to reach, so you can analyze the feedback and work better.

What were the HARDEST things about managing these accounts?

The big audience works both ways: just like there are good and passionate fans, there are also people who wait for you to post in order to insult and criticize. And also explaining the data to people who (often) don’t understand how the whole thing works.

How do you think up your posts?

Of course there’s a schedule that works as a guide, but if anyone in the team (I’m not alone on managing most of the brands) gets a good idea, we try to see what’s the best way to develop it before submitting to the client for approval. Some of them prefer pretty standard, borderline advertorial content, others ask us to be more creative and ironic. The inspiration can come from anything, from today’s trend topics to something we saw on TV or read in a book.

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Were there long approval processes for social content or have you been trusted to pretty much do your own thing?

Sometimes there is an excruciating process and many people to go through, but not every time. There are some brands (luckily for us) that are just content with knowing the guidelines and don’t need to check every single punctuation.

What have some of your most popular posts been, and why do you think they struck such a chord?

I don’t like taking all the credit for a successful post or series of posts. It needs to be shared with the audience. Without their feedback we couldn’t really do our job, they inspire us and give us directions, sometimes unwillingly.

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What have some of your favorite posts been, even if they aren’t necessarily the ones that went “viral”?

This is gonna seem stupid, but lots of my favorites don’t get published because they’re too “edgy” or too much “outside the box” (per other people’s words). Those ones always have a little spot in my heart because I feel like I really put a bit of myself into them.

Has a post ever landed you in hot water? (Tell us ALL the juicy details!)

We’re usually thorough with the approval processes, but hey, we’re humans, so mistakes happen. I translated a word very badly once, and completely changed the sense of a message. So a journalist first noticed it and immediately wrote an email to the brand manager, who in return sent us a fiery reprimand… it all went well at the end, but those were a very hectic couple of days.

What do you wish you knew before you started managing this account that might have made things easier at the beginning?

At the end of it all, we’re not saving lives. Mistakes can happen, you can get in trouble, people can get offended. But (almost) nothing’s irreparable. So do not get anxious every time you push the “publish” button.

What’s your advice for someone starting out in social?

Never stop learning. Don’t ever think you know everything because social changes every day, every hour, every minute. Get a good knowledge basis, learn the fundamentals, then it’s all about trial and error. Experiment a lot and see what works and what doesn’t.

What’s your advice for brand managers to get the best out of their social media managers?

Listen more, collaborate more. You and your SMM are working together to reach a shared goal. The more information you give, the more open you are with each other, the more good ideas will come up.