Social Bites: Squishmallows/My Mochi (Elisa Vazquez)

What’s your name?

Elisa Vazquez

What major social media account(s) do you (or did you) manage?

@Squishmallows (previously, mostly Twitter) and currently @mymochi (all channels)

What is the best thing about managing this account? (Can answer for multiple)

For Squishmallows: The best thing was the fan love: stories of how they found a character, related to a bio(s), how they felt seen by the brand/account, and the unending supply of great UGC. It was a true joy to interact with the Squish squad.

Screen Shot of Squishmallows' retweet of a user's post about how much their dog loves Squishmallows; Squish tweet reads, "Feeling fluffy, if you've got a dog who loves Squishmallows, drop your puppy pics below!"

For My Mochi: The freedom to do almost anything; #becausewhatever is a big mood here and that in itself is fun. Our CMO is all about play for this brand, we even have an OF.

What is the HARDEST thing about managing this account?

For Squishmallows: The trolls + internal struggles for product info. I’ve managed small trolled accounts before, but because I put so much of me into the brand, there was a lot of taking things personally.

For My Mochi: Ugh, currently overthinking. My CMO reminds me K.I.S.S. and some days I’m like that meme with all the numbers for reasons of why we should/shouldn’t do this or that. I’m still trying to really “feel” this brand voice. I have more imposter syndrome now than before.

How do you think up your posts?

Squish was my baby, I was lucky enough to create the accounts (TW, FB, IG) from the ground up and was able to test a lot of content as our community grew with us. The voice was part me, part the Squish squad, and a lot of overthinking.

I found inspo from trending/current events, side convos from the team, side convos with myself, other brands, and of course from our community. I also had an amazing agency partner, TGPR, who were a great soundboard for content and who helped manage our channels. I wish I had a fun/cool/smart answer, but it was quite easy.

At Mochi we have a production agency that creates content, so I’m doing a lot more reviewing and updating copy, keeping us joyplayful, and trying to create my own inspo pattern/formula. Read: I am out here just trying to thrive in this panini. :upside_down_face::rofl:

Is there a long approval process for social content or are you trusted to pretty much do your own thing?

Squish was all me, unedited even a year after we were bought by a larger toy company. After major burnout I released the reigns and then an approval process came into play towards my end with the brand. I believe it’s still not extremely tight, but there were quite a few internal roadblocks from various higher-ups who had no business approving the brand content but that wanted to have their hands on the hunny pot. It took almost 2 weeks to get an approved BLM post, and that was a slap in the face for me, the Black employees, and our fans. Some things that should have been easy and no-brainer were WORK to get final approval for.

Screen Shot of a tweet showing the Squishmallows Bill of Rights, which includes that "All Squishmallows stand against racism and support inclusion, justince, equality and human rights"

At mochi it’s very chill, if I’m unsure or want another opinion for a balls joke I can just text or pop into the CMO’s office.

Screen Shot of a My Mochi tweet with a photo of a pile of mochi balls that says, "Balls on balls...on balls on balls...on balls on balls...because, whatever"

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

For Squishmallows: UGC & HQ/show room were always good. People love to have "ownership’"of their brand feeds and I wanted to make that happen. And who doesn’t love a “look behind the curtain,” especially with toys! Limited edition/holiday were the GOATs—plush Halloween/Christmas toys really hit different online. Also memes, specifically Squish Hunt, retailer struggles, or tiptoeing around our shortcomings as a brand. Posts that we called ourselves out or played along we’e always very engaging.

For My Mochi: So far it’s been warehouse & freezer teasers.

I did a reply on TikTok last week that has been one of our best performers and it’s almost annoying. I put almost 0 thought in that reply vs. others that have been storyboarded out…it’s really low-fi and freezer shots vs. highbrow editorial. It really brings me back to early days of social, and I love that.

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

For Squishmallows: I did a lot, a LOT of polls. Not really fun visually, but I loved interacting with the fan feedback and getting to know our fans. There are still some handles I can remember chatting with. I loved to share bios in a thread and see who related, get requests for new bios, or just shoot the s**t. Showing the brand personality/relatability was important to me, I wanted people to remember that there are humans on the other side of the screen and I was really proud of how that mattered to fans.

Screen Shot of Squishmallows Twitter polls about favorite Squads, including Seasonal Squads

For My Mochi: our ambassador content or Wonka Tours. I love a good “how it’s made” and our fans do too. This is less connect and more play, but I’m still learning.

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

For Squishmallows: TEA TIME—I loved to do random “GM except…” posts, and the Twitter audience was usually pretty great about picking up sarcasm, jokes, or our tone. One day I did my thing on the commute in, something like, “GM to everyone except the haters,” and that s**t went wild. (To clarify, it was haters in general.)

Some fans took it personally, even after I clarified. Typically if we had any oopsies, our trusty PR firm kept us on solid ground by not deleting & not apologizing. Most of our bro/collector leadership didn’t understand social nor the brand voice and internal chaos ensued. I was getting emails, calls, & texts from everywhere. Could I have clarified? Oh, I did—and the Internet roasted it, screenshot it, and then stepped in to defend, but too much “potential $$$ loss” brought down the delete & apologize hammer.

Screen Shot of Squishmallows tweet reading, "Well, someone's in our Twitter penalty box now. We sincerely apologize for the Tweets made from our account today. We love and really care about all of our Squish fans!"

That day I was driven to my breaking point and turned in my Twitter keys and resigned a short while after.

For My Mochi: Not yet, but my first 3 months were spent texting my director to make sure my ball jokes or bro humor was ok’d by someone first.

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

For Squishmallows: I wish I would have known to start logging milestones, quirky one-offs, and great branded replies earlier on to refer back to. I wish I would have created a better portfolio or historical archive. I wish that I would have sought out a mentor. I also wish that I would have been in therapy much sooner to deal with trolls and the unseen horrors of community management.

For My Mochi: Not so much social, but I wish I had more content creation under my belt. :rofl::crossed_fingers:

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

Get a therapist, get a mentor, get a burner account, read—anything & everything. Pick your why, and focus on it. Carve out the space that you’d want to exist in and then let people come to you. Be ready to fail even when all signs point to success, and be ready to advocate for yourself at all times. And be STINGY with your boundaries and vacation, take your goddamn PTO! (I’ll add more to my book someday…)

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

Become besties—share outside content, strategy docs, planners, KPIs, big goals, etc. Really be a team and stay talking. If you’re on an island, reach out. Encourage/ask how best to get social with the brand, provide feedback only after really thinking about it. Yes, everyone is capable of creating something and posting it, but that doesn’t mean you need to mansplain your SMM their job…SMMs do a lot of ego massaging for unsolicited advice from everyone. At the very least, have an “Unhappy Hour” to vent & connect in new ways. (I am besties with a Squish BM and it made our jobs so much better once we became friends!)

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OMG Elisa! I so feel you on the trolls and needing a mentor. You just became my social media hero for the month. Great content, honest and deep insight and lots of self reflection. I truly appreciate you sharing your experience with our social media management community. :heart_eyes:

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