Morpheus Media’s Jennifer Heinen on How All Media is Becoming Social

Jennifer Heinen is the Associate Director, Social Strategies at Morpheus Media, a full-service provider of interactive marketing solutions to Fortune 500 companies. We recently spoke with her about her current role and recent successful campaigns.

The Makegood: What’s are some of the best parts about your role at Morpheus Media?

JH: One of the best parts about the role is how varied my responsibilities are. Since forming the team nearly 4 years ago, our social offerings have continued to expand. At the end of the day, we work to be the ultimate digital resource for our clients, but if I had to break it down a bit more generally.

Content Strategy & Syndication: Early on, it was about setting up brands on social profiles and helping them develop their brand voice.  Today, this certainly continues to be the case but we’ve really expanded our role to help develop strategies that are specifically tailored to each brand in a way that we can ensure the brand’s social presence is providing value to their community.  This is not just about messaging, but also about building custom applications and tools that really enhance that user experience.

Reporting & Optimization: Without a doubt, measuring the impact of your social media efforts is an ongoing process that is yet to be perfected, but it’s been a huge focus of ours from the beginning.  Working closely with our analytics team we’re focused on providing detailed metrics as well as thoughtful analyses of what these metrics mean to each client.  We’re constantly exploring the best tools and KPIs that allow us to provide some of the most robust reports (with actionable feedback) I’ve seen in the industry.

Education & Training: The space is constantly evolving, so we have a strong focus on educating our brands and their internal teams.  This can range from training an individual on how to use a specific platform to helping brands develop or restructure their social media teams to ensure the most efficient strategy management.

Industry & Emerging Technologies: With so many new tools and user behaviors we take great care to make the social media space more manageable for our clients.  This includes identifying which platforms they should keep an eye on, what the implication of  new tools (such as Google+) are for their brand, and what industry trends the brand should be aware of and/or potentially participate in.  We actually have an emerging technologies team that focuses on identifying industry trends and what they mean for our brands.

The Makegood: How did you become specialized in social media?

JH: It’s really an ongoing process.  As a sociology major, my senior essay focused on “Why the Internet is Changing How We Think” so I’d always been interested in the users’ experiencing with creating and consuming media online.  Figuring out how to navigate the space and how individuals share with one another was a really compelling puzzle for me.

I’d been relatively active back in the AOL and forum days, but really started focusing on online sharing and content 5 to 6 years ago when blogs became such an influential content source.  That, for me, was the beginning of understanding the impact of online platforms for content creation on the individual (as opposed to just mass) level.  From there it was just a natural evolution to better familiarize myself with the plethora of social platforms and sharing tools that emerged.  It definitely requires a willingness to experiment and just start playing around with different tools to see what sticks.

On the brand level there is the need for comprehensive strategic planning but I think that the experimental approach, and the need to constantly adapt is as essential for brands as it is for individuals.  Thankfully, we do a lot of the experimenting for our brands, so it allows us to be a huge resource in easing their transition, or evolution, in the social space.

The Makegood: What would you say is the most promising trend that you have seen in social media marketing?

JH: Recently, it’s become more and more important to be well versed in not just the editorial/content/messaging creation but also the technical aspects, SEO best practices, API integration, custom applications, etc.  Increasingly, as all media becomes social a clean-cut idea of what is “social media” is being blurred dramatically, so we’re really focusing on the bigger picture; from idea generation to conceptualizing new applications it’s about innovation in the digital space and providing the best experience for our brands’ communities.  We do a lot of research and experimentation internally that allows us to ensure our brands are leaders in their industries.  A great advantage I have here at Morpheus is access to experts in every discipline of digital marketing (SEO, paid search, display media, etc.).  This allows us to create completely integrated campaigns that result in a robust, yet seamless, experience for the user wherever they may be interacting with the brand.

A couple trends that have stood out recently include:

Interplay Between Social & Search & Mobile: As the social graph expands, we’re seeing how natural search and social media are increasingly impacting one another.  This is going to have a huge impact on brand discovery, content syndication, etc.  It’s no secret that mobile is changing the digital playing field, and it will only continue to do so in the coming years.  Keeping a close eye on search optimization and mobile opportunities are going to become key for comprehensive social strategy

Social Shopping Sites: A new generation of social bookmarking sites has risen over the past year and it’s changing the way users are curating, and eventually purchasing products.  It’s simultaneously expanding (multiple vendors within one platform) and personalizing (peer to peer recommendations, personal preferences) the online shopping experience.

Custom API integrations: To stand out in the digital space you need to push boundaries.  I think it requires a unique approach where you aren’t looking at a platform for what it is, but instead for the technology that makes it compelling – and focusing in on how you can make that technology work for your brand.  I love seeing brands create custom integrations utilizing technologies that users are already familiar with in a new way.

The Makegood: Can you tell us about a few of the campaigns that you are most proud of this year?

JH: Bergdorf Goodman Shoes About Town: Instagram photos tagged with #BGshoes are aggregated on an interactive map visualizing creatively styled Instagram photos of shoes from Manhattan and around the world.  This campaign also included the re-launch of their Shoe of the Day iPhone app, opening of the new Shoe Salon in store, and launch of the shoe book featuring beautiful John Clang Photography.  I love this one because not only did it build an incredible visualization using the Instagram API, but it also was an impressive combination of online and offline tactics.

Neiman Marcus “Clutch Me if you Can”: Neiman Marcus utilized foursquare to host a nationwide scavenger hunt to celebrate their Shoe & Handbag event.  15 Nancy Gonzalez bags were hidden at Neiman Marcus stores across the country; when a user checked into a winning store they received a final clue as to where in the store they could find the prize.  I like the excitement the campaign drove; it made regional hunts for the bag interesting on the global scale as users followers along on Neiman Marcus’ social profiles.

The Makegood: Thanks, Jennifer.