ESM Summit: Michael Stoner’s 10 Tips for Smart Social Media


Michael Stoner, a grizzled veteran of social media and online marketing strategy (a description I’m sure he’ll love), provided valuable insights into building a social media campaign that actually has an impact.


After showing three examples of successful campaigns (William & MaryUniversity of Nottingham,Oregon State University), he provided a quick-hit list of 10 tips for building your brand online. Below are 10 quotes (or paraphrased quotes) from his discussion of that list.

  1. “Social media is not about technology … they are tools that allow us to connect to another person. If you don’t focus on the people you’re trying to connect with, if you don’t focus these tools on some sort of engagement, you aren’t going to be successful.”
  2. Interesting things happen all day, but many people miss them and focus on things they think they “need” to do. “See beyond the obvious to find those interesting pieces that don’t catch our attention at first glance.”
  3. Remain skeptical. Focus on what works, not just what people think will work. Remember Second Life?
  4. Experiment. (But only if you follow #3)
  5. “It can’t just be about your social media, your website or print.” Print? Yes, print. Apparently, some people still spend lots and lots of money on print.
  6. Brand: Make it compelling. Tell great stories. Have strong visual creatives.
  7. Focus on all channels. Michael hit on this a few different times, and rightfully so. Too many people isolate their campaigns.
  8. There’s a lot more than Facebook: “Nothing frustrates me more than hearing people talking about Facebook, Facebook, Facebook and ignoring all of the other channels.” Amen! (I have a suspicion that Michael and I could spend a lot of time bashing Facebook together.)
  9. Control your channels: Make your website strong (also responsive, engaging). It’s the heart of your online marketing, and all marketing.
  10. Plan. See: Dwight Eisenhower.

Josh Loftin

Senior Partner at Route 89 Communications

Josh Loftin oversees the marketing and communications for Wasatch Academy, a private college preparatory boarding school in central Utah. He also owns Route 89 Consulting, which assists small businesses, nonprofits and schools with long-range planning, marketing strategy and program development. Josh previously spent nearly 15 years as a political reporter in Utah.