Digital Digest with Cassie Roma – Create Your Personal Brand

By: Jessica and Gemma 19 Sep, 2017

Welcome to our very first Digital Digest! This is  a new segment on our blog that you can expect to see regularly where we talk to influential people in the digital industry.

This month we chatted to the incredible Cassie Roma. If you haven’t heard of her (I’d be surprised), she is NZME’s General Manager of Content Marketing and she is a valued figure in the industry with her large social media reach and personal blog which details her life in raw images and insightful musings. Cassie was at the helm of social media for Air New Zealand & ANZ previous to NZME, with a wealth of social media and content marketing experience under her belt – she talks to us about her personal brand, her take on content creation and yes – the future.

You’ve got a large reach and unique personal brand, for candidates looking to create their own personal brand – what would you say is the best way of going about this? And what benefit does this bring?

This is a big question to answer in a few lines. In short, creating your personal brand online & being unique is easy: there’s only one of you!

Depending on your personal & professional goals in a very saturated digital and social media ecosystem – you need to define fairly early how you’ll present yourself, who you’ll be talking to, and what you want an audience to take away/do when interacting with you online. B2B, B2C, and beyond are all inherently similar in that you’re a human talking to, and hoping to influence, other humans.

For me, I’m a writer & photographer by trade & by passion – I’m also a woman who is hungry to learn. I’m vulnerable when I need to be, & I’m curious & passionate. I think, if I’m honest, having hunger & passion to continually learn & adapt is the secret sauce of success in any field.

Also, my rule of thumb for the past decade of fumbling my way through social media (and then becoming an expert) is to be careful in what you post. Be yourself, by all means, have your own voice & brand – but act as if your mom or the CEO will see every tweet, every post you send out. And learn to check yourself in that regard to ensure your personal brand goes from strong to stronger.  

I recently came across your blog and saw a running theme by the way you talk about social media – “ I kept talking passionately about community and the returns in the long run.” How does this mindset influence your content creation?

Every single post I’ve ever written, created, or curated on behalf of a brand has been with the end recipient in mind. We sell to people, not to clicks or lists of email addresses. To create great stories that engage & hold an audience is magic. And, it’s not overly complex magic, either. Knowing your audience is easier than ever in our world of insights, but we sometimes overlook creativity and lean on machine learning.

I’m all for clever ads, creative social executions, and for actual heart at the center of community conversations. And, we have to remember that brand is all about the long run. It’s wooing customers & becoming a part of their lives – not the other way around.

I quite often say to my team at work “take off your marketing hat & put on your normal person hat” – ask yourself these questions:

      • Would this resonate with you if you were the key target audience?
      • Does your content tell a story?
      • Is there an emotive or psychological trigger to get someone to act or react to your content?
      • And, most importantly, what benefit is this bringing to the person consuming your content?

What are your thoughts on the emerging trend of social media influencers?

This is another subject I could literally write a novel on. First and foremost, I don’t think influencers are emerging, or a trend. Think of Nike & Michael Jordan. In my mind’s eye I see Mike & his logo. I remember his college colours (white & baby blue), & I see his smiling face. Everyone wanted to be like Mike when I was a kid – and we all wanted to wear his shoes just so a bit of the cool-factor from Michael could rub off on us through our feet. That’s the pull of influence. It’s social currency, it’s tapping into emotions, & it’s corralling popularity in a way that isn’t selling out.  In fact, brands have utilised the power of influencers since time immortal. All that has changed are the platforms. With social media now so saturated with UGC & content from anyone who has a smart phone, more and more people are calling themselves influencers – when they’re not.

The idea of macro influencers & using celebrities as a sweet-fix to drive quick engagement with brands isn’t an idea I buy into. I firmly believe in the power of longevity and a genuine relationship between influencer & brand over time to ensure a truly symbiotic relationship between brand and influencer – not to mention the consumer who needs to believe the message and the people telling stories on behalf of a brand.

When we talk about micro influencers, things start to get really exciting. I do not believe for one second that, just because you may be on the tele or radio or have a YouTube channel, that you’re a good influencer. In fact, micro influencers are the people who really do the hard work when it comes to selling. They’re the WOM (word of mouth) power-house of the digital age, and there’s huge opportunity for brands to work well with micro influencers globally & regionally to create magic.

What channel of social media would you say has the biggest social engagement for NZME and does that correlate with ROI?

I’m actually not the social media guru at NZME! The amazing Tina Moore is. That said, being a media company, powerhouses like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat all play major roles in how we distribute content on our owned platforms. 

How is content marketing delivered at NZME and how does this compare with social media activity?

Content marketing is delivered in the same way we deliver all content – with the audience at the center of every single thing we do. When you think audience first, creative iterations & storylines become easier to identify from a brand perspective. Working alongside amazing creative thinkers, journalists, data specialists & radio content creators helps too when talking about great content! From a delivery & amplification perspective, we build our branded content plans bespoke to the needs of our clients in line with the audience they want to resonate with. The absolute goal of everything we do is relevance. And, we love creating great work that hits the mark.  

With a wealth of social media experience under your belt, what has been the most pivotal lesson you have learnt?

Keep humans, human emotions, and authenticity at the forefront of everything you do. The beauty of social media is that brands not only get to hear from their customers, they also get to interact with them on a human level – tearing down boundaries of the past that existed in expensive, traditional media. If you work empathy, fun, education, and information into your social media strategy you’ll be far, far ahead of the curve. Also, from a personal brand perspective, remember to interact in the way you want to be interacted with. If someone sends you a message, asks a question, or wants to reach out – be there & make the time to reply. The art of social media is the art of socialising. The same rules apply for conversations IRL as conversations online.

How do you think the media in Auckland compares to the rest of the world?

I think we’re creatures of habit in many ways – but we’re also very connected & innovative at the same time. Kiwis definitely use social & digital media differently to people overseas, and that’s okay! I truly believe that some of the most clever, evolving ideas in media in world media come from New Zealand. Comparatively, our smaller population means we’re a great testing ground for large social media platforms as kiwis embrace new & fun trends quickly. From a traditional media perspective, we’re evolving very very quickly. We have to! What an exciting time to be living in, right?

What do you think are the key social media trends that will prevail or emerge in 2018?

Live video. It’ll be powerful, powerful, powerful… more so than it is now. Why? Because large platforms like Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter are already all on board & already evolving the tech to involve more people in more places more often. We’re a bit behind in the NZ Market in utilising live video for brands – but I have a very firm belief that we’ll catch up very soon. Getting the basics right & not being afraid to just jump in and get some learning under our belts will be the way forward. Try out Instagram live. Hop onto Youtube and watch Hannah Hart livestream to her community. You’ll learn something new each time. Promise. 🙂