Social Media Expert Interview with Erik Johnson

On March 23rd, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Erik Johnson (@erikj). Erik is the Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media for ClubCorp. He has been in this role for over three years now. Erik holds a BA in Journalism and an MBA in Marketing from Southern Methodist University. He began his career as a journalist, but it is his MBA that helped him enter the field; first building websites, then entering digital marketing, then social media. He admits he did not envision his career heading this direction.

Erik leads the digital marketing team of ten at the ClubCorp headquarters in Dallas, Texas. He and his team assist and train over 200 business and golf & country clubs in the ClubCorp family. On a day-to-day basis, the digital marketing team at ClubCorp provides tools and training, as well as social media consulting, for the individuals that manage social media at each club. The team’s goals are to implement a center of excellence that helps the clubs’ employees become competent with using social media and the other marketing tools available through ClubCorp. The individuals at each club are not expected to be experts in marketing, but they are in charge of being responsive, engaging, and professional on social media. Erik’s favorite part of his job is working with various people across the country because they are grateful for the knowledge the team provides. The hardest parts of his role, Erik says, are dealing with negative posts and resistance. Some people have a hard time adapting and evolving with customers in the digital age and aren’t keen on using social media at their club. But, everyone must take the good with the bad.

Erik says his entire job is interesting. He gets to travel to different clubs to discuss social media, as well try new things every day. There are over 200 clubs for his team to test different campaigns and social media tactics. What works in Seattle clubs won’t necessarily work with the clubs in Florida. It’s all about how social media impacts and resonates with the ClubCorp members. Erik enjoys working with social media because it is ever-changing and never mundane. It is also one of the few industries that encourages lifelong learning. Personally, he is very active on social media. He insists it is a must; you have to be on social media if you want to work in the industry – how else will you understand, learn, and grow? Erik recommends reading and staying active on various platforms as the key to staying “ahead of the curve.” Follow and interact with other social media and digital marketing people to build your network. When it comes to making his own content better, Erik utilizes Flipboard, Google Alerts, Hootsuite, and Facebook & Twitter analytics. He also recommends reading these blogs: Switch & Shift, Content Marketing Institute, ReadWrite, and Copyblogger. And he recommends following these influencers:

When I asked Erik about his social media tricks, he told me that he simply didn’t have any: “On social media, we don’t keep secrets, we help each other.” He also stated that the social media industry is so young that we are all figuring it out together – and I agree! Twitter is Erik’s favorite social media platform for personal use. Through Twitter, Erik connects with fellow wine lovers, but also leadership & innovation groups. Finding common interests and connecting with people is his favorite – it makes social media human. For businesses that use social media, he stands by Facebook as the way to go.

Lastly, I asked Erik if he had any advice for aspiring social media professionals, like myself. He had 3 points:

  1. Be well-rounded
  2. Don’t just focus on social media. Understand how it fits into the wider scheme of things, like the business goals and marketing plan
  3. Quantify your results, with numbers or testimonials.

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