Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Alaric Moras, global social media strategist at Dassault Systèmes, on how to effectively use social media data:

Shaheen Samavati 0:13
Hi, everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Alaric Moras, global social media strategist at Dessault Systèmes, a software company based in France. Thanks so much for joining us Alaric.

Alaric Moras 0:23
Thanks for having me today.

Shaheen Samavati 0:26
Yeah, so you’re joining us from Paris? Is that right?

Alaric Moras 0:30
I am indeed, yes.

Shaheen Samavati 0:33
So maybe you can explain in your own words a bit about yourself and what you do and your company as well, whose name I’m sure I didn’t pronounce correctly.

Alaric Moras 0:43
You almost got it right, you were very close, we’re called Dessault Systèmes. To tell you a little bit about myself, my name is Alaric Moras, I am Indian in my nationality. I grew up in Abu Dhabi though and I was there for about 15 years and then I moved to Mumbai, where I studied English literature for five years. Now I’ve been in Paris for about four years. I started off in Paris by doing my Master’s in international affairs and development, after a degree in English literature. Then I moved on to international communications in an agency where I worked on projects like the Paris Peace Forum by the French President Emmanuel Macron, the current sitting president. I then moved on to one of the agencies clients, Dessault Systèmes, which is my current role and where I’ve been since June 2019. So that’s all about me.

Shaheen Samavati 1:41
Yeah. Awesome. So what was it that attracted you to marketing as a career and social media in particular?

Alaric Moras 1:48
I think that social media marketing and social media communications are two things that are incredibly dynamic and can be incredibly stressful but I like that, because it’s very much something that requires you to be very responsive to how algorithms change. Many people don’t know this, but LinkedIn changes their algorithms sometimes once every two weeks with almost no warning, even though we are in close contact with LinkedIn’s teams, as one of the largest companies and one of the largest software companies in the world. It’s not just LinkedIn, LinkedIn is just one of the social media platforms we manage. I think also what attracted me is that a lot of people think that social media is community management, but community management is just one part of what social media is. So it’s an incredibly stimulating job and more and more, especially as we’re talking about COVID, it takes up so much space, your digital content takes so much space, so you have a finger in every pie basically. You have the right to talk about things that normally you think that social media managers don’t necessarily get involved in, such as larger level corporate and communication strategy. So I find that I’m able to do a bunch of different things in sometimes very stressful environments, and I thoroughly enjoy it.

Shaheen Samavati 3:08
Yeah, how do you think the role of the social media manager has has evolved? You started to touch on that but I definitely agree it’s become much more of a strategic position in any company.

Alaric Moras 3:20
I think that in the beginning, people thought of social media, and many people still do, which is part of the problem and part of the work that I do every day, to get people within the company to realize that this is not actually what our job is about. I think a lot of people often think that social media is an outward channel, you put stuff out, you’re always shouting out, and it’s always about me, myself and I, it’s always like “we’re doing this as a company”, you know. And with the rise of influencer culture that also impacts how people view social media. But when you’re doing social media for a company, you are actually performing a role that requires you on a daily basis to work with really important stakeholders within the company, executive, the crisis communications teams, the director of communications at your company, because you are the first, you were the first rampart, when something happens in the company if they are tagged on social media consistently. Your media loads jump and then you’ve got social media tags and comments flying off the charts. So you need to be very, very sturdy in what you do and you need to be strong in knowing what lines of communication you’ve got to take and what you don’t have to take. It’s not just you shouting out but you want to talk about how it’s you engaging with conversations that involve your brand, that require your brand to be present. It’s knowing what to say when and knowing also every time you say something, how the tables can turn and how there could be backlash. So there is a lot of thought behind it actually.

Shaheen Samavati 5:06
Yeah. So how do you know what to say when? It sounds like it requires a lot of coordination with other members of your team I imagine.

Alaric Moras 5:13
Yes, I would say that large organizations, and many companies in general, even small ones, are not going to be agile when it comes to this. I think that it’s a real uphill battle when you come into work every day, and you say, guess what, we’re here to make sure that your objectives are met and that we defend this company to the hill, but at the same time, we know what to talk about and we know what not to talk about and we have data to prove it. That’s what’s important, I think, and I know you’re going to come to this Shaheen in due time, but I think that data is critical. You cannot convince your stakeholders, if you aren’t coming with facts, if you’re not coming to the table with facts, you’re not going to be heard and you’re not going to be given a seat at the table. So I think that’s incredibly important.

Shaheen Samavati 6:00
Yeah, actually, let’s go to it now. This is a question that comes up a lot, what should people really be looking at, which metrics are the most important for social media?

Alaric Moras 6:09
So I think that there’s always a focus on impressions but impressions are just when people scroll through or scroll past the post, so they’ve seen it on their feed, it’s appeared one way or the other but it doesn’t necessarily indicate engagement – a like, comment, or share. I think engagement is really fascinating to follow. You’ve got numerous levels of engagement, liking is the simplest thing that you’re gonna do, right? On Twitter, you’ve got your re-tweeting, which is the second level. On Twitter, you also have a third level, which is you retweet and you quote, so you comment there. Then on Twitter, again, you’ll have a third or fourth level, which would be that they comment on your original post. So on LinkedIn, if you take out the third level, LinkedIn, Facebook, and all other social media sites, YouTube included, if you take out the third Twitter level that I mentioned, which is the re-tweeting because you know, it’s not necessarily the same, it’s much the same levels of engagement. Your comments are a massive engagement. People often say and in social media, this is such such a dangerous trajectory to take, “someone has commented, let’s just let it be. Let’s just let it pass” – no, if someone has commented it means that this person has engaged with you and your brand, whether negatively or positively, but it is an engagement. You are meant to respond to that engagement. So I think a larger point that I’m trying to make here for anyone who produces content, is don’t ignore people who want to engage with your content. Yes, you have trolls, have the knowledge of how to weed them out and know when not to listen to them. But for the majority of cases, even trolls have something to teach you, even if you’re not going to respond, or you’re just going to delete what they have to say. Know what the message they’re trying to put across is, and I think that is so important. Listen for feedback and that’s not something that everyone does.

Shaheen Samavati 8:07
That actually reminds me of a point and I think a lot of people face this. Is it ever okay to delete a comment?

Alaric Moras 8:12
I would say that there are individuals sometimes, depending on the size of your company and the nature of the job that you do, who are even paid to actually undermine the company and their interest. So at some point, you need to know who these stakeholders are. Again, when you look at the data and you look at, for example, you have a Twitter account with zero followers, zero following, and about 15 comments on different accounts undermining all of them, you know that this is someone who is either a bot or this is someone paid to do it. So again, you need to look into the data, you can’t just make a decision because you don’t like what you see. You need to make a decision based on fact and based on study.

Shaheen Samavati 8:55
Yeah, definitely. I’ve definitely seen the debate come up of, it’s like clearly spam but we can’t delete it. I think within reason you can. You don’t have to respond to every single thing everyone ever writes on your page but of course, when it’s a legit client and if they’re complaining, that’s not ok to delete. It’s better to come with an elequent response and engage, like you said. It’s a chance to make yourself look better in the end.

Alaric Moras 9:28
Yes, exactly.

Shaheen Samavati 9:29
Yeah. Well, could you tell us a bit about what your company does and your day to day role, what it’s like?

Alaric Moras 9:36
So, what we do at Dassault Systèmes is we have a 3D experience platform, which is a one stop solution for large companies to imagine virtual worlds and virtual universes. What this means is that if you’re an architectural firm or an engineering firm or any sort of firm, if you want to streamline processes or if you want to manage your data, you come to us and we tell you how you can get to do that. We provide you with access to our platform to do and imagine any of this. Our clients are across the world, we are very present in the automobile industry, marine and offshore, life sciences especially. So that’s essentially what we do. My day to day is generally me coming into work, sitting down with my editorial calendar, because I write out the posts for all of our social media and I also post this content out. I look at what needs filling, look at blank spaces in the editorial calendar, receive inbound messages from people across the company saying, “Hey, we want to post this on social media, we want to do this, this way” and me telling them, okay I understand. Either we say yes or no. No, because this won’t work on social media we believe and for X, Y & Z reasons, or Yes, but we think that the message should be tweaked and we think that we can use this format instead. So that’s some part of my work. Another part of the work is working with various agencies, event companies, to make sure that social media promotion is streamlined. If we have online events I make sure that the live stream is in fine order. Working with agencies as well to make sure that we produce content. So we have a content agency that works as a content factory for us, so we instruct them. I also manage the person who does community management, which is one part of my job, and I oversee his work and make sure that he’s responding to inbound messages about anything and everything, and how he’s engaging and what is the general sentiment in tone and what is the temperature like with inbound messaging coming in. So that’s generally what my days look like, a lot of meetings also.

Shaheen Samavati 11:49
Yeah. So sounds very multifaceted.

Alaric Moras 11:54
It’s a lot of fun.

Shaheen Samavati 11:55
Yeah. It sounds like it. How many different markets are you guys operating in?

Alaric Moras 12:00
We have offices in more than 40 countries but that doesn’t represent our markets, because we’re literally across the board.

Shaheen Samavati 12:09
All over the world, right? I’m asking because I’m just curious how that impacts your social media strategy, because I think there’s always this debate of like, whether you need to have different pages for different markets and i’m curious if you took more things more global?

Alaric Moras 12:27
So the approach that we’ve taken as a team is as though we are the global social media and corporate social media team. We give our various offices independence in how they create content, as long as they follow certain levels of guidelines, which is to say that your images need to follow our branding, your images shouldn’t be for example, pixelated, etc, your messaging should do this or this line and because they’re obviously posting in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, it makes no sense for us to micromanage them as we believe that kind of chokes them as well. So we let them post whatever they like, as long as the content respects certain guidelines. So that’s how we manage our relationship with our various offices across the world.

Shaheen Samavati 13:21
Yeah, that’s interesting. I’ve definitely seen very different approaches to this and I think it’s something that a lot of companies are still figuring out. It also depends a lot on your particular strategy, your market, your audience, and how you need to engage with them. It sounds like in your case, it’s important to have that local presence.

Alaric Moras 13:39

Shaheen Samavati 13:40
Cool. I wanted to ask if you could share any examples of cool content that you’ve done recently, or at any point in your career, anything you’d like to highlight that was especially innovative or creative.

Alaric Moras 13:55
So I’ll take two different tracks for this. One was something that I did at AUDITOIRE, which is the event communications firm I talked about, where I had actually done my internship and then joined as a member of the team for about a year. I was project head for the Paris Peace Forum, which was essentially initiated by the French president to celebrate the hundred years since the armistace from World War One and it was amazing because I was walking around and you know, Angela Merkel just passes me by and it’s like literally heads of the state. I walked down the corridor and I bumped into Justin Trudeau and there’s no security anywhere. He was like, sorry, and I didn’t know how to respond, I was terrified. I was like am I gonna go to jail now like, what happens when you accidentally bump into a head of state? That was an amazing experience for me because I was very young when that happened. I was 23 and I was producing live content, which means live tweeting and making sure that the photographers and videographers were producing content. I was putting that up non-stop on all of our social media feeds, millions of thousands of people connecting from across the globe. Working with the President’s team to make sure it happens. The UN Secretary General, António Guterres was obviously present as well. That was a brilliant experience for me, because I also studied international affairs and relations. It was very stimulating and to do something like that, at my age, knowing full well that say, for example, I’m not necessarily French but i’m doing this for a French company and managing things was a pleasure. Another fun thing that I’ve been working on more recently, is working on more pedagogical formats and I think that is worth talking about because I always try, as a content creator, to put myself in the shoes of our audience. This is not necessarily always easy, because for example, we work with engineers a lot and they are a large part of our audience and our target audience. We’re trying to produce, diversify and make sure people understand what our company does at a larger level, in French we call this au grand public and this means general public audience. This is not necessarily easy, especially when you work in social media, you have to balance out with what you already have, versus what you want to achieve, then you have to make sure that both sides are kind of happy. So what we’re doing is a series of videos that explains essentially what we do and how we do it in various fields, it could be about how we’re present for electric vehicles, how simulation makes sure that your electric vehicle is the best that you can have. We make sure we’re talking about how COVID can be stopped from being transmitted in classrooms. I’m thinking of people, very passionate individuals, who used our software, to recreate Da Vinci’s models, some of which aren’t actually models that could ever be functional because of laws of physics that were developed and understood more after his time. But these models are still something that people who are passionate about architecture and engineering made and created and they were things that we talked about, and I can link you to those videos. They’re really lovely. They’re a pleasure to watch. They make sure that our audience understands that we aren’t just a company that does a certain thing.

Shaheen Samavati 17:36
Very cool. We’d love to see the links and I can share them with The Content Mix community, it’s always great to see inspiration from from other content marketers. I wanted to ask how you ended up in France, because actually a lot of our audience are international people looking to build their careers in marketing in Europe. So that’s super relevant how you got your foot in the door in France.

Alaric Moras 18:02
So I think it was via my degree, because I come from a school that is also the school that the French President attended. So it’s a high pedigree University and some countries like France are very keen on things like pedigree, especially in terms of schooling, so that was something. Then it was via my internship that they wanted to keep me on. I joined the team as a freelancer, but I was present 20 days out of 21 working days, so more like a full time freelancer, you would say, an intrapreneur. So eventually I did move into a full time contract. That’s the system, it wasn’t easy, but it is possible.

Shaheen Samavati 18:52
Yeah. Cool. I guess agencies are maybe a good place to get a foot in the door because they’re the ones producing and they need a lot of language help. People who have skills in other languages are an opportunity for international people. So I’ll move to the recommendations part of the interview. Could you share with us any source of inspiration?

Alaric Moras 19:18
Sure. So if we’re going to talk about people, I talk about Rokhaya Diallo a lot. She is a French journalist, who has a very strong social media presence. She’s a very loud and proud feminist and she’s also worked in documentaries, etc. She’s known for being very verbal about racial issues, which is a very complicated topic to talk about in France because it’s just not the same context and history as America, with the same issues but not the same context. So the way people discuss it is very, very particular and her way of handling content on social media and her production of content is also something that I really appreciate. So that’s one source of inspiration. Yes.

Shaheen Samavati 20:07
Yeah, great recommendation, i’ll definitely check it out. Do you have a book you would recommend?

Alaric Moras 20:13
So this book is called Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. It’s a book that’s completely changed the way I approach not just my life, but also the world of work. I think that when you work in our profession, which is content management, what often happens with the content management creation is that people come to you and say, hey, so we want this to happen and we want you to do this, and you need to develop this. Some part of our job is that, but some of our job is to say, I don’t think this would actually work and those are hard conversations to have. This book taught me how to have those hard conversations, how to say, guess what, this isn’t personal, this isn’t about you and we want to work with you to make sure that your message comes out there, but maybe not in this way, maybe there’s a different way to do it. This is not always easy but it does require strong leaps of vulnerability, especially when people come with their own agendas, have a really closed mind in how they want to do things. You have to open their minds up and that’s not necessarily the easiest thing to do but this book was definitely something that taught me to do it.

Shaheen Samavati 21:28
Yeah, very cool. Then your favorite software app?

Alaric Moras 21:32
So sprinklr is our go to solution internally and we have a lot of fun with it, which is also what counts. You can do anything you want on sprinklr, right down to creating reports for a specific event, around certain programs, around certain date ranges. Make comparisons week by week, day by day, month per month, semester per semester, year on year, it’s an incredibly useful and strong tool. You have it for editorial as well, in the sense that you can put out content using sprinklr and it’s marvelous, it’s something I love.

Shaheen Samavati 22:12
Yeah, I’m super interested in learning more about sprinklr actually, it keeps coming up in different places so it’s interesting to hear a first hand account on it. Well, so we’re reaching the end of the interview, I just wanted to give you the chance to share any final parting advice with other European marketers?

Alaric Moras 22:30
Yeah. I would say that it is not easy, generally, to convince people of your point of view and when you say that, I think I know what I’m doing because there’s always this top down engagement, especially with communication and marketing. It’s like, do this, make this happen and then it’s like, where are the results, show me the numbers. But the problem is, the show me the numbers bit only comes at the end, at the end of this discussion. I think that what really has helped me as a content marketer and manager is to think of the show me the numbers bit in the beginning, where you say, guess what, I hear you, I know that you want to put this out, I know that you’re thinking of doing this but we’ve tried this before, and you’re at the numbers. Here is what happens when I try it this way. Are you sure you want to go down this route? Are you sure this is what you want to do? We think this could be approached differently because we don’t want to see the same thing happening again, we want you to achieve your objectives. I think that what works as a content marketer is always putting yourself in the shoes of someone else, which demands a lot of empathy but it’s not impossible. Whether it’s your audience, or whether it’s your stakeholders internally or externally. It’s something you need to do consistently, and it’s not something you should be taking lightly. So that is one piece of advice that I’d have.

Shaheen Samavati 24:00
That’s a great piece of advice. Well, thank you so much for for sharing your insights with us and being on the podcast today.

Alaric Moras 24:07
Of course, thanks so much Shaheen. It was a pleasure being with you today.

Shaheen Samavati 24:11
Thanks everybody for listening in. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe check out and keep tuning into the podcast for daily interviews every week day. See you next time.

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