Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Simon Truscott, PR and social media manager at FIS on driving employee advocacy:

Carlota Pico 0:13
Hi, everyone, I’m Carlota Pico from The Content Mix. And I’m excited to be here today with Simon Truscott, who is PR and Social Media Manager at FIS and has over five years of experience in marketing and communications. Welcome, Simon. And thank you so much for joining us today on The Content Mix.

Simon Truscott 0:31
Hi, thank you very much for having me. It’s great to be here.

Carlota Pico 0:34
The pleasure is ours, Simon. To get this interview started, I’d like to learn a little bit about your background a bit about FIS and how you got into your current role.

Simon Truscott 0:42
Yes, so FIS, first of all, I always explain it, basically we advance the way the world pays banks and invests because we have these three business arms and they basically serve the financial technology world in all these three ways. So that’s basically what they do. Yeah, what I do there is work in the digital side of PR and social so it’s a really good role really, like really enjoy working there and the breadth of it but you said how do I get into it? Basically doing a language degree. So I obviously love Europe and and the culture and France particularly. But for me it was always about, okay, what am I going to do afterwards? What am I passionate about? What can I do? What are my skills, and I don’t actually use my French anymore, which is a shame, right? But I’ve always loved writing things and comprehension and copywriting and that kind of thing. And so I guess marketing was a natural fit for me.

Carlota Pico 1:39
Okay, I said, I would love for you to define what PR means because every single person defines PR in a different way. I used to be in PR myself, I was leading promotional campaigns for countries and for governments worldwide well, mainly in emerging markets, and PR may mean something different to me than it means to you. So for our audience could you define what PR means to you, please?

Simon Truscott 2:03
Yeah. And so my first job was in a PR team at Toyota Europe, in the UK. And I just think that social media and PR are so linked or they should be because it’s all about reputation management, first of all, I think. On a better level, it’s about helping consumers and just the general public and shareholders and everybody, everybody with an interest and everybody without an interest, you know, it’s about helping people to understand what we do, and how it can help them. I think that’s what I see PR as. Its, you know, its defensive, but it’s also kind of offensive where you’re trying to really get the message out there. So in that way, it’s kind of linked with branding and that kind of thing.

Carlota Pico 2:45
Okay, so well, this leads me into my next question. As a PR Social Media Manager for a FinTech company. What kinds of skills do you need to be effective in your role, Simon?

Simon Truscott 2:56
Yeah, so I mentioned copywriting and that sounds like okay, what’s that? Because we have copywriting teams at FIS, and I think a lot of big companies do but basically the skill of being able to put something into words on paper as you can probably tell I’m better at doing it on paper than in words. But yeah, writing down the basics of the message and getting that message across, in a kind of news writing way. So one of my internships when I was younger was with Autocar magazine, and I was told they’re like, no, no scrap this, get rid of that. And, and that was quite harsh, you know, but actually, it was really invaluable to be told how to keep the essence of what you need, and delete the rest. And I think that’s a really good skill, but also, you know, prioritization, stakeholder management, all of these things that we all do in our jobs. And I think one of my best friends actually said something really quite insightful was – You know, 70% of anyone’s job is people management. replying to emails, that’s like, that’s really dull. How can that be true? But actually, if you think about the time you spend on what you love doing and what you’re really good at, it’s only like this proportion. And your job is try and do more and more of what you’re good at. And kind of prioritize and just do more of your skills wherever they are, whether that’s design or writing, or just trying to maximize your time doing those things.

Carlota Pico 4:18
And I do want to zoom into your social media channels. Could you run through your social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, any other channels? And also, I’d like to ask you how you determine success for those social media accounts?

Simon Truscott 4:33
Yes, it’s a good question, because I think social media has come a long way. But basically our accounts at FIS, because we’re a B2B company, our biggest one is actually LinkedIn because obviously it’s professional network. It’s where we see the most growth and the most engagement, but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore those other channels. So yeah, we also have will pay sites so we have FIS and will pay channels, but we do believe in really keeping things as simple as possible. So we don’t have masses of accounts, but we just try and differentiate for each channel in terms of engagement, we do kind of have a metric across all of them, because we feed into PR, and we have to, you know, prove the reach that we’re getting and prove the engagement that we’re getting. For me, it’s always about engagement rates, you know, that magic percentage of how many people actually cared about this content? Because that’s how I can best explain the value that we bring, while all of these people clicked or shared or liked, or whatever it was. So yeah, I would say the big one is that engagement rate, but for being on the PR team, a lot of it is awareness as well. So I think impressions are still important for us. But if nobody cares about what you’re putting out there, then you know, you need to rethink it.

Carlota Pico 5:47
Yeah. Okay. So in terms of goals, you’re looking at engagement, number one, and then number two would also be impressions.

Simon Truscott 5:54
Yeah, I mean, I would put it that way around. It depends on the campaign because people might come to us and we’re trying to always ask them what the purpose is, you know, so why are you putting this out here? You know, we don’t want any tick boxing just okay, put it on social, which in any company that can happen. And we’re always trying to make sure that okay, is this about lead generation? Is this about purely awareness about this new brand image or product? Or is this engagement you want people to actually share their feelings and thoughts? And so those are all different goals that you have to try and it depends the campaigns but overall I would say yeah, engagements and then impressions for me, but it depends.

Carlota Pico 6:30
You’re obviously coming at it from a PR mentality as well, which will affect the goals that you set for your social media accounts. Okay, Simon, what tools do you use monitor your channels?

Simon Truscott 6:41
So we use Sprinklr which is a big and quite powerful social tool, which we’ve kind of done some work to integrate that with PR, so the listening side, and also just the way that we publish and everything in one place, but in the past, I’ve used Hootsuite all sorts of different platforms. All the way back to basic ones, can’t remember the names, but yeah, it’s good to see how things are becoming so integrated and customizable and just answer our needs a lot better these days.

Carlota Pico 7:10
Yeah, definitely. I think technology evolves as social media evolves as well. And so there’s constantly new tools that social media managers can use to listen to their audience better to engage with their audience. Okay, what about the rise of user generated content? How has that impacted your social media approach?

Simon Truscott 7:31
Yeah, so again, I keep framing things in b2b, b2c, because I think for b2b, we’ve done a lot of work with advocacy for employees. So those are kind of our users that generate things internally because we have 55,000 employees globally. So as you can imagine, there’s a lot coming out and a lot being said, and we’re doing a lot of work to try and listen and amplify that, but there’s a long way to go. But I think UGC in my previous job, we would spin things into blogs, you know, someone comes and says, I’ve got 10, Toyota’s and we’re like, oh my god, you’ve got 10. Let’s do a blog about you and your family and why you love Toyota. So that’s the kind of user generated content that we would do there, or maybe collaborate with a photographer or an influencer, that’s doing something really cool on their Instagram. Whereas now, it’s a bit different. But yeah, we really tried to build up those internal advocates.

Carlota Pico 8:26
I love how you’re using your employees as your shining stars, like they are true influencers and brand ambassadors. And it says a lot about how proud employees feel about working at FIS, because if they’re using their own social channels to talk about their work outside of working hours, I mean, it says a lot about the company.

Simon Truscott 8:47
Yeah, I mean, I’d have to apologize if someone internal to marketing came up with it, but I believe that it was generated, this hashtag FISproud and people love it. You know, I was amazed because it just shows how people, they just want to say how proud they are to work here. And it’s a great way of tracking actually, that conversation. But I don’t know if it was somebody just came up with it or it was marketing, but we see that a lot. And it’s a really nice way of seeing on the internal channels as well. We’ve got Yammer internally. So we can see people sharing their morning coffee, now they’re working from home and they’ve got this gorgeous mountain behind them or something and you’re like, ah, I prefer their office.

Carlota Pico 9:29
Sounds like a fantastic company to work for. Okay, in 1997, Bill Gates coined the now trending phrase content is king. Taking it to a social media level, what do you think separates good content from great content on social networks?

Simon Truscott 9:46
Yes, I mean, that’s a great quote. I love these kind of advertising and and entrepreneur quotes, the kind of TED Talk thought leadership stuff and that sort of brings me to, for us, what we feel is is really great content and very rich is when you can amplify your executives or employees or specialists, you know that sort of internal FIS Bill Gates sort of people, and whoever they are within the retail side, or, you know, we had a lady doing a webinar with Vogue business. And that’s really cool collaborations. And what also we’ve done is trying to be really impactful and bold with our visuals and our design. And that’s ever evolving. And I think that separates it from bad or from not so good. But in the past, I’ve done a little bit of work with small businesses just to help them out locally. And what really separates good content for me is, for example, the barber shop that’s near me. He is so passionate about cutting hair you wouldn’t believe and what he does is he puts on his Instagram all of these – Oh I’m so proud of this one and I’m really happy to be doing this and his passion just shines through, and that’s his unique selling point is that he just cares so much. He also has this kind of old school tattooist kind of vibe in there and bringing that kind of – he’s actually Spanish – and bringing that Spanish flavor through in everything that he does is just great, really. So it’s about really letting those things shine through rather than doing things because you feel like you have to. So I think a lot of small businesses are like oh, we have to post on Instagram. Yeah, but do you have anything to say? Oh, no. Well, you know, you need to have something to say or what’s your purpose. You know, it comes back to what we’re trying to achieve here. And I think that separates good from bad also, the kind of net of one size fits all, is something that doesn’t always work. I mean, for awareness campaigns, it can. But one thing I really like is when we do work with paid media, and in my previous role a year ago, I was doing paid budgeting and paid media and that kind of thing and it’s a really powerful tool as well to target those people who really will be interested in to serve content which is going to perform better based on your insights and keep switching it up.

Carlota Pico 12:12
That’s a really great response, Simon. Purpose, I think is something that we all have to keep in mind as marketing and communication professionals. Why we’re doing something, why we’re writing about a certain topic and how we want our audience to engage with our content. Okay. What about negative feedback? So from a theoretical PR point of view, how would you manage customers giving negative social media reviews about your service or product?

Simon Truscott 12:40
Yeah, so I feel pretty well versed in this because of my background in customer services. So I actually had a role as a telephone advisor for the AA with people broken down in Europe, and everybody had a problem basically, and it wasn’t the problem wasn’t with our service. But obviously, it’s a sensitive situation and it could escalate to that. So then in my Toyota job, it was all about responding to customers directly, you know, the social media Community Manager side of things. And I think that’s a really good foundation for a communications career because you’re really at the forefront of understanding, listening to the consumer as a whole and as individuals and everyday you’re managing fires, you’re putting out fires, you’re trying to give people the answers they need. And sometimes in b2c, you can use humor. So I feel like if it’s just a small problem, and it’s been resolved, there’s a lot of emojis, there’s a lot of hey, back on the road, that’s great, no worries, bye. You can be really humorous with that. Then with b2b, I think, you’ve got to be a lot more careful with humor. You’ve got to be really careful in a crisis. Just because of the scale and also because the breadth of different consumers that we have and just be really sensitive to what’s going on in the market. What we would do, I think, in a theoretical situation is, okay, do we need to shut off all communications digitally? Or can we say something? Do we need to put a statement out? And just cross collaboration between the senior press team, the crisis team, just having a finger on the pulse and doing regular updates with what’s unfolding, if anything. Being able to say, hey, is this over now? Is is whatever crisis was happening, is it over? Can we start posting again? What should we post? What should we avoid posting?

Carlota Pico 14:38
Yeah. One of the things that I love to talk about during our interviews is actually the human element of everything that we do. Like regardless of if we work for a b2b company, or we work for a b2c company, it’s always a human conversation, they’ll work with another person on the other side of the screen, and therefore it’s always better really important to keep emotions in mind, because although a company may not have emotions, the person behind the company or the employees that work for that company will definitely have emotions, and they will definitely have opinions. So it’s really important to keep that human level in mind and whatever we do.

Simon Truscott 15:18
Yes. And one thing that speaks to that, at worldpay, we’ve done this big signature piece of content, several years running called the global payments report. And I think in the past, we went, hey, here’s our global payment report. And then lots of people did care because it’s very rich content. But we started pivoting that to actually wondering why the viewer and the customer and the prospect should care about that. And so it’s reframing that message of, “Hey, it’s here.” “Yeah, so what?” to having some really rich insights and data that speak directly to you as a viewer. So, hopefully, if you were to see our global payment report content now, it is much more emotive and direct. And it doesn’t just take itself for granted, you know, all of the stuff that we write is written for the viewer or for the reader. So I think that’s a big switch.

Carlota Pico 16:16
Okay, Simon, we are coming towards the end of our interview. But before we wrap up, I want to pick your brain on what you think the future has in store for us. Companies are expected to spend $120 billion in digital marketing by 2021. So that’s right around the corner. And a big chunk of this will obviously be spent on social networks. So with that in mind, what do you think the future of social media will look like?

Simon Truscott 16:42
Yeah, it’s a really interesting one that obviously we’re watching carefully, but I think in terms of how we spent money on social before, it’s always been okay, let’s put this in paid social which is really important. But actually, I think video for FinTech particularly, can be a really powerful tool and obviously, you need more time invested in it, but also money for production value. We are doing more of that now. And I think we’ll do even more in the future. But also, we’re doing influencer collaborations. And I think, in FinTech and in general for social media, influencer can be a bit of a dirty word. You know, what do they bring apart from their following, you know, but actually, I really believe in it. Because in FinTech, at least those people are chosen because they’re experts and because people care about what they’re saying. So investing in proper collaboration, investing in proper production of video, and investing in talent to help us with all of these things.

Carlota Pico 17:36
I think you bring up a really great point, which is the power of influencers, but not only because of the following of the followers that they have, but also because of their expertise, especially when it comes down to a b2b company, because at the end of the day, what a company wants is to receive content from somebody who knows what they’re talking about, and not so much from somebody who just has a million followers.

Simon Truscott 18:02
Exactly. But it’s also not just about what they know, it’s about how they deliver it. So we’ve done a webinar series recently across the world. And those people are chosen obviously on their following, but also on how their opinions are viewed in their market, and also how personable they are on camera. And we’ve had some really diverse and amazing people join us for that. So that’s been really great.

Carlota Pico 18:28
Okay, moving into our last set of questions, which are basically your recommendations for our audience? I’d like to get the section started off with a similar question. What’s your source of inspiration, Simon? Who do you would admire professionally or do you follow any influencers yourself?

Simon Truscott 18:45
Yeah, I think for me, something that really inspires me, I think it’s really important for anybody to follow their passion, that is separate to work and you can always bring inspiration. And so for me, that’s architecture, design. Something like dzine, a website that I actually allow to send me emails daily, which is crazy because you think how many that is. Sometimes, you know, I just delete it, I’m not interested. But generally I read that every day and it, it has stuff in there from furniture design and you think well what’s the relevance but actually how things are presented and packaged and what their backstory is and it goes all the way down to some advertising campaigns that they highlight with good design and good copies. So that’s a really good way of getting daily inspiration.

Carlota Pico 19:29
Okay, Simon, and our last question of today’s interview will be an event that you’d like to recommend to our audience and what made that event so special?

Simon Truscott 19:39
Yes. So obviously, with us all being stuck at home recently, it was really good that there was this Nudgestock festival, I think it was called, with one of the ex Ogilvy people presenting it and just having really amazing insights from behavioral to commerce to marketing, and just the message basically being that, you know, the right answer isn’t always making sense in terms of data. You know, empirically, this might be what we should do. But actually, sometimes reason is about emotion and about what people respond to just on a basic random level. So that was really interesting. And also some of the future tools that we might expect to see like AI and the way that we can target and that was really cool.

Carlota Pico 20:24
Those were great tips and insights. Simon, thank you so much for joining us on The Content Mix. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and to get a chance to pick your brain on so many different topics.

Simon Truscott 20:34
Thank you so much. I hope that’s been useful.

Carlota Pico 20:36
And to everybody watching us. Thank you so much for joining us on The Content Mix. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out The Content Mix. We’ll be releasing interviews just like this one every week. So keep on tuning in. Thanks again. Have a fabulous weekend and see you next time. Bye.

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