Now that the Internet is developing more due to COVID-19, “Social media marketing” in which consumers voluntarily promote companies or products via social media, is drawing a lot of attention. Nowadays, as the number of social media users increases, the general public can also easily market their brands or sponsored products on social media. There are also a number of “social media marketing experts” who specialize in these tasks. The dictionary defines social media marketing as a marketing method and strategy to attract consumers’ attention through social media, but it also conveys the value of a brand and forms fandom through a relationship with customers. CBT reporters met Baek In-hye, a social media marketing expert and CEO of the social media marketing company “Trendnet.” We asked her about social media marketing that will possibly develop endlessly in the future.
Q1. Please introduce yourself briefly.
Nice to meet you. I’m Baek In-hye. I’m living today better than yesterday since I became N-jobler, which means a person who has multiple jobs, many people talk about these days. Social media marketing is my main business, and my extensive experience as an editorial designer is very helpful when making card news or branding. I’m currently a marketer, but also working as a part-time instructor giving lectures about the operation of social media channels. In addition to that, I’m a columnist of the Sports Kyunghyang paper, and Lady Kyunghyang writing under the title of Baek In-hye's SNS Talk Talk. On top of that, I’m the director of the GIN (Global Influencers Network), a consultant at the Seoul Fashion Smart Center, and a Vice-Chairman of Industry-Academic Cooperation at the Korean Hospitality and Tourism Academe. At the end of January, the first book was published where I participated as one of several authors of Hip People, the World of Me. To add one more thing, I will enter a master’s degree course as a Cultural Content Major at Chung-ang University in March, so I will be a student too.
Q2. CBT reporters heard that you started marketing to promote the corporate because you suddenly wanted to work freely while working in the marketing team of corporate. What kind of freedom did you gain by establishing “Trendnet,” a social media marketing company?
The best thing is the freedom to spend time at my discretion. I spent a lot of energy commuting to work, but now I don’t have to take a very crowded subway, and I have the great freedom to work wherever I can set up my laptop. I frequently spend the day working at home, or a pretty coffee shop. Another thing is that when I was employed at my previous job, I often had to force myself to do things I didn’t want to do. On the other hand, I love the freedom of having a choice now. Meeting people and making money can be done entirely on my own terms.
Q3. What kind of work does a social media marketing expert do in particular?
There are countless options. For example, you may work as a marketer for a company’s marketing or promotion team. In my case, I started as a freelancer who runs a company’s brand channel, and now I work with the company’s marketing team staff to coach and consult. If you look at people who are active on social media these days, many people specialize in the content business by steadily creating personalized content.
Q4. Recently, social media “Facebook” has mixed up a lot of promotional posts. As a result, the number of Korean users has decreased a lot. What should we do to prevent these problems in the future?
Because I’m not the CEO of Facebook, I don’t know how to prevent this problem. (laugh) However, the decline in the number of users does not mean that the business has not been successful. In my personal opinion, Facebook is benefiting the most. Each social media channel has its target and marketing direction. Young people would prefer Instagram, but depending on the purpose, companies prefer Facebook to Instagram. Rather than preventing users from decreasing, I think it would be better to use it appropriately. Because the social media channel can vary depending on the target customer.
Q5. Is there any content that you felt was novel and unique?
I remember a toothpaste advertisement. It was like a sad love story between a man and a woman. It wasn’t until the brand logo appeared at the end that I knew it was a toothpaste advertisement. Also, the comments in the advertisement showed positive reactions from customers. There were many comments like, “Please make the next episode of love story. I will buy the toothpaste.” rather than “What? It was an ad after all.” I could feel the power of storytelling. Another fresh concept marketing I saw on Instagram is ‘Kooksoondang,’ a liquor company account. The official account is a regular liquor company, but the Kooksoondang marketer’s private account tells the brand story in the form of an Instagram cartoon. Through this, I was able to access the brand in a fun and friendly way.
Q6. The job of ‘social media marketing expert’ seems to be related only to management and marketing. Is social media marketing important to students who want to get a job in other fields?
I think it is helpful. Marketing is the concern of most companies. Moreover, due to COVID-19, companies that have to deal with customers online cannot market without social media. Even if you get a job in other fields, if you understand social media marketing or you are influencer, the company gives you additional points when evaluating you. It is not only my opinion. When I had sought opinions from various representatives around me, they said companies prefer an employee who is good at using social media.
Q7. Please say something to Chungbuk National University students who are interested in social media marketing.
“Why we have to use social media?” I think the era of asking these questions is over. Social media is an indispensable trend and it will continue in the future, just like every elementary school student’s dream is to be a ‘Youtube creator’ these days. Companies prefer super influencers who are more effective than entertainers. Now, it is a world where people are becoming a brand themselves by steadily exposing their own content, such as their interests and what they can do well. Sometimes, I meet people who want to run a social media channel, but don’t want to expose their faces. You don’t have to expose your face to do social media marketing. We call it ‘Curation.’ If you select one category of interest and keep a variety of information suitable for the field, you can create as many influential channels as you want. For example, if you are interested in beauty, you can post tips, information, reviews of beauty on your channels, like Beauty Playground. Then, followers who are interested in beauty will accumulate and your channels will be activated. For example, people who sing trot music well have as much influence as a popular singer, and I think anyone can be an expert with enough influence even if they are good at only one field they like. I was an extremely calm and ordinary person who only worked and had little interest in other things. However, it is no exaggeration to say that social media, which I started by chance, has become a turning point in my life. Social media, where I started to post delicious food, is now my living and my playground. People, who think they are very ordinary themselves, should know that they can easily be influential super-individuals through social media. However, it is natural that you have to constantly create content and work hard on your own to do so. I think it is important to post consistently because social media doesn’t activate in a short time. If you add wings to it, it would be perfect if you enjoyed a ‘new challenge.’ Don’t spend all your time thinking and planning about what to upload. I recommend you just try it first and make a video. My favorite quote from the late chairman Chung Joo-young is “Hey, have you tried?” Only when you do it, you can see the complementary points and know the direction, because your thoughts are different from reality. I think that ‘action’ is more important than thinking, and I know that accomplishment come out when doing so. Therefore, I think it’s extremely important to try it even if you revise it later. Hence the saying, “To start is half the battle.” I’m sure that someone in Chungbuk National University will say “I was an ordinary person, but I became an extraordinary person after becoming an influencer.” I would like to congratulate him or her in advance.