Social Media's Role in Marketing Efforts: Q&A with Erin Bruehl from Priceline

Lindsey Boyd

Editor's note: Through the Voice of the Khoros Core Q&A series, we highlight the voices, thoughts, and experiences of digital customer engagement innovators using Khoros. Join us to learn expert insights and tips.

Meet Erin Bruehl. Erin is the Brand Promotions and Social Media Lead at Priceline, where she oversees all promotional and social marketing. As a marketer who has been in the field since social media's emergence as a marketing channel, she's developed a keen sense of how social media can help engage existing customers and bring in new leads. Here are some of her insights:

What is your company’s “Social Why”?

[Social media is] a unique avenue to reach and provide value to our current customers and also reach new ones. Social media is one marketing channel that I think is special because people have chosen to follow us organically, so it's a great opportunity for direct interactions with customers, to provide them support and use that feedback to in turn provide them value (giveaways, etc.) and also internalize some of their feedback to help improve our own products and services.

What is the most important thing you've learned over the last year as a digital marketer and how did it change the way you work?

I came to Priceline to lead the social media marketing efforts and over the last year my role has evolved to encompass more promotional efforts for our brand because it became clearer that social media performed best as part of larger digital campaigns. Certainly the form of content/tone/voice on social media is different than it would be in other channels, but to really be successful, it needs to exist as an integrated part of larger brand campaigns and efforts. If you're creating content that only lives on social media, you might see isolated success, but it becomes much harder to build, grow, and determine ROI to inform future campaigns.

For social media marketing to be successful, it needs to be integrated with larger brand campaigns and efforts.

Who is your favorite writer and why?

My favorite writer was always Dave Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize winning sports columnist from The New York Times, and author of many books. I grew up in New York as a passionate sports fan and his column was always a must-read for me. He was there at every major sporting event for decades and covered and wrote about them all in a way that brought out the true passion and emotion that sports evokes in true fans.

We also both graduated from College of the Holy Cross and as a young sportswriter myself back in the day, I called and left a message on his office voicemail to ask if I could meet him for lunch one day. He called me back the next day — even though I was a total stranger — and said he was happy to meet me and let me pick his brain on good writing and great sports moments for hours. He was a truly great person and writer.

What was your first job and why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?

I was a sports writer! I got my Master's degree in journalism from NYU, which instilled in me a true love for writing and reporting (that I still have to this day), and all I wanted to do was write about sports. I loved sports my whole life, from playing to watching to reading about them and started out covering local sports at some of the newspapers in and around New York City.

Then I moved in-house as a senior writer at my last company (covering tennis) and after I'd been there a few years, and social media was starting to grow, I was approached by senior management in marketing about leading our brand's social media channels. It was a tremendous opportunity because no one had ever run social there before.

The opportunity allowed me to discover how transferrable my skills were to specializing in different kinds of content and strategy and that you can tell a story not just through a newspaper article but through your marketing content, campaigns, and analytics. And I've been doing it ever since!

You can tell a story through your marketing content, campaigns, and analytics.

What is your favorite quote or saying and why?

"Don't look back" is my favorite saying. It's so easy to second guess things in the past, from why a campaign didn't work, to things you could have said or done differently either professionally or personally, but truthfully it only holds you back from moving forward if you dwell on it too long.

It is important to reflect on why things did or did not work well, but doing so should be to determine learnings that help you move on — and do even better next time!

How do you see the role of social media as a part of your broader marketing strategy?

We see social as just one important consumer touch point that is a great way to bring new customers to the top of our funnel and is also a direct engagement tool for us to provide content and additional value for our most loyal customers. The value of social media and using engagement tools to drive both lead generation and monetize content for our partners is really important as well, making it an avenue that can drive multiple aspects of our marketing goals.

Social media drives multiple aspects of our marketing goals, including providing valuable content for our most loyal customers and generating new leads.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to or where do you look forward to traveling to the most?

Since I work at a travel company I can easily answer this one! My favorite trip is the one I take with my mom every year. It's not far, it's not exotic, but it's the most meaningful because it's a week we spend together just the two of us. We both live in New York and we take a beach vacation out to the Hamptons on Long Island for a week every summer.

It's a place that has meaning for us — my parents met out there and we'd go there on family vacations when I was a kid — and it allows us to just relax and spend quality time together. It's been over 10 years now and I look forward to it the most out of any trip all year, every year.

What is something you are passionate about?

One of my true life passions is leading a healthy and fit lifestyle. You'll find me in fitness classes, at the gym, or being active in some way almost every day. I was always an athlete but it's really been within the last ten years I discovered all the other positive benefits exercise brought to my life, from energy, to positive mindsets, to an amazing group of forever friends I would never have met otherwise.

I also developed food allergies as an adult and changing my diet brought me back to feeling like myself again. Working out is my favorite way to start the day in particular as it just increases the amount of positivity and energy I bring to work and — I hope — the people around me every day.

What is your favorite thing about working with Khoros?

Honestly, the people! The software is incredibly user friendly and provides so many efficiencies in day-to-day content management as well as the ability to expand our social capabilities into more full-funnel views of our consumers, but it would not be nearly as meaningful without a great support team.

Interested in learning more insights about social media marketing? Download our whitepaper: Social Media Pocket Guide.

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