Unsung Heroes - the account manager: Jeraldine Phneah, Socialbakers


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

July 3, 2018 | 6 min read

The Drum's 'Unsung Heroes' series is a celebration of the people in the industry who slog hard behind the limelight for their companies, brands and clients.

As they are seldom in the spotlight for their contribution to the success of campaigns, this is their time to shine.

There are many misconceptions about social media marketing and as an account manager with Socialbakers, it is Jeraldine Phneah's responsibility to educate her clients on the various ways they can use social media to their advantage. She feels its an ongoing process as the digital landscape is constantly evolving.

Why is your job important?

My role is to grow and retain Socialbakers’ existing clients. Doing so involves partnering with brands we work with to help them understand the value of our solution, leverage data to improve their performance and educate them on industry trends (such as Facebook algorithm changes, important metrics to measure etc).

Through using our software and with the support of our team, brands can optimise their organic and paid performance by basing their marketing and ad spend decisions on data and insights, not gut feeling alone.

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They would also be able to reduce the small, repeated tasks that they are doing every day, and manages them at scale. This gives them more time to focus on the more creative and complex challenges they have.

What is the hardest and most stressful part of your job?

The digital landscape is always changing so rapidly. To thrive in high-tech, one cannot remain stagnant and it's important to learn new things to stay ahead.

While it is certainly not easy, I enjoy it very much and thrive in a fast-paced environment. The constant advancements in the platforms and in our solution is a sign that the industry and our company is rapidly growing and evolving, not stagnating.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

There are many aspects about this role that is rewarding.

One of which is seeing the positive impact our software has on clients’ business objectives. We had an Indonesian retail giant whose social media assets grew 352% on Facebook and 378% on Instagram in interactions within a year from making more data-driven decisions.

Another would be when clients are open to learning new things and include that in their workflow and strategy. For instance, many initially believed organic was dead and they would have to adopt a 100% paid strategy. However, after we taught them that this may not be the best way forward given that Facebook ads costs were rising quarter after quarter. In Q4 2017, it rose 43% year-on-year!

After learning how to leverage our AI recommendations to eliminate guesswork when publishing content and promoting it, they were able to reduce their CPC and CPM significantly, gaining much more out of their investment on social ads.

First thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them your job?

They assume I am a data scientist.

How would you correct/explain to them what you do then?

I explain to them about how we add value by helping our clients to understand how to best leverage the data and recommendations our software provides.

We are not just an analytics tool. We are a partner who would help them make the most out of their journey in social media analytics.

Is there anything you want to change in your job?

I hope to have more clients who are hungry; eager to learn and open to technological change. This would definitely help them achieve better reach, engagement and ad efficiency. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Who is someone you want to emulate in your industry?

There are two individuals who I admire in my company.

One is Gabriel Tay, head of professional services at Socialbakers in Asia. He is helpful to all his team mates, dedicated and is able to understand what clients want and how to address their concerns.

Another is Jonathan See. Other than being a top performer globally, he is also humble, responsible, resilient, consistent and empathetic – the key qualities needed to excel in our line of work.

What do you see as the biggest trends in your industry?

Due to Facebook's News Feed changes, we should see brands shifting more towards using social to engage in dialogue with their audience rather than just pushing content at them.

In order to engage their audience meaningfully, brands need to first understand who their audience is. Platforms offer marketers countless ways to target, retarget, segment and analyze their audiences in any way imaginable. They allow marketers to think beyond the obvious segmentation by demographics and step into targeting based on interests and behaviours to deliver more personalised messages.

A lack of personalisation and just producing content for the sake of it will no longer work. It lacks authenticity and relevance, and alienates and annoys the audience.

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be?

I would like to dedicate my time to addressing issues that I care about in society such as elderly poverty; squeezed middle class and environmental issues.

Currently, I am doing this part time through a monthly food distribution program for lower-income residents, blogging to raise awareness about socioeconomic issues that affect Singaporeans and helping to organize the Singapore Eco Film Festival.

If you think of someone who deserves to be part of this series, please get in touch with Shawn Lim and nominate them. You can read the most recent feature, which looks at the role of a TV scriptwriter, here.


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