Interview to Kelly Hungerford, Community and Social Media Manager at Paper.li

Today we open a new section in this blog. It will consist of a series of interviews to Social Media professionals working in Switzerland, comprising community managers, social media managers, content strategists, SEO/SEM managers, etc. It is the interviewee the one that decides who will be the next person to interview, making in this way a chain of Social Media professionals.

And to start with, today I have the honor to interview Kelly Hungerford (@kdhungerford), Community and Social Media Manager at Paper.li. Based in Lausanne, Paper.li is a content curation service. It enables people to publish newspapers based on topics they like and treat their readers to fresh news, daily.

Hi Kelly. How would you define yourself in just one tweet?

Down to earth, optimistic, altruistic Californian. Passionate about people. Common sense thinker. Mom of 2, married to @jdevoo. Verbose.

You’ve grown up in Northern California practicing surfing. Lake Geneva is beautiful but there aren’t many waves. What made you change the Pacific coast for Lake Geneva?

Originally I traded the waves of California for the Deutsche Bank IT center near Frankfurt Germany. I was organizing windsurfing regattas when I received an offer to work on a multi-million dollar ATM project as a project assistant for 3Com. I expected the contract only to last 12 months and if anyone had told me at that point I would spend the next 16 years overseas it’s possible I wouldn’t have taken the contract.

At that point in my career I wanted to remain in the windsurfing and snowboarding retail sector.  Accepting the position as Project Assistant for a Networking project was a departure from what I truly loved doing. But it was also a great opportunity to explore a new country, learn a new culture and at that time and work for a Silicon Valley leader, so I took it.

After a couple of months I was quickly moved from Project Management to a client-facing role in Sales. It was a position where I could leverage what I do best; listen and sell through relationship building and I loved it enough to stay past longer than 12 months.

The experience taught me three valuable lessons

  1. There is something to be said for not being able to predict the future, so don’t try. Great things come from change so make a point to move out of your comfort zone and take a new opportunity.
  2. If you are passionate about something, that passion will always find a place in what you are doing to set you apart and give you an advantage.
  3. Everything I needed to know about marketing and sales I learned while working in retail: customer is (always) King and in order to sell, you need to stop selling! Listen, educate and serve – and the sale will come.

I believe this applies more than ever today as companies are scrambling to “understand” their customer. Web 1.0 put an enormous wall between the end-user and marketing and sales.

After years of using technology to build walls between the customer and the company it is great to see technology and more specifically, social media, being leveraged to bring the company closer to the customer, or user, and to de-commission those walls.

To answer your question of what brought me to lake Geneva – it was my kids! My husband is a French speaker and we wanted our children to speak the language. I really wanted to go to France, but her received a job offer in Switzerland and 7 years later we’re still here!

You have worked in the USA, Germany, Czech Republic and now Switzerland. Are we as different as stereotypes suggest?

It is never a good thing to generalize, but I would say yes, culturally we are as different as our stereotypes suggest and this is a great thing! When stereotypes begin to disappear, we’re all in trouble because we will be losing a part of our unique selling proposition as individuals — and nations.

I see stereotypes as a positive tool to help us communicate better both personally and professionally. For example with English as a common working language it is really easy to be fooled into thinking that because we can all communicate in English, that we are “speaking the same language” and therefore we are all on the same page and we understand one another.

Loosely considering stereotypes helps me to better craft solutions that can work for a majority but tailor to individual needs and I always love discovering the person past the stereotype. It reminds me that we are all unique and special.

What are your interests in life?

My family, friends, cooking and the great outdoors! Growing up in California we spent all of our spare time outside. Vacations were spent with friends and family snow skiing in the winter and water skiing and camping in the summer.

Living at the base of the Alps in Switzerland on a Lac Léman is fantastic. I am personally happiest when I am spending time with my husband and kids discovering what the surrounding area has to offer or cooking it up with friends. I really enjoy cooking with friends and experimenting with new recipes to mix and match the best of European and Californian cuisine.

Are you a “socialholic”? Do you tweet, pin, like, blog, on a 24/7 basis?

I don’t and, in fact, my weekends and evenings are tweet free. I really enjoy the engagement and interaction and in a way I am a “socialholic” but in a very pre Facebook and Twitter kind of way. I am addicted to person-to-person socializing and I take every opportunity I can to take my social media conversations offline to a person-to-person meet-up.  It is so fun to meet the people behind the avatars.

Let’s talk a little bit about your work. Could you give us a 30-seconds introduction to Paper.li?

Simply said, Paper.li is curation service that enables individuals to become Editor-in-Chief of their own news site and easily publish social media content into interactive newspapers for their readers to enjoy.

But what’s the value in that? On a personal level it is a great service to help you more easily stay abreast of topics of interest. We consolidate content from across the web into one place making it easy to keep an overview.

For businesses or marketers it is a powerful way to monitor a niche or industry with the most compelling value proposition being how Paper.li helps build community. I hear from our publishers time and time again about how Paper.li is helping them connect and engage the right following.

And in a much broader sense, curators across services and platforms collectively are helping to re-organize web content and the way it will be organized and discovered in the future. It’s pretty exciting.

Currently we semantically analyze content in 8 languages and process in the upwards of 10,000 links a minute. We currently have more than 500,000 papers on the newsstand and we are only at the beginning of this journey.

How can a business make good use of Paper.li?

That is a great question and I started our Paper.li Community Blog to highlight the numerous ways publishers are putting curated content to work for them.

I interact with all types of users and businesses; hobbyists, consultants, marketers, small business owners, bloggers all the way up to organizations like HBO and Yahoo!

Here are 5 ways I see a business can leverage Paper.li

  1. Monitoring: set up a Paper.li based on keywords and #tags to help identify niche or industry players. A business, or brand, can quickly establish an overview of sources, influencers, friends and foes.
  2. Building presence: a fine-tuned Paper.li can help businesses establish and grow a relevant following on Twitter. Activate the Promotional Tweet to help attract like-minded individuals to your paper.
  3. Reinforcing thought-leadership: establish yourself as an “information destination” by providing meaningful content to your audience.
  4. Community building: bloggers and tweepers love seeing themselves featured in Paper.lis because they are exposed to new audiences. A business can win a lot of kudos from their community by including them in their daily.
  5. Content marketing: curated content compliments original content and both together lay the foundation of a solid content marketing foundation. Add Paper.li to your inbound marketing tactics and save time, money and resources

Bonus point: it’s free! There’s no reason not to try it out.

The qualities a good community manager should have are…

  • A belief that the user or customer is the center of your service’s universe
  • Enjoy people
  • Have good organizational skills
  • Be stress resistant
  • Enjoy problem solving
  • good sense of humor
  • a lot of humility

There is a huge amount of products out there to measure anything from brand awareness to campaign outreach, from online reputation to visitor engagement, etc. As a social media manager, what are the products you use the most?

I keep my tool kit practical and manageable. It’s important I have access to my community and tools across devices. Companies can spend a lot of money on tools, but they don’t need to. Here are my favorites.

Social Channel monitoring, eCRM Hootsuite and SproutSocial
Listening: Twitter and Paper.li
Sentiment analysis: Tweetcharts
True reach: Topsy, SocialMention and Tweetstats
Image editing: Adobe Photoshop Express
Online office: Google docs, calendar, templates
Bookmarking and organizing: Instapaper
Digital binder: Scoop.it
Twitter helpers: FollowFriday
Community building: Paper.li, EmpireAvenue, Facebook

And finally, which professional working in Switzerland with social and media would you recommend for our next interview? Why?

I think it’s a fascinating time to be a marketer in the luxury industry, especially when it
comes to reaching audiences through content and storytelling so I’m going to recommend Barbara Houdayer (@mitoubab), Digital Marketing Manager for Chopard, for a peek behind the scenes
there!

Thanks Kelly!


About the author:

Jorge Sanchez is an Online Marketing and Social Media Consultant at @xantipus. You can follow him at @i_jsc. You are also welcome to take a look at his about.me page.


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