Maintaining Connections While Social Distancing: Behind the Social Media Content Curtain

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What You’ll Learn:: 
As audiences become more inundated with digital content, their attention spans shorten—and that’s especially true of younger consumers who are always connected across devices. Coupled with restlessness and feelings of isolation as people stay indoors amid the crisis, social media communicators are faced with the challenge of helping their followers connect while maintaining social distance. That tough task becomes even more challenging when crafting reopening plans that set proper expectations and foster trust. During this panel with Carey Polis, Digital Media Consultant for The Kitchn and Girls’ Night In; Jesse Bender, Account Director at Allebach Communications for Steak-umm; and John Smith, Senior Manager of Content & Editorial for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, you’ll learn ways to inspire, uplift and soothe your community online.
You’ll learn:
  • Ways to create upbeat content that can offer moments of distraction from COVID-19 news and grim outlooks
  • Tips for streamlining and alleviating people’s information overload, instead of adding to it
  • How to create content and highlight offerings with limited resources, a small staff, and/or no budget
  • How to better understand and cater to your audience’s changed behaviors—while also aligning your plans and messages with brand voice and values
June 2020

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Presenter bio: 

John W. Smith is the Senior Manager of Content & Editorial for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas. In his six years with the rapidly growing company, he's overseen their distinct and occasionally oddball brand voice and strategy on social media, in the press, and for video content, including their famed "Don't Talk" PSAs and pre-show video essays. In recent years, Smith wrote and produced a fake infomercial starring Jeff Goldblum, accidentally improved (or ruined, depending on who you ask) a major film studio's promotional plan for its superhero tentpole two weeks before release, and was yelled at by "The Room" director Tommy Wiseau.

Jesse Bender is an Account Director for Allebach Communications, where he leads branding, advertising, media and innovation initiatives for food and beverage clients, including Steak-umm. He joined Allebach in 2015 to lead client relations between two new major accounts. Prior to Allebach, he held positions in account management and business development for healthcare, legal and consumer goods advertising firms. He was recently interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Back to Back Podcast, PR Week, the Harvard Kennedy School, Fast Company and The Washington Post regarding communication through a brand voice during a pandemic. Outside of work, Bender enjoys coaching youth travel and AAU basketball.

Carey Polis is a Digital Media Consultant specifically focused on the food and lifestyle space, currently working with The Kitchn and Girls' Night In. Previously, she was the Digital Director of Bon Appétit, where she led content and operational strategy across all platforms. Polis has a Masters degree in Food Culture & Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy (yes, it's a real thing). Her four desert island foods are cheese, pasta, beans and potatoes—providing olive oil and salt are available in copious amounts.