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Nobody does social media quite like Bergdorf Goodman. Fifth Avenue's bastion of luxury has Tweeted approximately 27 times since the day began, and it's a safe bet that we'll see another 27 tweets before the day ends. This morning's topics included beauty tips from Alex Chantecaille, dapper ensembles spotted in the office fire drill, and the difficulty of walking in a tight maxi skirt when you're also wearing wedges. Critics have complained that the constant stream of updates dilutes Bergdorf's brand, but the Twitter feed's 42,124 followers certainly don't seem to mind. Behind all the manic Tweeting is one woman, Bergdorf's social media manager Cannon Hodge. Yesterday, she took some time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions.
Do you Tweet full-time?
Tweeting is just a small part of what I do. I'm the store's social media manager, so I write all of the posts on the blog, photograph all of the images (unless it's an editorial image that's been provided by a brand.) I do Foursquare, YouTube, Tumblr—anything that has to do with social media and Bergdorf Goodman.
So what percentage of your day do you spend on Twitter?
I use Twitter more like someone who uses it personally. I'm lucky—I have a split screen situation with my computer, so I keep Twitter up on my laptop while I work on a big screen. We try to answer customer service questions as much as possible, try to keep an open ear to anyone who needs help.
How do you decide what to talk about?
It depends on the day. Recently I was with Isaac Mizrahi, so that was great. I was able to give people an insider's peek at what it's like to be inside his studio. Other days it can be more mundane things about what's going on inside the office. We really felt like at times the store can be overwhelming, so it was important to us to be warm and welcoming. Everyone who works here is so nice and so genuine and kind and incredibly creative, so it was important to us to convey that. It's also important to kind of share New York City life, so if I find someone who's playing good music on the subway, for example, I want to Tweet about that.
We didn't have a "This is what the voice is going to be like" conversation—it came naturally over time. It's very true to how I would write or communicate with my friends.
When anyone says they've never been to the store before and they came in because of the Twitter, that's such a great feeling. It really means a lot. We want to be able to communicate with all of those who are visiting the city, and who live here.
How does one become a social media manager? What's your background?
I was an English major in college and focused on creative writing. I did have an edge in that sense; I think it's important for anyone who wants a career in any sort of social media to be a strong writer. It's also important to work hard and be willing to start at the bottom.
I've been at Bergdorf Women for over five years. I started off organizing trunk shows, then moved into working in the special events department. I think you can't expect something to happen overnight. A lot of times in the digital word, people want to see something happen instantly, but even in social media there's a certain patience you need to have. You need to be able to educate yourself on what's going to happen in the next five months, and also in the next five years.
It's also important to be witty and articulate and especially kind, because that's important in all social spheres. That's something that impressed all of us here. I've made many many real-life friends through Twitter. It does open up doors.
Along those lines, who are your favorite Twitterers?
It changes every day. Sometimes Daphne Guinness will put up something succinct with a stunning image that just takes my breath away. Peter Som, when he sends images or talks about what he's cooking. The girl who tweets for Elizabeth and James, she's a lot of fun. Erika—Oscar PR Girl—she does a great job. [Starworks digital PR manager] John Jannuzzi—everyone loves John.
What's the secret to doing social media well? If a brand with no Twitter experience asked you for advice, what would you say?
So many people have said this before, but you can't control what other people are saying, and it's important to listen to them and to see what they want from you. I read everything and listen to what the followers think. With the BG tutorials that I did in January, that idea actually came from requests from people on Twitter saying "We want to know how to do this." Listen to people and engage with them, and have fun with it. Everyone at BG is having so much fun with what's happening in social media, throughout the whole store. I have buyers send me pictures of Milan and Paris, sales associates sending pictures of shoes. It's a really fun place to be in.
What do you have planned for the future?
We do have one very exciting announcement. Felicia Walker Benson, who has guest-blogged for us in the past and who runs ThisThatBeauty.com, is now our beauty social media expert. She's going to be working with us for a few days a week, coming up with different content, adding new perspective to the beauty section. She's been our honorary BG beauty girl, but now she's official. So we have really great things happening in the beauty world.
In addition to that, we love video and want to have more of it. Our retoucher Andy Nguyen has done nearly every video for the past year—filmed it, edited it, did everything himself. We're really trying to help him shine in that regard.
Also, we'd like to do more on the Tumblr, and have more designers interacting with the blog. And we want to cover more things happening in the city. Yesterday, we put up a post about Audrianna Cole, whose song was in our holiday windows video. We want to do more lifestyle, places to go, things like that. We can help you get dressed but we can also help you find things!
· @bergdorfs [Twitter]
· Why Do Big Fashion Brands Tweet Such Small Things? [The High Low]
· 58th and Fifth [Bergdorf Goodman Blog]