In this episode of our Top 50, we sit down to interview Anthea Collier, she’s the Managing Director for Randstad Sourceright Asia Pacific. Anthea shares her perspective on why it’s so important to have a position on social media. She believes everyone should have a position on who they want to be, what they want to say and stand for when using social media for business. She also humbly talks about her growing social media presence and how she uses LinkedIn for customer acquisition and support. We also discuss the importance of mental health when it comes to social media usage.
About The Top 50 Series
The Top 50 is the podcast about employee advocacy powered by PostBeyond hosted by Nicole McLaren, Customer Success Operations Manager and Daniel Ku, Director of Marketing. This podcast explores how the top 50 users of PostBeyond leverage employee advocacy to amplify their brand message. We analyzed over 36,500 professionals using employee advocacy to uncover their social media habits, how they built their personal brand and more. Hear from a handful of the top 50 users to uncover their personal stories and insights.
About Our Hosts
Nicole McLaren, Customer Success Operations Manager
Nicole McLaren is the Customer Success Operations Manager at PostBeyond. She joined the team a little over a year ago, and has developed a keen interest in exploring data to improve user experience and optimize program performance. Nicole’s interests outside of work include painting, trying new foods and listening to niche music genres. Ask her what she’s listening to today! (edited)
Daniel Ku, Director of Marketing
Daniel Ku is the Director of Marketing at PostBeyond and has spent the past several years bridging the gap between companies and customers through social media. Daniel is on a mission to help marketers get onboard with social selling, content marketing best practices, and employee advocacy. Outside of work, Daniel likes to practice his squat form, listen to podcasts and tell bad jokes.
Daniel: Anthea, could you describe your role and how you got started?
Anthea: Okay, so I have been in our industry sector for over 25 years. I’m currently the managing director for Randstad Sourceright Asia Pacific, that I’m responsible for new client acquisition, existing client support. And the way I would interpret that is making certain that we are constantly looking at new ways of working. How do we bring value to our clients? How do we invest correctly to anticipate client demand and retain our clients while growing our market share?
Daniel: With a bunch of responsibilities like growing your market share, providing value to customers, and thinking about new ways of work, where does social media fit in your day to day at Randstad?
Anthea: Well, social media I think is very important from a branding perspective. I’m older, so I’m almost 60. So, for me, it’s a different way of working. But we are responsible for looking after the brand and promoting the brand. We also work to support our clients’ social media presence and help our client brand. One of my clients is Ericsson. They’re quite prolific with their social media use. So, I like to interact with them from that perspective. It also helps us understand new channels that might be available to us. I use it as a learning platform. So, I curate my LinkedIn because what I want to do is not just see massive postings which you can’t get through but use it as a way to follow influences, to learn from them, and to ensure that I’m constantly exposed to fresh ideas and equally sharing what we’re doing to help support our brand in the market.
Nicole: I really like that you’re actually learning from people on social media.
Anthea: I think you have to. You have to constantly be exposed to different ways of working or you become stagnant, and that means you’re not offering value. We as a company are going through a digital transformation in the way in which we work, and we have to interpret trends and stay ahead of them and guide our clients through that as well.
Nicole: Incredible. So, how has social media helped you in your role specifically?
Anthea: Has helped us in our work?
Nicole: Uh, your role. Your role as…
Anthea: In my role? Okay. I think I’m not the best at social media. I would say there’s a lot of opportunities for me to improve. As a company, we use the PostBeyond platform, which means that I’m able to publish content daily. The way I do that is my discipline is that first thing in the morning, there’s a couple of platforms that I review, one is PostBeyond, what material is there that I could post that I think is relevant? There are actually three platforms I look at. The second is the Peakon engagement platform because every two weeks we’re surveying our team members. And I like to go and read and respond to those individuals. And then the third is Society, which is a global intranet based on the happier platform, where we try to drive connectedness with our people. And then from there, I would go into LinkedIn and have a quick look at what my feed is showing and what I think could be interesting in terms of how it could be applied, what I’m seeing in terms of what’s happening around the world, within any of our client groups, or just general informational posts that I might be following.
Nicole: Yeah, I like that. I think that’s one thing that I noticed is, actually knowing what’s going on in LinkedIn even before sharing something gives you a better understanding of your audience, what to share, what’s going to work, things like that. It’s really interesting that that’s a part of your process when sharing social media. What success stories have you personally experienced because of your presence on social media?
Anthea: Gosh, I think something that’s really interesting is knowing the position you want to take. I noticed that when I posting things around gender equality, that I get a really high response obviously from women. I think with social media, you have to think about what are your values? What are you passionate about? And what position do you want to take? I think it’s really interesting as well, I see LinkedIn has become increasingly political, and it used to be very much a work platform. I don’t think it’s like that any longer. It’s quite interesting to look at the comments. I don’t read that many of the comments, but I just like to look at them just to see what the tone is. Some of them are really kind of concerning because there’s just such vitriol in these online platforms. I wonder if people were in a room together, would there be that level of vitriol? Which is a concern? But I think in terms of success stories, it’s a way of keeping in contact with clients. It’s a way of understanding what’s happening in their world, what successes they have, being able to reach out and congratulate them both in that platform but also outside of that platform. It’s really a more of an awareness piece, I think.
Nicole: Yeah, there’s a lot of information being shared. I think people who like social media, at any point when I guess you don’t have to be necessary verbal, you can be a little bit bolder in your presence on social media. So, what advice for anyone wanting to build their personal brand on social media would you have?
Anthea: I think it is understanding who you want to be really, which has to be congruent with who you are, what matters to you. And then I think you have to be kind on social media. I don’t think it’s a place where you can pillory others for their particular viewpoints. You have to understand that there’s going to be a diverse range of viewpoints, you may or may not agree with people who respond to your post. I think it’s about being kind, embracing the diversity of thought, and holding true to your values, whatever those might be in whatever areas you might be passionate about.
Daniel: It’s such an underrated trait, kindness. I feel like the world right now very much needs trade of kindness in everything.
Anthea: Yeah, I really think so. I think you kind of need to think, would you want whenever you’re about to say said to you? And would you want whatever you’re about to write or post printed on the front page of a newspaper? If people stopped to think that piece, I think it might be a better world. But anyway, it’s interesting.
Daniel: I definitely think that’s an interesting topic. On top of that, you mentioned diversity and having diverse ranges of viewpoints. As someone who’s worked in Seattle, Washington, to New York, to San Francisco, and now in Asia Pacific, specifically in Singapore, have you noticed any nuances or differences or diversities and viewpoints on how people use social media across multiple geographies?
Anthea: Yeah, I think that probably the Australian culture is more linked to the US culture, so they’re quite similar. So, I think there’s probably more bold statements, whereas I think it’s less bold in Asia. Well, it depends because I can’t read Japanese or Mandarin. So, I don’t really know what’s being said there. But I think it’s a gentler social media presence than perhaps it is in the more US-centric cultures where it tends to be fairly assertive or sometimes aggressive around specific viewpoints, heavily politicized. And it’s a shame because instead of a dialogue, it’s like opposing camps and it’s like a battle ensues.
We saw that with one of our team members who posted on to LinkedIn about Black Lives Matter. Now he happens to be black but he lives in Japan, and he made a comment and there was a whole explosion of viewpoints and just the lack of respect for his viewpoint, which was his viewpoint, whether you agree or not. You have a right to your viewpoint. But that was coming from the US because obviously LinkedIn is a global platform and obviously a very sensitive topic. It’s just interesting to see that the ability to post your particular viewpoint is not respected. That diversity of thought is not necessarily respected. When we looked at the trail, we didn’t see that coming in from Asia, those hostile viewpoints. It was all coming in from the Western countries, which is very different to what you might see in parts of Asia.
Daniel: It’s very interesting because Nicole and I looked at the data previously and we did see that predominantly or the majority of the top of the users were in Asian countries.
Anthea: Oh, really?
Daniel: So, there’s something going on there. I think Nicole knows more about which countries and why that.
Anthea: Oh, that’s very interesting.
Nicole: It was cool. I think we have a few from India, Singapore, Qatar, and there was one more. There was I think about a third of our users.
Anthea: That’s great. That’s really good to know. So, maybe the comment post is from there but not the users. Interesting.
Daniel: Yeah. One of the things I’ve been curious about and I’ve noticed this a lot across all our PostBeyond, users across most of our customers, we did see when the pandemic happened a 25% increase in usage across the board. I’m curious from your perspective, did COVID impact your social sharing habits or how use PostBeyond?
Anthea: I think it impacted our marketing efforts for our drive to communicate more frequently and with valid content increased. So, our marketing team went into overdrive, which was fantastic for us. Because we needed to communicate to clients, to candidates. We needed to give reassurance to our own people who are linked with us. Our internal communication equally increased significantly. So, I’d say it was in line with what we were doing internally as an organization. But for instance, our global CEO before COVID, he didn’t produce a weekly update, which we can share and post on LinkedIn, and he now does that. In fact, we can post it to any channel. I’m just not big on Twitter, which is my own fault. I need to get better at it. I tend to stay with the platforms that I know well, which is predominantly LinkedIn. I think we did step up our efforts. I think it was more related to that and making sure that we were providing continuity for our employees and for our contractors and for our clients so that they felt a level of comfort. Because one of the questions that we got asked a lot and still get asked is, are you financially viable? How badly has this impacted you? Essentially, what they’re asking is, are you going to be around tomorrow or are you going to disappear? Which is valid.
Daniel: Cool. I think that’s an interesting value. You said that the marketing team stepped it up. We did see again, across the board, everyone was very heightened in terms of their sense and awareness. So, the need to step up and be like, we’re on social, we’re super hyper-aware, and we’re being kind of proactive but still reactive to the pandemic as well.
Anthea: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Daniel: [inaudible 00:15:03] we’ve seen. Our last question for you is, you mentioned a lot of great things in terms of how to use social media, having passion, having similar values. What’s your advice for someone who’s wary of social media or just getting started?
Anthea: I feel strange talking about this because I don’t think I’m that great at it. I think it is, choose your medium, choose your channel, choose your persona, make sure that that is congruent, be disciplined. I know that every day I start my day with social media. I may not get time in the rest of my day to spend any time on it. But I structure it so that I’m across the four platforms that I need to be and making certain that I have done that element because I understand how important communication is. Many years ago, when I was starting out, I didn’t understand the importance of communication. And that’s my internal communication with teams, but equally is the external face. I think that that’s extremely important. So, I make sure that I discipline myself to structure my day around it at the beginning of the day. The rest of the day I won’t have time. But every single day, I’m on there and I allocate an hour and I cover all of my various platforms and then I move on to my next task.
Daniel: Okay, would you say you eat social media for breakfast?
Anthea: I don’t know about that. I curate my social media. So, part of what I also tell teams for mental health is that it’s not healthy to spend too much time on social media. So, from my perspective, because I’ve curated my feed, I’m looking at people that I respect. I’m reading what their particular viewpoints are, I’m reading where they are focused, which helps me. But I don’t spend a lot of time on it because frankly, I think you can go down a rabbit hole and it’s not healthy. Because there’s just so many conspiracy theories out there. I think you just have to be so careful about what you read, what you put into your mind. We’re careful with the food we consume, we wouldn’t knowingly eat something that is going to cause us bodily distress. But if you think about it, social media can give you mental distress, because it can have such a negative view of what’s happening out there. And I think you have to be super careful about that.
Daniel: That’s a great way to end it, especially bringing on our mental health and the impact of what social media can do. I appreciate that conversation and everything you shared Anthea. Thank you again for sharing all your insight.
Anthea: It’s my pleasure. I fairly feel a bit of a fraud because I don’t think I’m that good at it but I appreciate the opportunity. And you’ve got a great platform, so well done.
Daniel: Thank you. I mean, our platform is only as good as the users that use it. You may not say that you’re a good user, but the data shows you are and I think your presence on social media speaks volumes.
Anthea: Okay, well, thank you. And nice too well to meet you from Toronto.
Daniel: Nice to meet you well and have a good night. Thank you again for partaking in this.
Anthea: Thank you. Thank you for your early morning start. Take care. Bye.