Guest Speaker: Casie Shimansky
Casie Shimansky is an award-winning social media specialist for Cisco’s Talent Brand team, and was recently named a 2018 Mover and Shaker by the Social Shake-Up! Since joining Cisco in 2015, she has organically grown the @WeAreCisco Instagram account to 22,000+ using EGC (Employee Generated Content) and a human approach in communicating with their followers. She has also developed successful strategies for the @WeAreCisco Instagram Stories and Instagram Live features. A lover of all things social, Casie admittedly “lives” on Instagram. Her personal images have been featured by @FallonTonight and @UniversalOrlando, and naturally, she has an account for her dog @KimbeeTheGSP who runs agility and is a therapy dog. Casie is also passionate about ending Childhood Cancer with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and recently went BALD just two days after she and her husband were married where she raised over $21k for her 19” of long, purple hair for the cause.
Maria: We are live Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to the Summer Interview Series where we are talking all things creative marketing.
We used to get messages out into the world without seeming seals like and spammy. We want to really to put ourselves out there in an authentic way and I found somebody to talk about this today and her name is Casie Shimansky. We have so many fun things to talk about, so welcome Casie.
Casie: Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Maria: Absolutely. She’s got the sun shining in from Florida, she’s coming right through the window, from Sunshiny, Florida and I am located here in Michigan with a little bit of sunshine, not too much heat yet and we are talking about marketing. So if you are tuning in whether you are a writer, which I, talking coach writers, and I have a publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press, or if you have product or a service that you are selling, this is for you because it’s really about getting a message out into the world and I want to start by Casie telling us a little about what she does because she has a really cool background.
Casie: I actually got my start as a wedding photographer many many many years ago, about a decade ago and I owned a photography company for about 8 to 10 years, traveled all over, captured people’s memories, all that good stuff. I’ve also been a writer for as long as I can remember. I was the kid left note to my parents. I’m always better in writing, I say. I’ve written quite a bit and when it came the time to find a career and kind of move on from photography, I packaged up everything I know and became a social media manager. I’ve been doing that since 2013 and I’m currently with the Cisco Talent Brand Team managing the We Are Cisco Instagram account as well as their Life At Cisco blog so I’m the human behind both of those outfits there.
Maria: And do you work from home, are working in an office?
Casie: I do, I am one of Cisco’s remote employees so I get to work out of my home office here in Orlando. We have office all over the globe but quite a few us get to work wherever because of Cisco’s awesome technology. We can just work from anywhere in the world, then we take advantage of that.
Maria: You did something really cool back in March and that’s when I was introduced to you and I started seeing you. Tell us about your experience back in March.
Casie: I have been a volunteer with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, this was my 8th year. I’ve photographed the past 7 years of their events and I promised them two years into photographing their events that I would go bald for the cause but they had to wait for me to get married. I wasn’t even dating anyone at the time. I was just about to start dating my now husband. But he and I have been friends for a very long time, so I told him about this promise. He thought it was a great idea and actually the following year he and my dad signed up to go bald. I created a team and that’s Team Live Out Loud and they and our friends went bald for the past 6 years or so, and then this year, just two days before we got married, I went bald. Some people are like, how bald is bald? Completely bald, and we raised as a team about 25,000 dollars for Children’s Cancer Research. So we raised about 25,000 dollars with our fierce but mighty, small but mighty little team and about 23,000 of that was from my head. I had 19 inches of long purple hair up until March 24th of this year. I prefer this, I’m not going to lie to you. I’m going to shave next year and the following years. We’ve got to raise a hundred thousand which will be my 10th year with St. Baldrick’s and next year will be the 7th year for the team which is a big, it’s a milestone year. They get knighted, some of the Knights of Balk Table and it will be the 15th year anniversary of the passing of my sister. So, couple of big years coming up, I’ll be bald for both of them and then it will go back to purple once I can get some hair to color.
Marie: This leads into what we are talking about today. We are talking about social media. We are talking about getting messages out there and you raised this money from social media and one of your favorite social media platforms is Instagram, so I’m going to have you launch into story telling on Instagram.
Casie: Sure, I’ve been Instagram almost as long as Instagram’s been on Instagram. 3 months into the platform, I signed up for Instagram at 2AM. I got bored one night, I couldn’t sleep, signed up for the fancy new platform that most photographers and videographers were on at the time. it was a platform for creatives and so that’s how I really got on to it. From there I loved to connect hashtags at the time. It was a little tricky but it’s really great and you get that story to tell there, you get share images, you ask people to share food images, you get to see a personal [inaudible 6:21] which sometimes you [inaudible 6:23] Twitter, their LinkedIn and so now you got the addition of an Instagram Live and IGTV. It’s exciting to see that platform grow. For the [inaudible 6:35] with them for about three years now and there, the We Are Cisco Instagram channel to about 23,000.. 24 right now, all organic, just sharing stories, great photos. Almost all I would say of 98% percent of them is, were about our employees with us amplifying their stories. A lot of that also turns into Life At Cisco blogs so we can from just a couple of sentences and photo on Instagram. There’s more to that story and we’ve got to make it a longer format and so we turn a lot of that just by asking to tell us your story when we the permission to use the photo. There’s a lot of hand-in-hand there and a lot of exchange on the story telling side.
Maria: What I like about this is, where a lot of expert interviewees have been talking about is, you’re repurposing the content. You’re using it on Instagram and then you’re bringing it back and you’re also using it on your blog. If there was someone tuning in right now and they were very new to Instagram, what would be your Top 2 words of wisdom to them to kind of get started and started and connect with people?
Casie: Instagram is massive platform now. It’s not what it was back in the where you post one night’s photo a day and you’re done, feel like you have throw your [inaudible 7:58] in Instagram Live, IGTV. I do this 48 plus hours a week and it’s a lot for me and we do have folks to help from the backend because it is a lot for one person. It’s just not one photo a day anymore. I missed those days, those were very easy.
So, maybe start with that one. Be consistent about it. We post 7 days a week and surprisingly the weekend photos tend to do… and be true the photographs you’re sharing. That platform is a photography platform so good photographs matter. That doesn’t mean you have to be a photographer. I’ve posted photos that are blurry for example but with the intent of being blurry where there’s a story behind why they’re blurry. Do keep looking at that story because there’s something to why you are sharing that image, and then just connect with people. Follow certain hashtags, you can now follow the actual hashtags so you could follow #WeAreCisco or #Orlando and you could find people within those communities to connect with and follow and comment on their photos and that kind of thing and that will start building up that network up there.
Maria: You keep mentioning and I don’t really know what it is. It’s the Instagram channel or TV or something. What is that?
Casie: Anytime that they launch something new on many social channel I’d like to sit back and kind of watch for a couple of weeks. I don’t like to dive in right away. I kind of like to see how others are using it and then I’d like to find out my own way on how I would use it, and a lot of how I see social is, it’s really about huge cases so if I don’t use that with then someone else can use it that way. Our dog is on Instagram and she’s much more popular than I am but I test a lot with her account too so I kind of see how the dog moms of the world are using Instagram and things like that. To see how other people are before we run and go face first into it, either from a person or a brand perspective. It’s really about your audience and does it work for your audience, does it make sense, can you manage it, because again it’s a lot going on in that platform right now so if you can’t manage it don’t feel like you have to do everything, like, now I have to do a TV show… baby stuffs. 23 Instagram’s answer for YouTube and it’s all vertical format so some of us all are Millennials and older generations don’t [inaudible 11:27] I love vertical video. It’s here to stay. That’s how the younger generations like their content. Keeping that vertical format in mind when you’re recording video and stuff like that helps.
Maria: We’ll wrap it up with these last 2 questions. No. 1, I want to know what your dog’s Instagram handle is, and No. 2, do you respond to everyone who comments?
Casie: Our dog’s handle is @Kimbeethegsp [inaudible12:33] therapy dogs so we actually post once a day there as well so the kids in the house we visit can kind of see what she’s up to even if we’re not on-site. So, she’s very popular and she’s a goofball. She also does agility and she’s very fun. And yes, we respond to everyone. It goes for both her account and WeAreCisco account. Not so much on my personal one but sometime… I don’t really post a lot there right now so no reason to comment there, but yes we respond to everyone. It helps with the communication, it helps with the networking, that sense that there are people. It’s not just a robot, it’s not just an empty… you can reach someone there when you reach out, for sure, we respond to everyone.
Maria: I think that’s really important that you brought that point up because I don’t always respond on my business accounts because I just feel like, oh my goodness, there’s just not enough time in a day, but also don’t want people to think that you are scheduling everything and that it’s … I believe Instagram was meant to be organic and I believe it wasn’t meant to be all planned out and I’m sure with your Cisco account you have to plan ahead with some of that. Do you?
Casie: Yes, we schedule I think where our Cisco account is planned at least a few in advance if not a month. We sometimes move stuff around, we’re flexible at social. It happens but we do like to look further out than tomorrow. For the Life At Cisco blog that’s the fall right now, like I’m in Thanksgiving mind frame, not July 4th mind frame. I keep going with it. So, scheduled … again because I have to have a life and sanity so I take a lot of photos, I use tools. For Cisco we use later, for Kimber. I only use two different ones. One, they’re both great but I can’t merge the two because one is a brand. Kimber’s account only, and those schedule automatically. I have a Facebook business account behind to the to be able to do that and again if you’re getting a like or a comment or something like a DM, just because the photo went out on a scheduled time frame.
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My name is Maria Dismondy. I am a children’s book author who also founded the publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press.
Finding ways to market my messages is a passion of mine. I want to help you gain greater recognition of your brand, to generate new readers and improve your sales. Why? Because I love to GIVE and CONNECT and I truly believe we are all in this together!