Second in a Series

Who's Behind the Agency Twitter Feed: Rokkan

Melyssa Brown Brings Dose of 'Nerdism,' Draping

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In a special series, Ad Age introduces you to three executives responsible for marketing their shops via social media. Yesterday we featured Bruce Stockler, and today we speak to Melyssa Brown.

If you are one of the 3,200 followers of Rokkan's Twitter feed, then you know the shop is on top of all the latest media memes and doesn't shy away from showing off its geeky side. You might see a tweet about #draping or #pingpong" with an Instagram of some staffers or be wished a "Happy Pi Day! May you find your fears irrational, your problems nonrepeating & pie always w/i your radius."

Melyssa Brown
Melyssa Brown

Associate Social Strategist Melyssa Brown, 23, is behind the account. She told Ad Age about the "nerdism" she looks to bring to the job, admitted that it can be nerve-wracking to sit at the controls of a company's Twitter account and spoke about the importance of transparency with content (and why Rokkan marks client tweets with a "c").

Ad Age : When did you start tweeting for Rokkan?

Ms. Brown: I began co-tweeting for the feed in October 2011 and took it over exclusively in January 2012.

Ad Age : What's your regular job function, and how did you get this gig?

Ms. Brown: I have a dual role at Rokkan. I'm a strategist on the Stolichnaya Vodka account and some new-business pitches, etc. However, I also handle Rokkan's internal social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), as well as the and our overall PR/communications. I think it makes perfect sense to put Rokkan's communications and social media under the strategy umbrella.

Ad Age : What tone do you try to have on Twitter?

Ms. Brown: A mix of thought leadership and industry news, and the Rokkan [point of view] on industry issues, with a healthy dose of nerdisms and tech geeking-out. The culture at Rokkan still feels very startup, despite the fact that we're nearly to 70 employees. Nerding out, bringing dogs to the office and epic ping-pong battles fuel the creative genius of the talented team we have here. I definitely want that to be communicated by our Twitter feed, as well as our advertising-centric tweets.

Ad Age : Tell me about your "Draping" tweet. How did you get the idea?

Ms. Brown: A big part of being digitally savvy, both as a strategist and a community manager, is to stay up on memes, trending topics. The Draping idea came about as the nexus of the love of "Mad Men" around here -- we are an ad agency, after all -- and the love of memes. "Mad Men" plus meme equals Draping. Perfect mix of the Rokkan voice.

Ad Age : Rokkan does something unique in the agency space: You flag client-related tweets. Why did you feel that was important?

Ms. Brown: We basically just want full disclosure about what tweets are truly Rokkan's opinion, and what tweets are actually promoting our clients' work, contests. Transparency is a large part of the Rokkan culture, and that also carries over to the way I run our social channels. And I'm from a journalism background, so attribution and transparency is key.

Ad Age : Do you ever feel nervous managing the company Twitter account?

Ms. Brown: It can be nerve-racking at times, since you essentially have your finger on that big red button every time you tweet or update Facebook. But, I usually keep the tweets within the content buckets of tech, digital, geeky things and advertising. Not too much controversy there, generally speaking.

Ad Age : Do any tweets need to be vetted by managers?

Ms. Brown: I report directly to the partners for all the Rokkan communications/social-media stuff, and they're pretty hands-off. They briefed me on what they want our social channels to feel like, and as long as I stay in that vein and in the Rokkan voice, approvals are quite lax. There's a lot of trust here, and the autonomy is lovely. They know I'm also a strategist, so it's intuitive and in my wheelhouse to do this the right way.

Ad Age : How do you come up with content ideas?

Ms. Brown: Lots of reading! My Google Reader is definitely the No. 1 source of content. Though agency news -- project launches, new hires -- press stories and other internal content surfaces as well. Also, just watching the feeds of accounts that @ROKKANmedia follows or keyword feeds will provide pretty great content.

Ad Age : What are some of your favorite tweets? They can be personal favorites, within the office, or ones that have had the most engagement.

Ms. Brown: Internal content is consistently the most popular thing to post, like Instagram photos of our office happenings. People always want that 'peek behind the curtain.' A fun hashtag I started is #overheardatROKKAN. So many creative people under one roof leads to some interestin and too-good-not-to-quote conversations. So, it's a mostly anonymous hashtag of funny things Rokkanites say. [An example cited by Ms. Brown: "This Mac mouse is so weird. It's like holding a potato slice. ... #overheardatROKKAN"]

Ad Age : Do you personally tweet? How is your Twitter voice distinct from Rokkan's?

Ms. Brown: Yes! It's @m_e_brown for my personal tweets. I think that our voices can be similar -- I'm a pretty big dork, too. The odd "Doctor Who" reference may well make it into the Rokkan feed. But there are definitely differences. Rokkan is obviously a brand, an agency with a distinct voice. The mix is different in that Rokkan is more tech, development and digitally oriented from a content perspective.

Ad Age : Does anything bug you about Twitter? Any pet peeves?

Ms. Brown: I don't like how it aggregates "top tweets" in lieu of real-time chronological tweets. But, it's really not a big deal, since I use HootSuite or other third-party programs to run the account anyway. Also, Fail Whale.

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