5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Embark Creative’s Jala Smith-Huys

Our dear friend Jala Smith-Huys is passionate about social media and building brands through meaningful online relationships. In 2011, she launched Embark Creative in Portland to provide social media strategy and consulting for companies seeking solutions for effective engagement with their audience online. She is not currently taking on any freelance work because she is now the full-time Social Strategist for one of our favorite Oregon leather companies, Will Leather Goods. We asked Jala how she keeps up with all things social and think you’ll enjoy her insight below.


1. In 140 characters or less, what is a typical day in the life of a social media strategist like?

Look. Listen. Analyze. Create. Post. Plan. Repeat. Wine.

2. If there was one social media channel you had to invest in, what would it be and why?

Ah! Impossible answer. In my ‘past lives’ it’s been all about Facebook and Twitter. For the current brand I’m working with, Instagram and Pinterest are our hardest hitters. For my husband’s company, LinkedIn is their bread and butter. With that said, I’d invest in the channel where my audience lives and one that’s able to help me reach my goals. There isn’t a one shoe fits all solution.

3. Social media is constantly changing. How do you stay up to date with all of it?

I read a lot and stay as connected as I can to smart people. I think it’s nearly impossible to know how the industry, the tools, etiquette, rules, etc. change. It’s too much. But there’s valuable information swirling around Twitter minute by minute. Following the right resources, and taking some time each day to read what’s trending can definitely give high level awareness around what’s happening.

4. What’s your advice when it comes to #hashtags?

Hashtags work differently across each platform. They play better in Twitter, for instance, than they do in Facebook. So ensure the channel you’re using is hashtag-friendly. Then do some research on your hashtag to see if it’s been used yet, and if it has, how? You may change your mind on whether you want to use it based on those findings. There are tools you can use to give you some baseline analytics on hashtags. One of my favorite free tools is Tweetreach. For free it won’t give you a lot of history, but it will give you a sense for how the hashtag is being used and what impressions it’s generating. For instance, if you’re running a Mother’s Day promotion on Twitter and deciding which hashtags would bring you the most play, run #mothersday and #mothersdaygift through Tweetreach to see which tag is most popular. You could use both hashtags but it will just clutter your Tweet and use up characters. Hashtags can be fluff, but they don’t need to be. They can help build brand awareness and get your social media posts in front of the right people.

5. Everyone wants more likes. Some brands and individuals are even buying followers. How does this blur the lines of finding true influencers to promote your product or service?

There are a lot of things happening in social media that “everyone is doing” — whether that be buying followers or engaging on every social network possible. Again, the tactics you use in social media should all ladder back to the goals of your company. You should constantly ask yourself if the money and time you’re spending is going to get you to where you want to go. Most likely, buying followers is not the answer to any company’s goals. It simply boosts your follower/fan counts, but those numbers mean nothing if the people following you aren’t interested in your brand. Finding relevant influencers is key. You can do it two different ways — 1) invest in a program that helps you identify these people and build programs around engaging them, or 2) identify them on your own. Once you find them, make a connection, show appreciation, build a relationship and convert them from influencers to advocates. Bingo!

Connect with Jala on Twitter for more daily doses of creativity!


One thought on “5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Embark Creative’s Jala Smith-Huys

  1. Thanks for the TweetReach rec, Jala! We’re proud to be in your arsenal of favorite tools.

    -Sarah A. Parker
    Content Marketing | Union Metrics
    Fine Makers of TweetReach, Union Metrics for Tumblr, & Union Metrics for Instagram

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