Care, Calendars, and Community with Staples' Nick Gayton

Nick Gayton didn’t start his professional tenure at Staples in social media.  He began in sales, moved to corporate education, learning & development, and then found a home in social media. The one constant throughout this journey?  Nick has always enjoyed working directly with customers and helping them solve their small business challenges. Social Media Community Management has provided the opportunity to work with customers on the grandest scale.

Nick shared a bit more about what gets him excited about the Staples Community, how he spends his time, and the one real-life situation he only wishes he dreamt up.

What excites you about community management for Staples?

Each brand possesses their own ‘special something’ that gets everyone excited, and for Staples, it is the shared passion for all things office and small-business related topics that I have in common with our fans. Plus paperclips, who doesn’t love them!

What is the scope of your role?

I’m lucky enough to have my hand in a few of the ‘cookie jars’.  My primary focus is to oversee Staples social customer care strategy on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others.  This includes analytics and coordination with internal partners for crisis management and key marketing initiatives.

I also lead Staples associate social advocacy program #StaplesInsiders, training, facilitating and optimizing content and communications to help Staples associates maintain a consistent and valuable presence on Social networks. 

What time I have left is spent engaging with customers directly, including the occasional “random act of kindness”, or influencer activation. 

What is one critical piece of advice you wish you had when you began in community management?

Flexibility / Put on your ‘dancing shoes’ – I’m pretty sure when someone takes on a community management role they should know the power and speed of social ---it’s unlike anything else.  In social you can plan for one thing but at the last minute you might need to change your process because “something came up”--- something is trending, or someone just beat you to the punch. 

Successful community managers are flexible, quick on their feet, and always thinking about the customer first.

What is your must-have gadget to get your job done?

Besides my cell phone, I’m going have to go ‘old school’ and say my ‘Goats in Trees’ calendar. Yes, Goats in trees, they are real.  Having my calendar in front of me knowing what key initiatives are going on and when, is instrumental in working with the customer care team and ensuring that we have the right resources available. 

Have you ever had a crazy dream about your job?

In the early days of Community management at Staples, we didn’t have a way to easily identify and escalate social influencers.  At that time, one of Alton Brown’s fans directed him to Staples as a source for more Post-It notes.  Before I could respond with a complimentary supply, another member of my team chimed in with a link to Then… William Shatner responded with “did they really send you to the product page?”  It was not our finest hour – and I wished that it was a dream.  But it certainly jumpstarted the conversation about influencers and customer engagement!

Want to learn about other awesome community managers working behind the scenes to steal our hearts? Check out this cast of characters that keep some of our favorite brands social every day.'s picture

Courtney Doman

Courtney is the Content Marketing Manager at Spredfast. She focuses on sharing smart social ideas and insights to transform the way companies connect with consumers. Courtney is a passionate football fan (supporting Arsenal and the USMNT), curious traveller, and ambitious home cook.