Summit Mondays: Staying Social with Splash Media’s Ryan Miller

Spredfast Social SummitWith less than a month remaining until our second annual Spredfast Social Summit, we are inviting a few of our customers and partners to preview some of the excitement coming to Austin this October 16-18th. This week, Ryan Miller from Splash Media previews his panel, shares a big win in social care, and introduces one of the coolest ways to #staysocial that we have heard of yet. 


You're speaking on a panel about "Look Who's Talking: Activating Brand Influencers and Advocates in your Social Programs" at Summit, how does Splash Media think about activating brand advocates?

As a brand ourselves, we think of advocates and influencers as two different groups. Advocates are those who are passionate about a brand; typically they are consumers that have tried a product or service and they like it—so much so that they are willing to share with their friends and family. Influencers, on the other hand, are defined as people or brands that influence other people’s decisions. Influencers cannot always be defined by a quantifiable metric such as a Klout score. We leverage our social strategy, brand goals and deep understanding of who we’re targeting to guide the process.

Activation strategies differ based on what group you’re targeting—influencers or advocates. However, there are similar tactics we leverage.

  • Make an investment: we want to validate them and thank them publicly. That could be sending simple mementos or short messages, anything that shows we appreciate them. We also give advocates the opportunity to provide feedback they think will make the product or service better.
  • Engage with them and their content. This demonstrates that we truly care.
  • Pick up the phone or contact them directly to build an even deeper relationship.

In turn, we coach our clients to do the same for their brands. By using tools like Spredfast to identify advocates, we show brands their most influential advocates and encourage them to publicly engage in a proactive way.


The theme of Summit this year is Achieve, describe your biggest social achievement in the past year.

TruGreen Lawn Care engaged Splash Media to improve consumer perception and the customer service experience. At first, the TruGreen team was timid to green light social, but over four months we worked hand in hand with their customer support staff and call center, providing timely responses and solving specific problems for hundreds of individuals. As a result, we dramatically reduced negative sentiment and increased positive sentiment in an equally dynamic fashion. Furthermore, because of our work, TruGreen saw the potential to boost their online commitment to their customers and is adding an entire social media customer service team with Splash as their guide.

For us, it was a huge achievement to have improved overall sentiment just by providing excellent customer care to their individual fans and customers. We improved a core business goal, which has enabled us to provide substantial value to this client. It’s something that we want every other brand to realize—you absolutely have to take your online customer service experience seriously, invest in it, and give a crap about every single member of your network because they’re all people.


As social media marketers, we know that great social experiences build lasting relationships, when was the last time that you were on the receiving end of a memorable social experience?

Personally, it was American Airlines. I was flying with another airline and having a horrible experience. I tweeted the other airline incessantly to try to get help. They were completely unresponsive and made my experience even worse. Lo and behold, American Airlines, which I was not a fan of either, was listening and offered condolences in a really appropriate, sincere way.  While they weren’t able to do anything at the time, they 100% restored my belief in the AA brand and made me reconsider American Airlines for my next flight. It was pretty powerful.


Why is your brand social?

The Splash Media brand is alive! Just like every other brand, we have a brain, a heart, and a central nervous system, as well as emotions that people can connect with. Social media is the most organic way to connect with people and brands online. We take the same approach with our all of our social clients. Their core reasons for being in social range from lead generation to gathering business intelligence to reaching fresh faces. No matter what the “WHY” is, we lead our clients down the same path of our “WHY” – to be human.


How are you innovating in social?

We recently built #HashTap, the first Foursquare activated kegerator, which debuted at our Das Social, a networking event that took place near one of the state’s largest Oktoberfest celebrations in Addison. #HashTap works this way: You walk up to the kegerator, check in (selecting one of two beers on tap), and when the LED light turns on, you put your glass under the tap for a perfect 16-ounce pour. Check it out:

Splash Media HashtapHashtap Kegerator


What are you most looking forward to at Summit this year?

I’m interested in the perspectives of our peers on the evolution of where we’ve come from and where we’re going. Are brands feeling it? Are they tapping into social’s full potential? Are they leveraging data to drive content creation? In particular, I’m interested in catching up with Emily Williams from Campbell’s, Paolo Mottola from REI, and Cliff Kinard from IBM.    


Have you been to Austin before? Anything else on your agenda while you are in town?

I’ve been to Austin several times and always enjoy it, but there is one thing I’ve never done. I’m looking forward to seeing the Congress Avenue Bridge come alive with bats! I’ve heard about this and have to check it out.

Want to connect with Ryan before Summit? Follow him on Twitter at @JibSkid

ryanmillerFly-fishing and social media seem an unlikely combination, but that’s exactly how Ryan Miller began his career in the digital marketing world. He leveraged blogs, social sites, and event-based marketing to attract clients to his fledgling fly-fishing business. Once his client list grew to more than 1,200, he realized there were greater opportunities in digital marketing. He then entered the agency life to help other brands jump into social. As an Account Director at Splash Media, Ryan has helped over 200 brands navigate and leverage social to reach and exceed their business objectives.'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.