Natalie Friel
January 2nd, 2024

Social media predictions, career advice, and personal quips: all covered in this exclusive chat with our new Director of Social Strategy

After graduating from college, Tara Knight was on a quest to find a professional path that was both fulfilling and stimulating. Having earned her Master’s in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Global Business, there were many different paths she could take. It was like a real-life choose-your-own-adventure game! 

Now, Tara has always worn many hats. She had (just casually) signed on to help with the filming of an upcoming movie, and was on the hunt for a temporary job to tide her over. 

The temporary job “just so happened to be in social media,” and, as Tara says, “turned into an 8-year career (and counting).” When reflecting on her interests growing up, she’s not surprised she ended up in the marketing field, and remarks, “our passions have a funny way of finding their way to us, don’t they?”

Having worked with various agencies, Tara’s gathered expertise from every nook and cranny of the marketing world, bringing experience as a Media Buyer, Senior Account Manager, and Managing Director to her new role at Recess Creative.

We’re thrilled that Tara’s journey has brought her to us, where her official title is Director of Social Strategy. Around the office, she’s known as our “social media rockstar.” 

We’d been fiending for a chance to sit down for coffee and a chat with Tara to learn more about what’s on her mind. The only problem?

“I don’t drink coffee.”

She doesn’t drink coffee. 

Tara Knight

 

You don’t drink coffee. My bad. I almost forgot. Anyway, can you brief us on your background? Maybe talk about some of your favorite clients? 
I’ve had the privilege of getting to work with some really amazing brands over the years. My favorite projects were always the campaigns where I got to work with creators. 

Tara was being humble by not mentioning that her client history includes LVMH, Misfits Market, ALEX AND ANI, and SlimFast. 

Working with creators– can you expand on that? 
Yes! Creators always come up with the best ideas and really understand the process, so they’re really inspiring to work with. They have a fresh perspective. And I think more brands are starting to realize that. 

That makes sense. Their entire job is creating content. 
Exactly. From what I’ve been seeing, video content is at an all-time high in terms of popularity and influence, and it’s not going anywhere. If anything, I think video content is going to get longer. 

How do you think influencer videos compare to paid ads? 
Both have their place in an effective strategy. Paid ads are great. 

But, I’m seeing that people don’t like feeling like they’re being marketed to, and one of the ways to get around that is by utilizing content creators. They already have an established, trusted relationship with their audience and know how to make their content appear more authentic. 

I’ve also seen a lot of success using influencer content in paid advertising through whitelisting. 

Ooh, “whitelisting.” What’s that? 
Whitelisting is when an influencer (or other partner) grants a brand permission to run an ad on their account. 

Got it. Okay, so, big picture, you’re a fan of organic content. 
Exactly. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it’s always changing. Trends come and go, platforms even come and go… algorithms keep us on our toes… 

What social media platforms do you personally spend the most time on? 
Instagram and LinkedIn. 

You’re not a TikTok girl? 
I mean, I watch TikToks, but as a millennial, I only see them once they’ve made their way to Reels. 

So, I guess not, no. I only watch actual TikToks on the app when our intern sends them to me, which is actually pretty frequently. 

That’s so millennial of you. 
[Crickets] 

Any insights on how social platforms are evolving? 
Well, I think LinkedIn used to be really only used for networking and job postings. But, there’s definitely been a shift; a lot of brands are using it as a platform where they can engage with their audience by posting thoughtful and educational content. 

And there are a lot of individuals, too, who post useful, shareable content that a lot of people like. Content that’s inspirational, good for self-help or personal development… professional development… even funny content. 

It’s more well-rounded and enjoyable to use than it used to be. I think there are more people finding that out. LinkedIn definitely has potential for a lot of companies. 

It almost feels like a long-form version of Twitter. Or, sorry, “X.” 
Oh, I’m not calling it X. It’s Twitter; it’s always gonna be Twitter! 

But that’s interesting. Yeah. I can see that, for sure. And on LinkedIn, long-form content is totally welcome, which is fun to play with, too! 

I could interrogate you on this stuff for hours. How did you learn all of this? Or– I guess what I’m trying to ask is, what advice do you have for someone who wants to get into social media as a profession? 
Let’s see. My advice would be… two-fold. 

First, admit when you don’t know the answer to something. Social media is ever-changing, so it will happen a lot, and you’d better get used to it. That’s why I'm a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a social media expert. Whatever someone knows at this point in time is probably going to change in the near future. We’re all always learning and adapting! 

Second, learn how to figure out the answers to things you don’t know by becoming a master at Googling things, and if that fails, by creating a network of people whom you can look to for input. 

I love that. So, you’re enjoying your time at Recess so far? 
Oh, definitely. Great people, great clients. Great food, too, including a refrigerator stocked with sandwich makings and Sunkist. Special thanks to Catherine for being wonderful and making that happen! 

Did they ask you the desert island question during your interview? For reference– and listen up, job seekers– all Recess Creative interviewees are asked what food they’d bring if they were going to be stranded on a desert island. It’s a very important question– very high-stakes. 
Oh, yeah. I said “potatoes.” 

Potatoes! That’s so smart. 
Yeah, because, duh, potatoes. Plus you can cook them a million different ways. Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew... The more you know.

At this point, Tara and I had finished our Sunkist and iced coffee, respectively, and decided we’d both better get back to doing our jobs.