Xenia Muether is the Founder and CEO of Pink Orange, an agency launched in 2019. The fully remote agency has a global presence, with its team in London, Spain, Nigeria, Singapore, and South Africa. Check out our interview with her in anticipation of the upcoming Social Media Strategies Summit for Higher Education.
Please briefly describe the structure of your team.
We are a fully remote and global team of marketing experts! Our Head office is in London, UK, but we have specialists operating within Spain, Nigeria, South Africa, and Singapore. We have a seven-person team, each an expert in their field. We only hire the best talent to support our education clients, including a Client Relationship and Project Manager, a PPC Specialist, a Creative Strategist and Copywriter, a Paid Social Manager, and a Graphic Designer. We’ve also recently added a Marketing Intern to our team who is a jack of all trades!
What will you be speaking about at SMSsummit Higher Ed?
My session will cover all things storytelling! At Pink Orange, we value an education company’s power from a storytelling perspective; it sets them apart from their competitors and makes them authentic. Each institution has a story to tell – and stories sell! Once they know the value – and how to identify, tell, and leverage their story, they’re in a better position to foster an authentic and personable online presence, which breeds trust among its prospects. I will cover what storytelling is, where it starts (and ends), what makes a good story, what its role is in an institution’s overarching strategy, and how education companies and institutions can redefine the traditional marketing funnel to be more inclusive.
Give us an overview of your role and what it entails daily.
I am the Founder and the CEO of Pink Orange. In a nutshell, I am responsible for the overall success of Pink Orange and its clients. I take it a step further and believe that I am responsible for the success of my team and their current and future careers, too. I lead the development and execution of long-term (sustainable and inclusive) business strategies for both my company and our clients. I make sure that my team feels confident in their ability to execute and succeed in their role by taking a hands-on approach to our daily operations. From team check-ins to strategy meetings and business development, I am involved at all levels of the organization.
What do you love about your job?
When I started Pink Orange, I dreamed about creating an agency that didn’t require long hours, leading to burnout. Agencies don’t have a great reputation; many have lost touch with their clients and focus solely on profit. What I love about my job is the fact that it allows me to change the face of the agency landscape a little bit. I run a high-performing agency with happy clients and, most importantly, a happy team. The best part is that I get to be a part of something greater than myself, which is what it’s about.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
I absolutely love what I do, but I will admit that running a (remote) global agency comes with challenges. Managing a remote team is a challenge in itself, let alone a remote team in different time zones! The most challenging part comes down to ensuring that every individual feels like they are part of the team, regardless of where they live or when they clock in and out. Growing a team of individuals – each an expert in their own right – and getting them to feel like they are part of something greater than themselves can be difficult but not impossible. You might be wondering why I even considered building this type of team globally. It comes down to what we at Pink Orange value: experience and diversity. Keeping them all motivated and engaged at the same time is certainly an experience in itself.
The Education sector is an ever-evolving industry, and that’s what makes it so interesting. As much fun as it is, keeping up to date with the changes to education and Digital Marketing trends, strategies, and techniques too can be challenging. We also take a personal interest in each of our clients, so ensuring that they all receive the same level of attention and work is a big part of what keeps us going. Ensuring that each client gets a tailored strategy and that the team is always aware of the end goal can be overwhelming! It can also become quite disheartening to spend an endless amount of time and resources on a platform-specific campaign – only to become victim to the algorithm and its preferences.
Our job is never really done. We focus on the end goal, and part of that means a continuous need for optimization!
Please describe one of your institution or organization’s social media campaigns that makes you proud.
We began working with a client in late 2021 – not usually the time of year that Institutions choose to embark on something so drastic, but we saw potential in this client, and they saw greatness in us! This institution wanted to improve its lead generation efforts through compelling copy, appealing creative content, and a campaign strategy that would be the envy of all its competitors – and we smashed it within only six months of working together.
While they understood what they were doing, we started by analyzing their existing strategy to find the bottlenecks and where they were going wrong. One of the areas that we chose to focus on from the start was their creative strategy. We spent a lot of time picking apart what they had to create something bigger and better! The strong content and the storytelling component of our strategic approach was one of the reasons this client saw such a drastic change in such a short time. While institutions can optimize bidding and targeting, the content and the story are what convert in the end.
A few numbers we can share:
– Percentage Increase in number of leads: 439%
– Percentage Increase in number of quality leads: 212%
– Percentage Increase in number of customers: 80%
– Percentage Decrease in customer acquisition cost: 37%
– Increase in click-through rate: 66%
Which social media channel is your favorite and why?
I’ve got to say LinkedIn! I know it’s not a platform everyone immediately runs to, but it will certainly give the most accurate results. LinkedIn is a platform where people go to learn – what we’re here to encourage. I like to think of it as the ‘professional’s Instagram.’ The cost of advertising on LinkedIn is high, but the results are worth it.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a professional interested in starting a social media marketing career?
If I had to go back ten years and give myself advice, it would be to accept that this is not a static industry. It’s crucial to accept, from the very beginning, that things can change quite literally overnight. Social media wears many hats – it’s ever-evolving, and you’ll never master it 100% of the time. While adapting to inconsistency can seem daunting – learn to embrace it! Find joy in adapting and not always being able to plan ahead. Sometimes it will feel like you’re just riding the wave – go with it. The most important piece of advice that I could share with anyone is that social media isn’t just about posting a couple of nice images and hoping for the best. It’s all about having and implementing a strategy. When done correctly, social media can greatly benefit your business and its bottom line.
What’s one other higher ed institution that inspires you on social media, and why?
I love the London Interdisciplinary School! I feel like they’re the “cool kids on the block” – their programs are incredible and resonate so much with what we stand for as an agency. Their content always feels authentic and close to the student. I think the way that they maintain their authenticity is what makes them so great. I believe that there are great things on the horizon for them.
What are some of your favorite tools to do your job more effectively?
This question is easy! I am a huge advocate for CRMs, HubSpot in particular. It’s the only way to manage clients, prospect data, automate processes, and track along the way. It simplifies our operations and gives us the analytics to make data-driven decisions.
Looking forward to 2023 and beyond, what opportunities excite you most about higher ed social media?
I honestly don’t know where to start! We work in a sector that is so incredibly rewarding. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am to work with companies and institutions that aspire to inspire, teach people new things daily, and ultimately positively impact lives. It is incredible that we get to be a part of something so unique – so future-forward; we get to help these institutions tell their stories and find their audience.
We’re also experiencing the most interesting generational shift I have ever seen. I am obsessed with Gen Zers and the impact that they will have on the world! To strategize marketing campaigns that speak to those young adults, the ones that demand so much more than just a fancy degree, is incredible. Their brains work differently, and we must adapt if we want to pique their interest. Never mind that Gen Alpha will take over within the next decade. I think it’s fair to say that higher ed marketing will never be boring, that’s for sure!