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Featured on Apr 26, 2012

Jaime Hoerbelt

"The best way to predict the future is to create it. - Peter Drucker"


Jaime has been a longtime social media enthusiast since the early days of Myspace and Livejournal. Now she brings her passion for social networking to the corporate world as a Social Media Strategist at Tenthwave, a full service digital marketing agency in NYC. She creates campaigns and manages community across a variety of industries, for brands including eBay, Pepperidge Farm, Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast, Birds Eye Voila!, Facebook, Zynga and Visa. She enjoys giving brands a voice on the Internet and increasing the social value of promotional campaigns. 

You can find her blogging at, tumbling at or IRL at Community Manager meetups. Her past experience includes being the Managing Editor of NY Creative Interns; working at Figment, an online young adult writing community and being a Solvate talent member. When she's not being "social" she likes to paint and drink tea.

  • Title: Social Media Strategist
  • Age: 23
  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Contact: @jahbelt

What's the most challenging part of your job? The most enjoyable?

Definitely, the most challenging part of my job is keeping up with the industry. Social media is one of those career paths that really require you to read several blogs every morning and attend industry events regularly to have a grasp on what brands and users are doing in the space. On the brand side, you always have to be the "expert" and everything can change at a moment's notice, requiring you to change strategies or tactics. On the user side, you have to keep a careful eye on what happens naturally - what people are doing and talking about. Knowing how consumers react on social networks is essential to coming up with the next big idea for clients.
I love how fast paced the industry is, but I also love working with a variety of clients. I'm never bound by one brand's objectives or challenges for an entire day. I get a holistic view of what's possible in the social media space. There's nothing to curb learning; one hour I'll be working with a high-caliber CPG, the next hour I'm focused on the entertainment industry, interior design or ecommerce. Things never get stale.

You speak French and have a blog about Paris, where you have weekly Macaroon Fridays. Besides Ladurée, can you let us in on the best places to find macaroons and other fine French food in the city?

I'm certainly not an expert; if you asked me about restaurants in Paris that I like I'd have a better answer. That said, I like MacarOn Café on W. 36th st.  It has an intimate atmosphere that is SO Parisian. I'm also looking forward to exploring the French pastry shops in Park Slope in the future.

I noticed you went to SXSW and attended the SXBrandBack panel. Can you tell us a couple of things you learned from the panel? Any lessons on branding and social media you've personally learned from your work at Tenthwave?

One of the most important things I learned early on at Tenthwave, which was reinforced at the SXBrandBack panel, was how to steer a conversation through skillful community management. There are some situations where it's impossible to take back the conversation. If you're dealing with a PR crisis, you can't pretend it isn't happening and talk about how great your product or service is. You have to influence the conversation delicately, like focusing on how the brand is handling the situation. It is really important that any crisis management strategy involve the key stakeholders from the PR agency or department, the brand managers and the social media agency.
Then there are situations where it's just difficult to take back the conversation. For example, a lot of financial institutions have trouble managing the level of negative feedback related to bad credit or fraudulent charges. Some of these companies forego a social media presence entirely or maintain extremely strict control over consumer posts. Other companies sound like robots because the only things the brand is allowed to post has to be vetted through legal. There is a way for every company to make a brand sound human, while satisfying the legal department and letting consumers have a place to voice concerns and praise.
In every day circumstances, it's still an art form trying to determine whether the customer you're talking to will create a hate group if you can't help, or whether the customer will be satisfied just knowing his or her concerns were heard. There's a subtle way to do everything from talking down angry consumers to communicating a brand message one-on-one outside of a status update. A skilled community manager will be able to do all of this without the consumer knowing. A bad community manager sounds like a robotic cheerleader, repeating the same brand message over and over again.

Social Media, Digital Strategist