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Joe Curry, Social Media Manager at Target

This is a post from my company,’s blog. Check it out for more profiles and stories about the people running social at really big brands.

Joe Curry has been a member of since 2009 as a part of McDonald’s roster. In 2011, he continued his membership as the Social Media Manager for Target. He’s also shared a case study presentation for Target at our Member Meeting in San Francisco.

Joe’s social media career began when he asked for it.

“I’ve always been interested in where communication, technology, and social media meet,” says Joe Curry, Social Media Manager at Target.

It’s part of the reason he volunteered to lead a social project at McDonald’s called the “Voice of McDonald’s,” a global singing competition that still finds talented McDonald’s crewmembers today. That move launched Joe’s social career, which led to his role as McDonald’s Social Media Manager of Global Digital Communications.

When he started at Target in 2011, he took on a similar position on their PR team where he helped launch a content hub called A Bullseye View. Joe says it’s one of his favorite career accomplishments. In fact, he presented on it at one of our Member Meetings in 2012.

“It’s a very visual site that combines all of the stories that are happening around Target. If someone wanted to know what was going on at Target they could easily check out our hub full of videos with insiders as well as some of our partners, like designer Nate Berkus, Kyle Larson, one of our Team Target NASCAR drivers, and Emily Henderson, one of our home experts. It’s a wide range of topics.”

But Joe didn’t do it alone.

He emphasizes that social media at Target is a team effort. And he isn’t joking.

At Target, there are many teams that contribute to its social efforts. There’s Social Business Strategy, which focuses on content and platform strategy, building communities, measurement and operations, where Joe sits.

But that’s not all. Other Target teams who dip into social include public relations, talent acquisition, and a guest response team.

“If you came to Target as a team member, I think the message is that digital is everyone’s responsibility. It’s not just any one team — it’s up to everyone to be familiar with digital practices and participate. That’s the message across the board from our Target leaders.”

He says it’s part of the reason Target’s rolling out a type of digital university internally to train team members to use social, mobile, and digital tools to help them do their jobs.

A big social business challenge: Dispersing what they learn from social media throughout the organization.

“I think that’s an ongoing challenge with a lot of companies. Everyone’s interested in and passionate about digital. But it’s about how you simplify or take those great learnings from team to team and bring them together in a strategic plan,” Joe explains.

“With the operations team, for example, we have to determine how to share learnings that we’ve found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the business so that when people come with a request to post a piece of content to one of these platforms, they really understand how it can help the business.”

He says Target’s social media measurement team plays a large role in collecting valuable metrics, particularly with planned content and campaigns. For example, they can put a weighted score with each campaign that varies from platform to platform to get a sense of how it performs compared to past content and get insights on how to create future content.

They also measure for reactive issues like a crisis, to help determine what people are saying in the moment and how Target can respond using their guest contact center or social media community managers.

Joe says adapting and reacting to social media insights is one of his favorite parts of the job.

“The thing I love most is that change is constant, because I’m a naturally curious person. I think being comfortable with change is something people who work in social media need. The platforms are constantly changing, and the type of content your guest or audience wants is constantly changing. You have to want to test and try new things, apply the learnings back, and start that cycle over again,” explains Joe.

One of the changes that intrigues Joe is Target’s continued growth on Pinterest and figuring out how to best connect with guests on that platform. Right now, he’s focused on simplifying content planning, supporting the social business team’s technology needs, and educating the broader Target team about its social efforts.

Say hi to Joe on Twitter and ask him about playing the piano or getting to ask astronauts in orbit a question via Skype.

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