Today, we’re featuring an interview with Noah King, VP Group Director and Global Product Lead for Socialyse, the social team embedded in Havas Media in about 40 markets globally. Noah helps define the Socialyse product offering through partnership, procurement, and co-creation of innovative social media tools and platforms.

Noah has a design background and a master’s degree in Digital Technology from NYU. He volunteers regularly for charitable causes and has a deep interest in wine.

What’s your role and what does an average day in your life look like?

I lead the paid social marketing efforts for Havas Media in Boston as part of Socialyse.

Most of the day, I’m in meetings: client presentations, internal strategy and staffing plans, hands-on managing, etc. Mentorship is a big part of the role. I have frequent individual meetings with the team to coach them and help build a foundation of professional skills.

What’s it like being in social advertising right now?

I think it’s very exciting to work in social advertising right now. We’re at a point in time where every week significant changes are unfolding in our industry. Whether it’s the social publishers rolling out platform updates or announcing partnerships…everything’s in flux. I like to say that it feels like I’m surfing and riding this innovation wave and the wave keeps getting bigger and bigger. All you can do is to stay on the front edge as much as possible.

What is one skill you have that has helped you be the best marketer you can be?

I think that the most important skill is listening. You can interpret that a few different ways.

When it comes to being an objective-driven, performance marketer, you have to really listen and understand your client’s business in order to build a really great and structured media brief. If you can really listen to what the client’s needs are and capture it in the brief, then everyone’s on the same page of what’s important and the rest is just hard work and fulfilling that vision.

Listening is also important on the execution side because, often, there are so many different channel experts who are all working together. We have to make sure our programs are synchronized with each other and that can’t happen unless everyone listens. If you are operating in a silo or pushing for a personal win, then you aren’t doing right by your clients.

And finally, listening to customers to see how they’re reacting to your marketing in market is one of the most important skills any marketer can have. The best marketers aren’t planning on assumptions, they’re putting their messages and media into market and observing customer behavior to align with what they want.

How are you keeping up with this rapidly evolving Social space?

Admittedly, I’m not doing a perfect job. I remember my first internship in social media and at that time I had the bandwidth to read all of the different trades. I’d spend hours every day on Mashable, TechCrunch, etc. but I just don’t have the time to do that as much as I would like to. I do what I can. For example, on my commute, I scan Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. and I do still read certain key articles each week.

I’m in meetings most of the time, so I actually get a lot of information with partners. I’m meeting with Facebook and Twitter every week. I meet with our reps like 4C. These people are talking to a lot of other social marketers and always have interesting things to say. Once, again, listening is such a crucial skill.

I’m at the point now where because I have a lot of meetings every quarter, I’m pretty up-to-speed on the most important macro trends so I’ve become less reliant on the day-to-day news cycle.

What’s your best social advertising tip, trick, or best practice?

Put multiple ads and audiences in market in real-time. At its simplest, it’s A/B testing, but at its most complex, it could be hundreds of permutations and multivariate testing. Let the programmatic algorithms figure out what’s best and then learn what’s working to help influence and improve on your next campaign.

I know you use a variety of social tools, but what do you like about 4C’s offering?

3 things that 4C offers that I think no one is caught up to:

  • Ad Syncing. Syncing ads based on live weather, sports, and TV moments.
  • Workflow. 4C makes it easy to quickly create and manage ads so that we can quickly load permutations. As I said before, my biggest tip is to put a lot of different campaign elements into market to learn what’s working.
  • Affinities. There are some real clever ways to find people by traversing the social graph and identifying patterns and affinities. For example, if I’m trying to reach a very expensive and competitive finance audience, I might be able to find those same people via alternative targeting parameters, all at a lower cost. Utilizing behavior, affinity, and emotion can be a very compelling way to reach people.

What’s your career advice for someone who is thinking about getting into social advertising?

The advice for young people who are considering social advertising as a career path is to be empathetic and listen well. You have to be agile and flexible. The world of social media is changing. If someone’s a freshman in college and wants to do this, the world will have changed by the time they get out. And then a few years later, it will change again.

Remember, the goal is to stay on the surfboard, even if you don’t know where that wave is going to take you. Be open to serendipity. Be open to change.