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422: Asking the Right Question and Staying Relevant on Social Media with Hootsuite CMO, Elina Vilk

Elina Vilk has been the Chief Marketing Officer at Hootsuite since August 2023. She has more than two decades of experience in the industry, but her love of marketing started years before that, when she was a 12-year-old refugee immigrant who had to raise money to get to her 8th grade graduation by being the top candy salesman at her school. Elina says this taught her a lot about marketing and gave her the first insights into consumer-based selling and asking the right questions that have continuously developed throughout her career. Prior to joining Hootsuite, Elina led marketing at WooCommerce, Small Business Marketing at Meta, spent nearly a decade at PayPal/eBay, and ran consumer and digital advertising at Visa. 

On the show today, Alan and Elina talk about Hootsuite’s new Social Media Consumer Report, key takeaways and insights markets should be thinking about in terms of making their brands more relevant and authentic, and the biggest mistakes brands make on social media. They also talk about the design thinking and human-centered marketing philosophy she utilizes to solve consumer’s real pain points, what it was like to be a digital marketer and social media manager before those terms even existed, and where social media is going in the future.

In this episode, you’ll learn about:

  • How human-centered design thinking helps marketers ask the right questions 
  • The purpose of the Hootsuite Social Media Consumer Report and key takeaways 
  • The future of social media and the biggest mistakes brands make online

Key Highlights:

  • [01:30] An entrepreneur at 12
  • [04:15] The career path from selling candy to CMO
  • [08:15] Things Elina learned along the way that she uses most now
  • [10:45] How design thinking fits into marketing
  • [13:00] The brilliance of “Got Milk”
  • [15:15] The purpose of the Hootsuite Social Media Consumer Report
  • [17:05] Report key takeaways 
  • [18:40] Beyonce released a country album, so Hootsuite did too.
  • [20:20] The worst social media brand sins
  • [22:25] What Hootsuite is doing on social 
  • [25:50] The future of social media
  • [27:00] How the immigrant mentality shapes who she is 
  • [28:30] Advice to her younger self
  • [30:45] Two things CMOs have to think about
  • [31:35] Specific subcultures of community building 
  • [33:35] How business levers map to the business impact 

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