Variety is the spice of life, or so the saying goes.
That’s certainly been true for William Granberry ’10. As a student at the College, he started out as a music major, moved into theatre, thought about arts management and finally settled on communication.
And, his professional life has followed the same trajectory, beginning with marketing and management in the music industry before evolving into branding and social media strategy as a senior content specialist for one of the largest influences on the Internet – Twitter.
True to form, the Raleigh, N.C., native says he chose the College because of the variety of academic majors from which to choose. He wanted to have the freedom to explore what he was really passionate about after high school.
“I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to major in, and CofC had a ton of different majors for me to explore and figure out what made sense for me,” Granberry recalls.
Ultimately, it was his fascination with human behavior that drove him to settle on communication.
“I’ve always been interested in people and what motivates them,” he says. “I was initially drawn to communication because of that innate curiosity.”
And, it was a perfect fit for the inquisitive student, who says his communication coursework “taught me a strong understanding of how people convey meaning through words, signs and symbols.”
The major opened up professional opportunities, too. Granberry participated in the Department of Communication’s internship program, securing placement with Gold Mountain Entertainment (GME), an artist management company in Charleston. That led to a full-time job with GME as a junior manager following graduation. He then moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to work with The Collective (now called Studio 71) to help get their in-house record label off the ground. The company specialized in helping artists manage their Internet releases and content.
“This is where I really got to sink my teeth into the digital space,” says Granberry. He managed online marketing campaigns for artists such as Alanis Morissette, the Counting Crows and Jimmy Cliff. “We ended up winning a Grammy for our Jimmy Cliff record titled Re.Birth,” he says, adding “I have a Grammy plaque that I’m proud of.”
After his experience at The Collective, Granberry decided he wanted to focus his efforts on digital and social spaces. He then made the leap to Capital Brands, a company that manufactures health-centric appliances such as the NutriBullet, where he maintained the brand’s identity across multiple social media platforms.
With all his experiences in online marketing, Granberry took his career to the next level in 2015, when he landed at Twitter to work with Niche, a division dedicated to partnering big-name businesses with social media creators to produce custom, branded content. Granberry and other Niche team members work to find online influencers and help them to share information on new products and services that may resonate with their many, many followers. The concept follows industry studies that show oftentimes consumers rely on word-of-mouth reviews (like a celebrity’s Twitter endorsement of a laptop), instead of traditional advertising.
“This, for me, was strangely perfect for my varied work history given that I had experience working directly with artists/creators and in-house experience doing social media for a brand,” says Granberry. “Twitter gives everyone the opportunity to have their voice heard. As an employee, watching huge social, political and cultural movements happen on the platform is so exciting.”
Every day brings a new story to tell and a new message to share. Indeed, in Granberry’s world, there’s plenty of variety to go around.
Photos by Leslie McKellar.