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Article: Strong Voice Interview #37: Mathilde Burnecki

Strong Voice Interview #37: Mathilde Burnecki

In this Strong Voice interview, we delve into the journey of Mathilde Burnecki, a prominent figure in the realm of Meta expertise. From her roots in journalism to her pivotal role at Meta, Mathilde shares insights into her career trajectory and the lessons learned along the way.

"I firmly believe that everything comes in its own time and that some doors have to close first, [...] in order to open up other possibilities."
Mathilde Burnecki

 Mathilde Burnecki

Photo: Fabian Kirchner

Dear Mathilde, you are the first person people think of when they have questions about Instagram. How did you get to this position?

What many people may not know is that I worked in journalism before my position at Meta. I completed a traditional apprenticeship as an editor and worked in this profession for almost 12 years. In total, I've been working in the media for almost 18 years - I've worked in entertainment media, radio stations, and magazines such as Grazia, OK!, BRAVO, and others. I led a team and became editor-in-chief of the editorial team at the age of 25. Throughout my career, I pursued other passions such as setting up video production at the publishing house and overseeing the first vertical FotoLoveStory from BRAVO or Dr. Sommer in the new digital world. Shortly before I was recruited by Meta (Facebook at the time), I had the opportunity to establish a native marketing department at the publishing house. This department was the first to handle the marketing and implementation of native customer solutions for classic media brands on social media. I thought to myself at the time, if creators can earn money with cool native advertising content, then media companies with large communities on their social channels should be able to do the same, right?

What is the most important asset you have learned in your professional life so far?

I firmly believe that everything comes in its own time and that some doors have to close first, and this may not make sense to you at first, but it is essential for the further course of events in order to open up other possibilities. A sentence that has stayed with me to this day comes from my training, in which my academy lecturer said: “Take a look around this room. Congratulations, this is your network! Remember, you will always meet again and again. Support each other, teach each other something, and always remember: you will see each other at least twice in your lives.” And that's still the case today, and I can tell everyone: cultivate your network and lift other people to where you want to be lifted. And I still think about that today. When I hear from someone or see something that I can help with, I ask directly and go straight into action. Because I have experienced both worlds myself. I have received support from great people in my life who saw what I had to say at the right moment. But I also know the other side, in which the “young and not too tall-looking” woman is often underestimated and not heard at first, a la “that must be the intern”. So that it doesn't happen to others, especially at events, in meetings, or on stage, I make sure to give everyone a stage so that they are not OVERheard but heard.

Do you have a personal or professional goal that you would like to achieve this year?

If you had asked me that when I was 23, my answer would have been very clear: The next career step. Editor-in-chief, that's what I was working towards! But I realize that higher, further, faster, more and more is not what gives me fulfillment. When I can let off steam creatively, implement “out-of-the-box” ideas with a wide variety of people, my heart is filled with joy. Just recently, for example, I was able to take part in an event with with great creators and a brand about how women can overcome the Impostor Syndrome aside when it comes knocking again. On the other hand, I get to support female creators every day and help them raise their voices, create things and give a stage to everything from entertainment to important topics so that they can successfully find their brand and their target groups. It's the mix that makes the difference and I hope I can stay true to finding the right balance between work and empowerment - in the online and offline world.

We now live in an “always on” society. We are constantly connected to each other via Instagram and can access all information almost all the time. How do you manage to consciously take breaks from this?

You expressed it quite well: "In the meantime, we live." I think that's the crux of the matter. It's up to us, and we all have to keep reminding ourselves and each other that we can and must shape our own lives. In other words, when I realize that it's too much for me and I need a time-out, I set a reminder to take time out within the app. That way, I have a little reminder that kicks me out of the app. And as a Meta employee, I can also say: You can and should be offline sometimes. It's not the amount of time you spend on the platform that matters, but the content. Please only consume things that you want to consume. Do your homework and curate your feed accordingly. For example, at some point during the coronavirus crisis, I clearly muted all news channels because I realized that all the negative reports weren't doing me any good. Create your own experience and follow accounts that offer you added value, that entertain you. You're in the driver's seat, so please take control. I often see people complaining instead of taking the wheel themselves.

You now have a strong personal brand yourself - is that something you “slipped into” or did you (or perhaps Instagram) consciously push it?

I actually slipped into it a little during Corona. All workshops and individual meetings & training sessions were only held via video conference and I realized that when I closed my laptop afterwards, I was suddenly completely alone again and the space for exchange, questions and further discussions was completely cut off. And so it started that I shared summaries from training courses, updates on features, tips and tricks and my own experiences on the Instagram account, firstly to get feedback, as this is essential for our product, and secondly to strengthen the exchange and knowledge. That's actually where I come from: even at BRAVO, I realized that there are so many channels that offer an opportunity to educate people even more - why not use them myself? Today, I am very grateful for my community, which not only asks the right questions and gives important feedback, but also provides a lot of information itself and we have already been able to dispel some myths.

Especially in the business context, LinkedIn is now the platform for personal branding, but I am also seeing more and more business creators becoming active on Instagram. How do you perceive this shift and what advantages does it have for business creators to also be active on Instagram?

A social network is there to exchange ideas, and each of us is an individual. For every person, there is another person who is interested in exactly what the other person finds interesting. Therefore, as I mentioned in my last panel, I recommend that anyone who feels like it should engage with topics that they find interesting and enjoyable (and it doesn't matter whether it's about something personal, their profession, or a hobby). For example, if I want to become a roofer and find an Instagram account of a roofer who gives me insight into their world, that's great added value for me, isn't it? And in my opinion, LinkedIn and Instagram complement each other fabulously. While a summary with key takeaways can take place on LinkedIn, on Instagram I can see the "how" and "why."

Topic Instagram: What myth do you still encounter today that simply isn't true, and what feature do very few people know about but that you totally love?

I think one of the most persistent myths revolves around content that includes advertising. Many believe that Instagram or Meta penalizes or shows less of posts because a person advertises a product in the post. That's total nonsense. Earning money with content by creators collaborating with brands is a wonderful opportunity. For example, we offer the "Paid Advertising Partnership with..." tool, which ensures compliance with advertising legislation on advertising labeling, and also eliminates the annoying screenshots of insights afterward because the linked customer also sees the insights. It would be pretty stupid if we offered such a tool and then penalized content/accounts that use the tool. But I can tell you why some people have the feeling that their advertising content is not performing as well as their actual "organic" content. This is due to two things: Firstly, many advertising contents are simply not good. Advertising that fulfills all touchpoints is also a kind of art, a kind of talent - the "one fits all" solution usually doesn't work at all. Secondly, many different people follow you. Just because they all have something in common, that they all like to follow you, doesn't mean, conversely, that they are interested in everything you would recommend. You can promote the best bag on the market :) but not 100% of your followers are interested in it or need one, etc.

One of my current favorites, and underrated by many (good for those who are currently performing there!): Threads & WhatsApp Broadcast. To be able to place your brand or your message sustainably, you need several pillars. Almost everyone in Germany uses WhatsApp, and accounts that are smaller on Instagram experience how quickly they can grow there, especially on WhatsApp. There you will find an even larger target group and can serve them in a completely different way. But Threads also offer a new and additional opportunity to play out topics differently. It's the shorter/more concise and on-point Insta version with a direct line to interaction. Have you already checked out the Teekanne, ProSieben, or Meta Deutschland account?

And now, honestly and first-hand: How important are the Instagram communities, but also Threads? Who is it particularly suitable for?

Threads allow you to play specific topics - even without a visual behind them. Text, pure and clean. If you need more, there are GIF, image and poll options. But essentially, it's about the quick exchange and direct communication with other people who are interested in the same topic.

When did you first hear about AMELI and can you tell us which bag on your wish list?

Targeting at its best! I have to hand it to you - your ads are really appealing and hit the mark. I've been looking for a tote bag for a while now, a kind of daily version of the Neverfull, but one that has more to offer. Inside pockets, weather & travel proof, laptop suitable, cable clutter saver AND for me very important: shoulder pain reliever! During long business days, I could curse my previous bags, which I naturally liked very much, nevertheless having to constantly carry them in my hand and/or on one shoulder... your backpack option, without the typical backpack look, then got me and I fell for the classic Viadukt Work in black, which has accompanied me on business trips since then and I wouldn't want to be without it!


Mathilde Burnecki (@thild.a) is Strategic Partner Manager at Meta. She is the link between creators/public figures or media companies on Instagram, Facebook & WhatsApp and the company itself. Mathilde is a real expert in the media sector: she was the youngest employee at BRAVO. After working for brands such as GRAZIA and OK!, she took over the editorial management of BRAVO Digital in 2015. In 2017, she took over the management of the content marketing department for all media brands of Bauer Xcel Media, including Cosmopolitan, TVMovie, Lecker, Autozeitung and Wunderweib, among others. Since August 2018 she has been working for META.

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