Rising Stars: How John Lockett Hits His Social Goals
Driven is hardly an adequate adjective to describe GQ’s engagement editor, John Lockett. Hired right out of college to manage syndication and digital development for several Condé Nast brands, a year later, he was in charge of social media at Vanity Fair.
Lockett, 27, dipped his toes in the magazine media industry when he joined Condé’s summer internship. He participated in the corporate editorial program and admits that having Susan Caplow, current CCO of SheKnows Media, as a mentor taught him more than all four years of journalism school combined.
A year after graduation, as social media manager at Vanity Fair, he was completely immersed in the world of social media. So when he was promoted last March to his current role he tells min that his goal was to “take GQ social to a place where it felt like the machine was firing on all cylinders.”
He says that this involved establishing a strong, consistent voice and visual identity, which are the two most important components of any social media strategy. “My proudest moment would have to be our 2016 NBA Draft video portraits,” he says.
For that project, GQ, Instagram, and director Adam Wissing filmed the NBA’s 2016 Rookie Class inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The brand gave fans an exclusive first look at basketball’s most promising prospects “fresh off the podium.”
Other major goals Lockett has hit in his short career include: Growing GQ’s Instagram account into the leading men’s brand, writing a social headline that reached 15 million people on Facebook, and writing an article on fixing patchy beards. “Definitely my Mona Lisa,” he says.
“Magazines have always been in my life, from piles of National Geographics around the house from as far back as I can remember to an early subscription to GQ when I was just learning how to tie a tie (clip-ons were a staple through middle school). The format has always intrigued me,” Lockett says.
He loves the form because it’s the perfect combination of storytelling—both written and visual. “Nothing captures a moment in time better than a magazine. You look back at old issues of GQ or Time or Newsweek, and it’s like thumbing through a time capsule.”
He has accomplished so much in such a short period of time in the industry, but what’s next for Lockett? He says, “My main goal is to do something on social that’s never been done before, a moment where I can really drop the mic. I also want to apply my knowledge and experience in audience engagement to other parts of the brand.”
Lockett also wants to be the first social media editor to win an Emmy Award. “Or any gold statue,” he adds.
He says that although most of GQ’s plans for the rest of the year are top secret, readers should keep an eye on the brand’s accounts in December. “Our Men of the Year party is always an incredible event with lots of opportunities to do cool stuff,” he says.