As you may have gathered from this post, I am, indeed, taking a social media class this semester. You may be thinking, “But Ashley, you work in social media for your job, why even bother taking a class on it?”
I have an answer for you.
Outside of my HubSpot certification, I have zero formal training in social media. Everything I know I developed on my own through experience or material I have read. To me, it seems crucial to have certifications in my field to set me apart from others. Social media is this big entity that everyone seems to be involved with…but, not everyone knows about it as well as they think they do, or how to utilize it properly. I strive to always learn and improve.
I came into social media at a weird time; I joined Facebook in 2007, Twitter in 2011, Instagram in 2012. Things were evolving, but social media wasn’t a huge game changer like it is now. At least, that’s how it felt to me at the time…
I have been at my main job for almost 2 years. I have fluctuated from being part-time to full-time a lot, but I am now part-time again, fully concentrating on our social media and marketing. When I was hired, they gave me the reins and passwords to their social media. I was shocked that they had so much faith in me. To begin, I brainstormed content and strategies for weeks, so I could hit the ground running. In this time, I have expanded our presence from four social media channels to nine. Our Facebook page has seen a 265% increase in likes; our Twitter followers increased 340%. We launched our LinkedIn Business and Instagram pages, which aren’t as active as I’d like them to be, but we are there, connecting with our customers. (Logging in and out of Instagram between accounts is frustrating. No one has time for that.) I am in complete control of our media and to this day, they trust me with every aspect. With our internal marketing team, we have been able to revamp our social media and achieve great things for our company. The work I’ve been a part of here makes me really proud.
So, with all of this experience under my belt, what could I possibly want to get out of this social media class? Well, first, I want to improve on what I’m already doing. I want to learn how to establish better strategies and content. I want to learn how to better utilize my analytics to be more effective at what I do. I want to be more confident when I make mistakes and just fix it and try again. We are also utilizing HootSuite and HootSuite University. I will have another certification by April!
Through my main job, I have found some of this already. By truly focusing on my goals, I am able to find the knowledge to do better. And honestly, I read a lot – articles on the internet, blog posts, and social media guides and manuals – from companies like Hubspot, Hootsuite, Buffer, and Marketo.
And yes, I have found a lot of opportunities with my skills. Most communications/marketing jobs emphasize social media skills. In this day and age, you need these skills. You can’t just dive in and pretend you know what you’re doing. In fact, I found a freelance internship and a second part-time job where I can use my social media talents, as well as learn more about marketing and the digital world as a whole. I don’t want to gain experience in just one area, so I am creating a well-rounded set of talents for myself. Social media is constantly evolving and changing. You need to be on your A game.
“But wait Ashley…you just told us that you jumped in to doing social media at your job.”
Yes, and no…while I was in my undergraduate program, social media was beginning its rise to fame. There weren’t classes that told you want to do…during these times, students didn’t really know they could use these networks to market and connect with brands. But, we knew how to use our voice. Through my sorority and other organizations I helped lead, I was the Facebook girl. I created groups and pages; I “liked” everything. I developed skills that I didn’t realize I was developing. I didn’t realize that I could eventually get paid to post to Facebook and Twitter. These actions helped me land my current job because what I was already doing translated very well…and from there, I was able to grow and do the social media things I desperately wanted to be a part of…Everyone has to start somewhere.
“Fair enough…what else do you have to say about social media?”
Twitter is my favorite social networking platform, even though I hated it before I joined. I didn’t see the point of such short statuses (but as Timehop reminds me, I wrote really lengthy, embarrassing things on my Facebook wall), so joining Twitter was for the best. I just finished Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone. This book has reaffirmed my love for Twitter. The book shows how Twitter was conceived and developed. How the site is very diverse, allowing people from all over the world to connect with each other…and as a result, create change. Through Twitter, you can develop relationships with people you have never met or even a celebrity (parasocial relationships, anyone?). I think Twitter is crucial to our society – it spreads news faster than most news organizations (though, not always accurately). Twitter is concise, content-heavy, and versatile. They’ve added photo and videos features, as well as direct messaging and analytics. Maybe Twitter is meant to be a smaller community than Facebook. Some people don’t understand the culture of Twitter and I’m kinda okay with that.
Facebook is a beast of its own. It used to be my life blood. I wasn’t much of a gamer or anything, I just like posting statuses and pictures, and reading about the lives of my friends and acquaintances. Now that the platform has developed into such a pop culture thing, the company tries to have a hand in how people use the site (instead of just letting us do what we want, like Twitter). I do agree that Facebook is falling to the wayside…there are too many other applications and networking sites that are evolving and coming to the forefront. Users want to be in control and Facebook is relinquishing that control. Facebook is losing touch on what it has to offer. I use Facebook for work pages, but also to connect with the people in my life on a smaller, more intimate scale. Other than that, if the last 9ish years of my life weren’t embedding in their servers, I would probably quit Facebook. It doesn’t give me much satisfaction anymore…it’s really just a simplified email service.
Well, I think that’s all I have to say! Thanks for stopping by.
Comments are always welcome 🙂
Oh – visit (and like!) my business page for my social media class!