Life as a Social & Search Manager
To shed some light on ‘what a career in social media looks like’, we’ve caught up with a range of Social Media Professionals to showcase career journeys and paths into the industry. This series is inspired by Social Media Week Bristol; which is designed to upskill, inform, explore ideas and opportunities and further the conversation on key issues in media, marketing and technology.
ADLIB: How did you get into social media? What has been the career path that led you to it?
I started in digital marketing around 10 years ago after joining a start-up business. In a startup, you must adapt and take on new skills as the business grows and faces new challenges. It was through this I took on the responsibility of improving the online presence of the business, learning on the job about SEO and social marketing.
From there I moved into the agency world. Agencies are a fantastic place to learn your trade as no two clients are the same, and therefore no two projects are the same. This allowed me to develop my skills as a digital marketer.
ADLIB: What does a typical work day/week look like for you now (if there is such thing) and what do you like most about your job?
A typical week for me as the Head of Search and Social at True revolves around my team and our clients. Whilst the details may change, my priorities are ensuring the team have the tools, resources, information and support required to deliver client projects. As part of this, it’s also critical that I stay on top of the latest trends in digital marketing so we can continue to provide innovative and effective solutions.
ADLIB: What avenues would you recommend to people within social media to keep their skills and industry knowledge up to date?
I would encourage social marketers to look outside of the channels. Get to the heart of the challenges of your audience and this will help you to communicate and create content which will resonate. Spend some time with your UX team, spend some time with the Strategy and Planning department and ask questions about who and why.
This will force you to think differently about how you use channels. Rather than thinking “What should we do on Facebook this week?” you start asking questions like “Which channels are most appropriate for our audience, and how can we best meet their requirements?”
ADLIB: If you came out of school today, what advice would you find helpful to pursue a career within social media? What should the industry be doing to attract new talent?
Today’s grads know how to use the channels. They were born into them and so take to them naturally. I would be advising those looking for a career in social media to learn to ask the right questions and develop an audience first mindset. Everyone can learn how to schedule a tweet, but only those who really understand their audience will be able to create content which helps build a connection between brand and customer.
ADLIB: And finally, what piece of advice would you give your younger self, just entering social media as a professional? Is there any advice that could have helped you along the way?
The advice I would give myself is to just roll with it! This industry is changing all the time and there are always things you don’t know. If you can accept that early, it makes you more curious and open to exploration. The way people consume content is moving faster than ever, so if you just work with what you know very quickly you will get left behind. Don’t worry too much if something doesn’t work, at least you tried, and you will be more knowledgeable than the person who didn’t.
Thanks so much for sharing, Thomas!