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Showcasing a career in social media – Jess Siggers

We caught up with Jessica Siggers to talk to her about her career in social media so far.

If you’ve heard of Igers Bristol or if you’ve been to SMWiBristol, you most likely know Jessica Siggers. She is a Bristol-based Instagram Consultant, Social Media Influencer & photographer. Jess runs Igers Bristol (Bristol’s official Instagram network with 12.5k followers) and she is an Instagram ‘Suggested User’ (@Porthjess) with 38k followers.

Definitely a Social Media Professional. Very impressive. We had the pleasure to host Jess as one of our panellists on our “A career in social media” event as part of Bristol Social Media Week – a very insightful discussion. We want to share some more beyond the event (and also for those who have missed it) because our Social Media Employment and Use Survey revealed a clear confusion around ‘what a career in social media’ entails and also the lack of a definition of a career path for Social Media Professionals.

Here our chat with Jess about her career journey so far…

ADLIB: How did you get ‘into’ social media. What has been the career path that lead you to it? 
Jess Siggers: After ten-years in office management/business development within the engineering sector, I quit my job to bring up my daughter & got back into an old photography hobby by photographing colourful bits of Bristol during our walks around the city.

An acquaintance then asked if I’d consider selling her some of my photos, which led to another friend suggesting I post my daily photos to Instagram.

I signed up to Instagram with no idea at that stage how much of a key event this would be towards leading me to my career.

I quickly realised that there was an untapped niche in showing the world just how beautiful & colourful Bristol is & I created a website and online store where I could sell prints & canvases of my images.

Nine months after signing up to Instagram and with a steadily growing following which had reached around 6k plus a small handful of photographic clients, I was contacted by café chain Pret A Manger to work with them on a new campaign, photographing some colourful new Pret products against Bristol backdrops. I was described as an ‘influencer’, which was the first time I’d heard this term – I had to Google it!

I was then approached to take over running the Bristol Instagram network, Igers Bristol, and not long afterwards was contacted by Instagram themselves to congratulate me on becoming one of their ‘Suggested Users’.

This was the second key event which led me to where I am now; my followers peaked at 40k & within a few weeks I began to be approached by other new clients in my capacity as an Influencer.

I found an organic formula which worked for me and continues to work (I’ve increased my followers by 6k in the last year, rising daily) with me sharing my findings via Instagram Potential and Smartphone Photography workshops while continuing to sell my images/prints and work as an Influencer for clients such as Canon UK, Cross Country Trains, Finisterre & Farrow & Ball.

In my role as head of Igers Bristol, I also work alongside Visit Bristol and most Bristol tourist venues to promote the city via Instagrammer community photography, competitions and photowalks/Instameets and from a following of 800 when I first took over, we’re now at 12.5k…something I’m hugely proud of.

ADLIB: What does a typical day/week look like for you now (if there is such thing) and what do you like most about your job?
Jess Siggers: There really is no typical day/week! This current week as an example…
So far I’ve run two Smartphone Photography workshops for a Bristol University project group, provided a batch of twenty images to an insurance firm who are using my photography as part of a rebrand, edited other images to send to a large UK-based holiday firm for use in a forthcoming campaign, packed orders for collection by The Bristol Shop and met with Visit Bristol about an Igers Bristol/Christmas collaboration.

And that’s what I like most about my job: no two days/weeks are ever the same!

ADLIB: What avenues do you recommend to people within social media to keep their skills and industry knowledge up to date?
Jess Siggers: I recommend joining local media networks such as Bristol Media & Enterprise Nation, attending the many regular social media workshops/networking sessions/conferences held around the city such as Rules Of Engagement, Bristol Media ‘Media Tuesdays’ & Vision and sign up to agency/tech newsletters such as those by Battenhall, The Next Web & Hootsuite.

ADLIB: If you came out of school today, what would you find helpful to encourage more people to pursue a career within social media?
Jess Siggers: Understanding social media is now an essential skill for a great number of jobs. And although university is essential for some careers, it’s not for all. Knowledge is power, rather than grades! So far personally I’ve found my social media career to be interesting, satisfying & hard work but fun. I’ve learned a number of new skills and met some good friends as well as great business contacts.

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?
Jess Siggers: Tap into your true passions, pursue them relentlessly, work hard, be nice to people and everything will eventually fall into place.
Oh, and pssst – everybody’s winging it!

 

Thank you Jess for sharing!