Now that people are spending a daily average of 2 hours and 51 minutes on the internet (even more so if you’re like me), companies are starting to see endless opportunities in interacting with their customers online.
A social media apprenticeship will give you the chance to sell a company’s ideas in lots of creative ways: by reacting to trends; by posting written content, photographs, and videos; and by interacting on Facebook, Twitter, and other websites.
With the Internet changing so often, working in social media and digital marketing is an exciting and diverse area, in which you can develop a huge range of skills. There really is no ‘code’ to follow, but there are a few things that all social media jobs should involve.
Work on a game plan
With social media’s fast moving nature, it’s easy to feel lost about what to post, when, and why. This is why strategising and creating a content calendar is essential for your peace of mind.
You will need to outline your goals, and have a picture in your head of the company’s ideal customer (or a few of them, if your audience varies). You should ask yourself: what are they interested in? What time are they likely to check their Twitter account? How can you help solve their problems? Knowing these things will help you to plan content, schedule posts, and keep organised!
A lot of Twitter and Facebook accounts appear to post all day every day. That’s because they keep to a tight schedule, using programs like Hootsuite and Buffer as tools to keep their audience updated and engaged. These are just two of many apps, programs, and websites that are essential tools to plan, strategize, and target.
Raise your voice
As the company’s online voice, you will represent the spirit and personality of the business. This will involve retweeting, posting, and engaging in conversations with customers and other like-minded companies. The key word is exposure.
If you’re always checking out the latest trends, memes, and hashtags, this is a skill that probably comes naturally to you. But bear in mind that your own interests might not be the same as the company’s – always try to keep it relevant to the audience and engaging.
Lots of customers can take to Twitter to make a complaint – the advantage being that it’s visible for everyone to see. It’ll be up to you to react quickly and positively, and let others see that you’re keeping your customers satisfied. This will also mean knowing how to respond to trolls and negative feedback.
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Research and analyse
At my first work experience in digital marketing, one of my tasks was to collect and analyse all of the likes, shares, and retweets on the Twitter and Facebook accounts over the past month. My supervisor told me: ‘This is far from the most entertaining part of the job, but it’s possibly the most important.’
Looking at the statistics gives you an insight into what posts and content are working, what aren’t, and why. This is a learning experience that allows you to change your content with this new information in mind – making it better and better each time.
You should also carry out research into how competitors are doing over social media (e.g. how much engagement – comments, shares, likes, they get on their Facebook updates) to discover what works for them, as they’ll be targeting the same people as you. It may also give you an insight into how you can jump in and snap up their customers.
Companies are always fighting for space on your Twitter and Facebook streams. But to grab your attention and not completely annoy you, brands will need to have engaging content.
It can be tempting to share pictures of grumpy cat and fail videos and consider it ‘great content’. But if you have strategized, researched, and engaged with the online community, you should already have some idea what valuable content you can put out.
This part of the role means experimenting – and you might find yourself picking up plenty of new skills by doing so. You could create blogs, vlogs, infographics, or guides. The trick is to get the right mix for your customers, and either give them useful information, entertain them, or inspire them.