Chloe Lewis (16) and Lucy Hibbitt (17) were both unsure if sixth form was the right path for them after completing their GCSE’s. On their search for another option, they found the social media and digital marketing apprenticeship with Babington, and a work placement with marketing agency Love Marketing.
We sat down with them to gain an insight into what a social media and digital marketing apprentice does.
Hi guys, thanks for speaking with us! What do you get up to day to day on your social media and digital marketing apprenticeship?
Lucy: Working for a marketing agency, we work on the social media profiles of other companies – I use Facebook, while Chloe covers the Instagram. For example, some companies may not have the resources or time to use social media, or simply don’t know how. The companies will talk to us and give us an idea of what they want us to post, and then we will make a plan and post it on behalf of the company.
Chloe: We use a content calendar to help us plan what posts go out and when, and we then use Hootsuite to schedule the social media posts at different hours of the day.
What kind of skills have you picked up so far?
Lucy: I think we definitely have a greater understanding of social media sites now. There are loads of things happening in the background on Facebook that we didn’t know about. This includes things like the ‘insight’ section of a company Facebook page, which shows you how many people each post has reached. It meant we had to learn particular terms for social media including the differences between ‘reach’ and ‘engagement’. It isn’t just about writing posts, sharing, and so on.
Chloe: I think we are really getting to grips with the different tools and websites you can use to help you, including Hootsuite. I think competitor research was also important to carry out, so we can learn how other companies do things on social media, and what we can pick up as inspiration for ideas.
How did you find adapting from using social media as a ‘personal’ platform to using it for a company?
Chloe: You definitely have to change the way you normally write things – it’s more important, corporate, and professional. You’re almost speaking on behalf of everyone in the company, and not just yourself, whereas you can be more opinionated on your personal page.
How was meeting and talking to experienced clients – was it difficult to settle and find your confidence at first?
Lucy: At first it was quite difficult, yes. We have been telling our clients that as much as it’s a change for them to have a new social media site, it’s also new for us as learners.
Chloe: It can be difficult writing from one company which is very corporate and professional, and then writing for another which might be a bit more light-hearted. You have to listen to the clients and adapt yourself to different ways of saying things. It’s like picking up a new personality each time!
Did you find a bit of freedom at first as apprentices to experiment, as you are still learning?
Lucy: Yeah, we have tried a few different things, like using hashtags like #MondayMotivation, #FunFriday, and putting out daily marketing tips on our Facebook page. I feel like we get quite a bit of freedom to express ourselves in this role, and we then have the chance to speak to clients and negotiate why we think our idea would work.
What made you decide to start a social media and digital marketing apprenticeship?
Lucy: I just gave it a go straight from school! From looking at the job description I thought it looked really good, but I didn’t know too much about what it would involve in a business setting. A social media role has given us the chance to be creative, and if something works for us and gets a good reaction, then we will suggest it to the company we’re working for.
Chloe: Social media is pretty much the future of communication, it’s always changing and expanding, so it felt really exciting to get started. I think the apprenticeship is more personal for my learning as well. If we are struggling, we can help each other, or ask for advice from our tutors or boss. But at school, there’s a whole class full of people, and you’re getting lots of suggestions and answers from everyone. An apprenticeship has given me real one-to-one time to focus on my learning.
Any advice for those thinking of starting an apprenticeship, but are quite uncertain about entering the workplace?
Lucy: It can be scary after going through so many years of school straight into a job, but for me, it’s better than school, and more suited to how I want to learn. You’re learning from a young age about what having a real career is actually like.
Chloe: I think we’ve also picked up lots of new practical life skills which I wouldn’t have picked up had I continued with school. This includes more admin-related tasks, like how you organise your invoices, and important things which will help with any role.