How did you build a career in social media?
I often get asked how I came to work in social media, which is a valid question considering I never could have dreamt of being a social media manager as a kid! It all started during my junior year at Colorado State University when I was tasked with creating a marketing plan for my future. Inspired by the growing social media niche, I created a plan that included social media as the central aspect of my career. Little did I know, that marketing plan would actually serve as the foundation for where I am today. I began integrating social media in all my marketing projects, and started managing social media channels for friends and family. Concurrently, I landed an awesome internship with GoAbroad.com as the social media intern, where I had the fortune of helping grow GoAbroad's social media presence. That internship evolved into helping conceive GoSocial, a social media management and consulting service, in which I became a community manager for several international education organizations. I consider myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to get real world experience in social media while I finished up my degree in marketing. Upon graduation, I accepted the position of GoMedia Coordinator, where I primarily oversee GoSocial, and our team of community managers.
What opportunities has social media brought you?
Because I just couldn't get enough, I also completed my senior honors thesis by creating a website and blog that was focused on social media. The goal of the site was/is to provide a resource for students to learn how to use social media to help promote themselves or a business. After being dormant for a period of time, I have recently revived SocialMediaForStudents.com with a new look, new content, and more consistent guest posts from other social media students and professionals. As a result of working on the site, as well as my own personal social media presence, I have added more opportunities to my resume, including acting as a mentor to HootSuite's Campus Ambassador program, and guest posting on blogs like Mandy's Mashups! And because I am a true social media nerd, I can't wait to get involved with whatever else social media has to offer.
In terms of social media, management tools are my best friend! At work I'm overseeing and managing over a dozen social media presences, and at home I'm coordinating everything I do for SocialMediaForStudents.com, HootSuite, as well as the other brands I manage for family friends, all of which I wouldn't be able to manage without some handy dandy social media tools. At the top of my list is HootSuite, which is an invaluable social media dashboard, scheduler, team management tool, and report generator, among other things. I also use several tools to help curate content, including but not limited to Google Alerts, Pulse, and StumbleUpon. Beyond that, I find that keeping myself organized is the best way to stay efficient and consistent, so I actually have different browsers and calendars set up for each area of my work. For example, Chrome is all work and GoAbroad related, complete with relevant bookmarks, my Google Calendars, and saved passwords (life-saver!), whereas Safari is home to my personal email, my WordPress CMS for SocialMediaForStudents.com, and my blog's editorial calendar.
What is your favorite aspect of social media?
Results! While social media is notoriously variable, forever changing, and hard to measure, there is a kind of joy and excitement when your page or channel starts yielding engagement, growth, and results. I love hearing from my clients that they had X amount of leads from Facebook one month, or that Twitter was a top referrer for their website last quarter. The fact is that social media works as a marketing tool, and my favorite part is when people and clients accept that realization through results.