Thursday, 14 June 2018

5 things I learnt as a Social Media Intern

Good morning/afternoon/evening to you lovely lot- I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far! I've spoken a lot about my placement year and internship journey since completing my second year at university in May 2017, and consequently embarking upon a (sometimes bumpy!) journey into the fashion and beauty worlds in London. I wrote a post back in January detailing my entire placement experiences to date (which you can have a read of HERE incase you missed it!) in which I shared that my journey began in fashion styling, moved into PR and eventually ended in social media and content creation. I'm so pleased to have experienced each of these areas and wholeheartedly loved aspects of all of them, however feel totally head over heels in love with the world of social media and content creation that I have now found myself in! As an avid Instagram/Twitter/YouTube user, I thought I knew a lot about social media before beginning my role, however after 8 months interning with Birchbox, I've 100% learnt more than I could have ever imagined! I thought I'd share this post today, not only as a way for me to look back on just how far I've come, but also to hopefully provide some insight into the social media as a career for anyone who may be interested in it- enjoy!

There is no such thing as time off from the internet:

Working in social media, and also being a little (read: a lot) addicted to scrolling Twitter/Insta/Pinterest/all of the above means not an hour goes past that I'm not online in some capacity. Whether that means me planning and scheduling tweets for work, watching a vlog on my lunch break or editing an Instagram photo on my tube journey home, I spend 97% of my time on the internet. Even in my 'downtime', I'm still forever 'saving' inspiration photos to my Insta collections or watching brands Facebook Lives to share in my weekly competitor report- when the internet is both work and play, finding a balance is v v tough. Thankfully I'm totally in love with my job and everything that comes with it, making the idea of not *fully* switching off not appear to be a terrible one! Of course when it gets to 6pm and I shut my (work) laptop for the day, I do try my best to separate my work vs life balance, but in the world of social media it can be tricky to achieve a balance!

A thesaurus will become your best friend

Now this is slightly more related to the content aspect of my placement, but when it comes to writing new product descriptions and social copy, there's only so many ways to describe a volumising mascara or hydrating cleansing oil. No matter how exciting a launch may be, it can prove prettyyyy difficult to create engaging and enticing messaging about a product or brand when you've already spoken about it 10 times that week. That's when an online thesaurus saves the day with alternative words and phrases to spice up your copy writing skillz and make life a whole lot easier! I also keep a note of any copy I see on other websites that I find inspiring or think might work in the context of my placement, so I always have fresh and new ideas on hand when I'm battling writers block. I've always loved writing, however before studying fashion and beginning my placement year, I only really thought of it in the context of journalistic articles and working for a newspaper or magazine. Since becoming immersed in the worlds of fashion and beauty, I'm SO thrilled to be able to channel my love for writing into shorter, snappier style copy that appears in a friendly and sometimes informal tone of voice. After 8 months working in social media, I'm still obsessed with copy writing!

Data, Data, Data. 

As much as I was happy to leave my year 9 ICT lessons behind, safe (or so I thought) in the knowledge that I would never need to use Excel again, it seems my somewhat lacking microsoft skills have come back to haunt me. My previous knowledge of a role in social media was based on the idea of executing super creative campaigns or finding the perfect meme to go with your FriYAY tweet (a genuine part of my role), yet rather naively I foolishly didn't appreciate the data that informs copy, imagery, posting times and even the use of emojis. It of course makes sense to me now that brands monitor their engagement, click through rates and impressions, but before beginning my placement I was naive of its value and is definitely something I'll be taking away to hopefully improve my own social channels! 

Your co workers have SO much in common with you 

"Did you see Zoella's vlog last night?" / "LOL did you see the hilar meme that Missguided just tweeted?" / "OMG did you see Glossier just launched a mascara?!". Without sounding shallow, so many of the conversations with my desk buddies and fellow social media gals revolve around what just happened on Twitter. It's literally our jobs to be switched on when it comes to industry launches and influencer activity, so it really is no surprise that we're 24/7 thinking about YouTube and Instagram, but it definitely helps that we're super passionate about the area we work in and gain so much enjoyment from being so immersed in the digital world. It's so much fun sharing interests as well as job roles, and my position as a social media intern has definitely shown me just how enjoyable a job you love can be!

Expect the unexpected

Whether that's a customer comment that is really wild, the Instagram algorithm well and truly messing up engagement, or the Spice Girls reuniting/the beast from the east making an appearance/Harry and Meghan getting engaged/any of the above, you need to expect the unexpected when working in social media. I for one love a perfectly planned schedule and to-do list but when social is concerned, being reactive to current affairs and popular culture often prompts the best engagement, making focusing on topical conversation super important. By all means I've learnt to plan ahead as much as possible (mainly because it's such a fast paced industry that you can't afford not to plan things to at least some degree) but also being flexible enough to accommodate last minute changes is a must! I'm slowly learning to become *slightly* less of a perfectionist, and it actually feels pretty good!

Let me know if you have a role in social media or content creation and you can relate to any of the above, or of any misconceptions and learnings you've taken from a role that surprised you!

The gorgeous prints featured in this post were gifted to me by the LOVELY Annie Dornan Smith. You can check out here gorgeous shop via this link for beautiful homeware, apparel, pins, patches and more! 
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