Thursday, 3 August 2017

Why I trained to be A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST



I have been a novelist and journalist all my working life, with some success –columns in The Times, Tatler and Easy Living, and three novels published – but with my children now at secondary school and more time to spare, I need another hook to add to my monthly earnings. During the last few years I have grown  my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook platforms and idly thought about managing platforms for others.

I offered my services to a local gift shop who were not going far on Instagram, but soon realised I had no clue how do manage platforms professionally. I kept hearing about Digital Mums, (they are very good at getting themselves in front of their target audience) and finally made the decision to bombard a kind woman in admissions with loads of questions.  I chose the programme partner course, which is open to people with a background in journalism or marketing, because I was drawn to the challenge of being set to work with a client straight away.

Ekwy and her Girls



video
When I discovered who my programme partner was, I panicked and rang Digital Mums, to say that my PP's business was way out of my comfort zone - botanical products specifically for Black hair. I worried that  I had no knowledge  how to care for black hair. I was offered another client, but I decided I was, in fact, more in tune with Equi Botanics.  I liked the idea that the products are #natural #crueltyfree and #vegan and that they are for women who are transitioning from weaves and wigs to keeping their hair natural. The political message interested me, it seemed outrageous that black women’s natural hair, was sometimes frowned upon in the work place or at school as being too messy and not conforming to white people’s standards. There were a few bumps at first, as we tried to understand where we were respectively coming from - as a white woman I got a few things wrong at first - but I began to feel passionate about the products and respect the founder, Ekwy enormously.

We were focusing on Brand Awareness, but the products had not yet launched, and that proved quite challenging. We had to work towards a competition and when we realised that products were not going to be ready as prizes, Ekwy agreed to make up ten bottles in her kitchen. I then literally forced her to film the procedure so that we could use it on Facebook and Twitter. She was very reluctant at first, but bravely went ahead. The short film was a huge success in terms of reach and engagement. 

I have always worked at home, so that was easy, but it was more difficult to embrace the business world with tools like Excel, spread sheets, figures and analytics that the course demands, (I have never been good at maths). Also at times, it seemed that every waking hour was taken up managing Equi Botanics’ campaign, and there were weeks when it all seemed exhausting and I had some sleepless nights worrying that it was all going to come crashing down.

I think when I finally chose a scheduling tool (I don’t think it was a co incidence that all my cohort chose the same one – Buffer – as I think we wanted to help each other along) and learnt how to use it,  that I relaxed a little and decided that maybe it was all going to be all right. I don’t think the course would have been possible without the other four women in our cohort. Although I have still not met them face-to-face, without their support on  What’s App and  Google hangouts, where we could moan and support each other, it would have been very difficult.

I was exceptionally pleased when the first Facebook Live of Ekwy and her children discussing their hair journeys, did fantastically well on Facebook, with a little help from a Facebook Ad boost. I was also thrilled when three key influencers on Twitter Retweeted our competition post after I sent them a Direct Message on Twitter.

I have just handed in my final report to Digital Mums and it's now August and I am about to go away. I want to find clients in the beauty or health industry, and I am also interested in supporting authors with their book campaigns, actors, musicians, film and theatre releases.  At this stage though I am open to everything that comes my way. Bring it ON!