Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and so many other platforms tug at our attention from when we first wake up to when our face hits the pillow at night. Social media bombards us with information. The trick is, how do we excel in contributing content that stands out?
Lindsay Ford has been in the marketing industry for the past nine years, but it took her some time to realize social media was her passion. From starting as a SEO specialist to her current position as a social media PR content manager, Ford offered personal advice on how to be a social media guru.
To be an expert, act like one
When working in PR and social media, one might feel overshadowed by outspoken colleagues or fellow PR professionals. Don’t be intimidated.
“My only regret is being passive about my expertise and not positioning myself as an expert in the field sooner,” said Ford. Be aggressive when it comes to learning how to become successful in your position.
Ford worked for an in-house marketing team which she claimed worked more like an agency. She recalled that agency life was fast paced, and being aggressive was necessary to get things done. She advised volunteering for any project, task, or campaign you can. Ford stated, “Nothing makes you grow faster than digging in and getting your hands dirty.”
Learn how to strategize
According to Ford, the most important skills to have as a social media manager are knowing how to write, adapt and strategize.
Ford remarked, “In your career you’ll find clients and managers who want you to post something NOW! They think something needs to be posted on every social platform, every day, and I’m here to tell you that, that is a huge waste of your time and your audience’s time.”
People are overloaded with information. When you are posting just for the sake of it, Ford states that your content won’t be valuable to your audience and they will automatically tune it out.
Ford provided a list a questions to ask yourself before you post anything:
- “What is the purpose of this post?
- Who is my audience and where is my audience?
- What value does this bring them?”
Thinking critically, knowing your audience and preparing a plan are all tips to create intriguing content.
One of the first concerns as a PR student is what internship to apply for. Ford advised to find companies that have the capacity to hire you after your internship or a company that sells something you are passionate about.
Ford said, “The best way to reach out to these companies is through social media. Show them you’re good at social media by doing just that.” She cautioned, “Don’t post disrespectful, rude, or offensive things on your social profiles if you want a job in social media. Just don’t.”
Ford recommends saving all your work and creating an online portfolio to show it off. She claimed, “Showing your work to hiring managers and clients is one of the easiest ways to stand out from the crowd and get the position you want.” (You can view her own online portfolio at http://www.lindsayfordonline.com. )
Ford urges to stay active on social media and network with people in the industry such as hiring managers and clients. LinkedIn is a great resource to do this. In fact, LinkedIn is where Ford researched and landed the job she has now.
Anyone can become an expert in social media, it just depends on how hard you are willing to work for it. Ford went above and beyond in each position she was in. When she didn’t know how to do something, she figured it out. Confidence is key. Branding yourself online is your best resource. Start today by building your portfolio and prepare yourself by engaging in experience through internships and classwork.
Johanna Skaggs is a junior studying public relations at Brigham Young University. She is passionate about solving problems and inspires to work in media relations after she graduates. She enjoys swimming competitively, basking in the sun and exploring new places.