My path into the media production world is not a typical one. I tend to get a lot of questions both online and in-person how I started in engineering and ended up working in social media and content creation. Lots of young women specifically email or message me privately on LinkedIn, and I love giving insight from my personal experiences to help in their careers. Here are the answers I typically give to the frequently-asked questions I get on LinkedIn about working in social media. I hope you find it helpful!
1. What specific responsibilities does your social media & content role entail?
An average day of work typically consists of coordinating a lot of written and visual content from social to blog to email to meet projected deadlines. This includes drafting copy, scheduling social posts, collecting metrics, interacting with our online audiences, gathering user-generated content, brainstorming new ideas and working collaboratively with managers and graphic designers to create content that truly serves our audience. All of these tasks must adhere to brand campaigns, goals, and guidelines!
2. What does an average day look like for you working in social media?
Most of the day, I’m usually heads-down at work looking at a screen splitting hours between brainstorming, creating, publishing content for different channels or communicating feedback or the need for approvals for my work submissions. Some days include meetings like a one-on-one, team weekly, or end-of-week check-in, but they’re typically under 30 minutes and scheduled at the same day/time each week.
2. How did your college major and past work experience lead you to your current job?
My degree is definitely not the typical path of how you end up working in social media! The gist is that when I was in college, I needed a creative outlet from a very demanding major, so I created fashion and lifestyle content on a blog I started in high school. (The one you’re reading right now!)
I slowly grew a steady following with a few brand partnerships in the mix, but I was mostly excited because I grew a deep love for writing, copyediting, and design. It led to my first marketing job right out of college that was a perfect fit for me, because it allowed me to combine my background in oil and gas with social media and other online content. I actually go into detail about this in this Instagram post. I developed lots of skills and experience there to prepare me for future jobs to come!
3. What challenges do you face in your role every day?
Day-to-day, the biggest challenge I face is that heavy content creation days lead to major burn-out. I’ve learned that I have to manage my energy and time well by taking very intentional breaks even when I don’t feel like I need them. I read this book called When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink that changed the way I work and manage my energy. I’m so much more productive now and don’t struggle as much with the burn-out anymore. I highly recommend it!
4. What advice do you have for a soon-to-be college graduate?
I published a detailed blog post about the top advice I give to all college graduates. I sometimes find advice to not always be one-size-fits-all, so take my words with a grain of salt!
From my own experience, my advice is to try lots of things while you’re still young. The only way you’ll know if you like or don’t like something is if you try it, and it’s better to know now than later down the road when you might have more people like a family counting on you. In college, I wanted to be a baker, a designer, a florist, the list goes on…so I tried all of those things. I literally just asked if people were hiring and did exactly what you did. Reached out on LinkedIn. DM’ed small businesses if they were hiring interns. Tried stuff myself and learned even if it was unpaid because I knew that the experience was so valuable for me to know if it was the right career path for me or not, I didn’t care if I was monetarily compensated.
My second piece of advice is to fail fast. Making mistakes is inevitable and part of the growing process, so be easy on yourself and try to surround yourself with good people if you can control it. It’s good to make mistakes as long as you own up to them, learn from the experience, and grow.
Lastly, I highly recommend looking for mentors you trust who have been there/done that to give you sound advice if you want to work through things.
Is there anything else you’d like to know about being a social media coordinator? Let me know if the comments!