You know what’s really frustrating?
Being on Spring Break and seeing all the annoying Facebook and Twitter status updates that read, “Puntaaa Cannaaa”, and “We About to Get Loose!!!”, and “Shots, Shots, Shots!!!!”
Or something like that. Either way it’s been pretty annoying.
Or maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part because I didn’t do something wild and crazy for Spring Break. (Senior year I know right?)
Anyways, I decided to be productive and make some moves on my life after Duke.
While at home I reformatted my resume and wrote cover letters for a few job openings, but the single most important thing I did over Spring Break was network.
And my emphasis on networking yielded some fantastic results.
A week ago I met up with an older friend who works for the social media marketing agency M80, owned by media agency Mediacom.
It was probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve had to date.
I really loved the casual environment of the place. It was how I imagined a media agency to be.
Wide open spaces. Free food. Everything was laid back. There may have been one guy in a suit. Foul language was encouraged. But apparently not when using a brands Twitter account 🙂
ESPN was there doing a Lunch and Learn. (Foolishly I did not stay for lunch)
But those are just semantics. The real important part was talking to the employees. I was fortunate to have someone come up and talk to me and explain exactly what it was like to work in a social media marketing agency.
Here are some things I took away from my experience:
1. Think about using social media from a brand perspective.
When I first sat down to talk to my friend’s colleague, the first question he asked me was, “Why do you want to work in social media?”
I paused and thought for a moment. Why do I like social media?
I couldn’t really come up with a satisfactory response so I said, “Because I love connecting with people?”
Apparently this was not good enough, and I got a harsh reality check.
Just because I have a Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin account does not mean that I know how to utilize social media effectively. There is a big difference between using those channels for personal use and using them professionally for a Fortune 500 company.
Although to my credit, when he began telling me about their sentiment analysis tool, I brought up Dell’s social media command center and how difficult it was to measure sentiment. He was impressed.
2. The social media space is still evolving.
After getting thoroughly grilled, I was able to ask some questions of my own.
“What is the typical workday like?” I asked.
“Typical?” he responded. “There is no typical workday. Every day is different.”
I loved that answer. Basically what he meant is that there is currently no rulebook for practicing social media like there is for traditional marketing. These guys are making it up as they go along, seeing what works, what doesn’t, and adjusting accordingly.
Which is incredibly exciting (at least for me) because I can pave my own path to success in social media.
Which leads me to the third thing I learned,
3. Pick an area of expertise, and dominate it.
I wrote a post last week about finding a niche and owning it, and the same advice seems to keep popping up. It doesn’t matter what it is, it could be real estate or medicine.
By practicing social media in your own niche, you’ll be able to see what works, what doesn’t, and then you’ll be able to apply what you learned if you ever get hired as a social media marketing manager or whatever.