What I’ve learned working in social media

I’ve been working in social media in some form or another for over seven years now with some fantastic campaigns and projects under my belt. I thought it was about time I shared just a few of the things I’ve learnt whilst working in the digital world.

There is no right way and plenty of wrong ways
I have always enjoyed spending time on social networks just to see how everyone does it. It amazes me that, after so many years of social media existing in our lives, people are still coming up with new ways to engage. There is a never-ending supply of new content, campaigns and ideas which are innovative and grab the imagination. It all goes to prove that there really is no one way of doing social media well. Unfortunately, there are also are plenty of wrong ways to do it. When it’s easier to get it wrong than right, it’s important to learn what not to do to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes
Whenever a brand on social media made a faux pas, I used to join in with the masses in mocking them for it. I would share the awkwardness and laugh at how badly they had they got it wrong. This was until I worked in social media myself and saw just how easy it can be to make a mistake. Even with the best of intentions and attention to detail, it’s almost unavoidable. Huge corporations spending millions on their marketing and smaller companies without the same budget are all susceptible to making mistakes and that’s because there are human beings on the other end of that social media post. I’m a lot more forgiving now, having been in that same position and developed a greater understanding of what it feels like. (P.S it’s easy to blame the mistake on an intern, but I can promise you that it’s rarely ever an intern!)

Trends aren’t always made to be followed.
Part of any social media role is to keep up with all the latest trends and technology news. What’s hot and what’s not changes on an almost daily basis in the social media world and it’s important to know what’s current. However, whilst trends, new features, social networks and technology come and go, it’s more important to know what works for your audience than jump on every trend as they come along. You don’t want to risk your audience getting whiplash from so many different things being thrown at them. If you’re joining in with a trend, make sure there’s a really good reason why not just because you think you should. Being able to explain why the higher-ups is a vital part of any social media role.

Everyone can’t do it.
You hear it a lot when you work in social media: “It’s so easy, anyone could do it.” There’s nothing worse than being told your knowledge and skills don’t mean anything. The truth is that it can be incredibly hard to do social media well. With a glut of content being pushed out on an hourly basis, lack of trust in organisations, organic reach suffering and a lot of other negativity surrounding social networks, it’s incredibly difficult to get your voice heard over everyone else’s. Just because it looks easy, it doesn’t mean it is. It’s why I’m in awe of some of the companies doing it so well, especially the ones without big budgets. To any organisation listening, please recognise just how hard we work!

Things don’t last forever
It’s something that can take a while to get used to, or certainly come to terms with, but the shelf life of a social media post is often a lot shorter than you think. Even major campaigns which reach millions of people can be forgotten and quickly replaced by the next big thing within days. Social media influencers can be here one day and gone the next and even some social networks don’t stand the test of time. So whilst it’s important to work hard to be seen by as many people as possible, the hard truth is that you’ll have to keep winning the same people over again and again. The benefit of this though is the ability to experiment and take risks to continue to keep creating innovative content. Sometimes social media is a lot more forgiving than we think it is.

Do you agree? If you work in social media, what lessons have you learnt? Let me know in the comments.

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