I have been quite excited about putting this guest post live and I think it is worth a read for those wanting to find out more about working in the world of blogging, tweet decking and building Facebook fans.
An interview with Claire Hunter-Smith, Social Media Manager at Leeds based agency Bloom.
What does your job currently entail?
I help my clients to build useful and mutually beneficial relationships with their customers and partners by communicating effectively via social media. This supports and enhances their PR, SEO, advertising, customer service, brand reputation management and overall communications.
It all comes down to relationship building as that’s the backbone to successful business communications, now more than ever. All consumers are connected and not shy about discussing brands or their opinions of them!
There are a range of approaches that I can take for clients. I help them to connect up with bloggers and writers who are key influencers in their industry and to extend the conversational reach of their brand online, as well as advising on general customer communications. These relationships form the basis for creative integrated marketing campaigns as well as a sustainable base of contacts for long-term business growth.
I do a lot of studying as well because it’s an ever-shifting discipline and every day there is a new social network to investigate or a development to an existing network that I need to know about! There are lots of excellent authors on the topic out there who I like to keep track of. I highly recommend the musings of Chris Brogan, Brian Solis and Lee Odden in particular.
Getting clients to think about social media, not as a channel but as an extension of brand communications touching every part of the business is my main aim. I do this through audits, competitor analysis, training, consultancy, monitoring, reporting, relationship building and communications planning. This is designed to work alongside and feed into PR, Advertising and SEO strategy.
What is your average working day like?
The first thing I do when I get into the office in the morning is read up on industry news and catch up on blog posts from my favourite authors. It’s really important to keep my finger on the pulse so I can advise the agency and clients what’s now and next in start- ups and new trends.
Client work comes first, so I’ll then tackle the to-do list. This is usually made up of strategies that need creating, reporting and insight that needs to be provided and arranging meetings and conference calls.
There are usually a couple of meetings internally throughout the day. These could be about pitches we’ll be going for which require my input from a strategic and creative thinking point of view, or one of our regular SSE (Search and Social Engagement) meetings to discuss opportunities for client campaigns and work on idea generation together.
I work on building relationships for my clients with relevant bloggers and authors in their industry and I spend an hour or so a day networking on Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Pinterest and continue to check in for updates and conversations throughout the day.
Writing blog posts is something I’d love to have more time to do! I try to blog a couple of times a week but I feel that the most important things when it comes to blogging are to blog when you mean it, and to make it interesting! There’s nothing worse than reading a blog that has been written just to meet an aim of ‘we must blog this much each week’!
I might be delivering training for a client or going out with the team on a pitch too; I head along to industry events whenever possible and I’m constantly on the lookout for opportunities for both my clients and for Bloom, to make positive connections.
Do you enjoy it?
Yes! I love it. I’m really passionate about good brand communications and sociable business so I really feel like I’m in the right place in the work that I’m doing. It has its moments – like any job, but I relish a challenge and I like the opportunity to overcome obstacles. Plus, it makes the good bits even better when you’ve truly had to work for them!
What is the best thing about your job?
I think the chance to come up with and put into practice creative and strategic ideas is the best thing for me. It’s really exciting to see campaigns rolled out that started as a ‘how about this?’ moment in one of our sessions in the ideas room! I’m also lucky to work with lots of very clever and talented people who are always raising the bar.
Where did you imagine yourself working when you were a teenager?
To be honest I didn’t have a clue. I saw myself working with people and I’m a creative person, so I suppose I’ve ended up in an ideal role!
What was your dream job growing up?
It ranged from a singer, a police woman, a counsellor, a journalist to an events manager.
In your own experience, do you think life/work plans work out?
To some extent they do, yes, though not always as quickly as I would have liked them to. I’ve managed to squeeze various experiences into my life that met my dreams – I’ve volunteered at music festivals, promoted them, written music reviews for a newspaper and I sing in my spare time when I’m not doing the creative communications job that I enjoy.
What would your advice be to someone wanting to enter this field of work?
Get reading! It’s such a fast-paced environment that you need to self-educate to swim, and you’ll need that knowledge base to draw from when you’re thinking of strategies. It’s also important to be able to think on your feet and constantly adapt your approach to the work as agency life won’t wait for you to catch up! I’m also always happy to have a chat, so if you’re serious about getting into this field please give me a ring and I’ll be delighted to help.
Should we plan ahead for the future, or let the wind take us where we should be?
Both. I think there is much to be said for making plans so you have something to work towards and goals to achieve that motivate you. On the other hand, it is good to go with the flow sometimes, especially when it comes to working as a team as I have learnt a valuable lesson in that a ‘my way or the highway’ approach tends to disappoint you more than anyone. It’s good to have a plan, just be willing to adapt it to move with the times.
Follow Claire on Twitter @clairehs