July 13, 2017

Social Media Lessons Learned During My Summer Internship

Madelyn Cockrell, Intern

If you’re still panicking about what to post on your company’s social media sites, and then cranking something out while waiting at a stoplight, here’s motivation to change your ways. Planning ahead can actually bring out your creativity. Am I serious? Of course.

As a rising sophomore of Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business majoring in marketing, I was excited to start my summer internship at Blakely + Company, a full-service advertising agency in Colorado Springs.

Of all aspects of marketing, the social media platform was most familiar to me. Having grown up in a world where Facebook has pretty much always existed, I had considered myself a social media aficionado, yet was unfamiliar with the marketing strategies that exist specifically for this medium.

My first task as an intern for Blakely + Company, was to write posts for two very different companies that would be published on Facebook. I was super excited to draft these posts because I’ve gone the majority of my 19 years with a social media account, yet was surprised how much of this process was strategy-based rather than being a spur-of-the-moment, daily task.

I learned that it was easier—and smarter—to build a week’s or even a month’s worth of posts at a time, so I could easily see which topics I had forgotten to mention or if I was being redundant. Using a monthly calendar via websites like Trello.com was the easiest way for me to stay organized with posting schedules, and it also helped spark ideas for posts in terms of timing. (For other examples of software that allow online collaboration, read this Cloudwards.net article.)

For example, the first day of summer, June 21st, is an important date that I used to draw attention to the post then tie it to something that the company wanted to promote, such as corporate health and wellness or highlighting the good deeds a nonprofit does for local military families.

For me, writing the post itself was the hardest part of social media. Knowing that people are quick to scroll past something that doesn’t immediately grab their attention was in the back of my mind as I wrote each individual post. I was also strategic in my choice of images or photos to go along with each post.

Facebook has a feature that shows how many people you’ve reached with your post, and on average, the shorter and more precise the wording, the more people will interact with the post whether it be via commenting, sharing, or liking.

People are also far more likely to interact if there’s an image attached. When people read information, they’re likely to only remember 10% of that information a few days later, but if a relevant photo is paired with the same information, people retain 65% of the information after several days, according to BrainRules.net.

The purpose of marketing via social media is to generate awareness for the company and build a relationship and trust with your customers, so it is important to keep your audience in mind and use helpful tools (such as Facebook’s analytics) to notice which type of post creates the most response from your audience.

Social media is a unique and (relatively) new platform that specializes in bringing people together via each site’s specific outreach.

Instagram, for example, puts focus on images and videos with the only wording being in the form of a small caption.

Twitter, on the other hand, allows users 140 characters to express ideas, caption photos/videos that are attached, or even conduct polls that your followers can anonymously vote in.

Thirdly, there is Snapchat which is the newest yet most popular amongst millennials – this app allows you to send pictures and videos that disappear entirely after 10 seconds.

Unlike sites such as Facebook, these other three social media platforms put focus on visual content with words only being in the form of captions as a primary method of providing additional details. The fact that new social media revolves around a visual focus is an important factor to note because the majority of users today aren’t willing or interested in viewing heavily worded content.

Companies that use these social media sites as a means of marketing are staying ahead by embracing the change toward visual versus written advertisements that have the ability to reach a younger, larger, and rapidly growing market.

Planning your company’s social media strategy doesn’t have to be the dreaded task that it used to be. Staying organized, matching your written content with relevant pictures, and embracing the nonstop changes made to social media platforms are your keys to success when it comes to marketing. Happy posting!