Life was very different over a decade ago. I was living and working in London. I had spent 5 years working at The White Company as their Digital Marketing Manager and 2 years at Links of London as Head of Direct Marketing, during which time I left city life and relocated to the rolling hills of the Wiltshire countryside.
My son was only 12 months old when we moved, and I was still commuting up to London every day for work. I was leaving the house at 6.30 every morning, and not returning home until 9pm. As you can imagine, meeting the demands of being a new mum to a growing toddler plus the commute and the day job, it was exhausting!
Then one day I got a call from the former Managing Director of The White Company. He got in touch to ask me if I would like to help him build a new website and marketing team for his new business. He needed someone to work on a freelance basis and it meant I could work from home – bingo!
I quit the commute and set up Lemon Marketing to project manage new website builds and offer freelance marketing for premium and luxury brands such as Sweaty Betty, Thomas Lyte Handbags, Josephine Home, and Trotters. It was the perfect solution. I was able to work for myself and be mum.
Then sadly in 2012 I suffered a devastating family bereavement, and life got a bit complicated with a few personal issues. I decided to take some much needed time out and let work take a back seat for a while.
Happier times were however just around the corner, and in 2013 I met Mike and a year later had my daughter Annie. As life began to settle down I started working for one of my former clients Josephine Home again, running their digital marketing, and dabbling in a bit of social media management.
Other than for personal use I knew very little when it came to using Social Media as a marketing platform for business. Josephine Home was keen for me to see what I could do in terms of improving engagement with their brand on Facebook. I gave it a go and managed to increase their Page Likes from 300 to 8k, mostly through organic growth.
You could say this was a bit of a turning point for me. I realised that I really loved working with Social Media and knew I could help more clients get more reach and see more engagement.
I was however very aware of my own knowledge gap having been out of the loop for a while. I knew I needed to up my game to keep up with the fast paced nature of the digital world and that I probably needed to re- train.
It’s funny when you are looking for something, opportunities often come forward, and for me (ironically) this was an advert on Facebook (of all places) for a Social Media course with Digital Mums.
Digital Mums ticked all the boxes for me. I was looking for a business opportunity that could fit around my young family, that would utilise my years of marketing experience and bridge that gap in my knowledge around social media management.
Of course I applied, passed the interview and joined the course in January 2016. In 6 months my goal was to graduate and set up my own business as a Social Media Strategist, and that is exactly what I did; with 100% pass rate and a wonderful testimonial to boot!
That said the course was not for the feint-hearted. I was committing 20-25 hours a week to meet the demands of the schedule, on top of working, and being a mum at the centre of family life.
It was really tough, often working late nights and weekends to complete assignments. There were tears, tantrums and headaches, although my peer group were always there to support me. Our kids often joined us on our weekly Google hangouts; we ate supper, drank wine, laughed and cried together. We formed a great bond, and if it wasn’t for them I may have given up.
Digital Mums is one of the only courses of its kind that allows you to work with a live client whilst you are training, getting real-time experience so that you are job-ready come the end of the course.
We learnt everything from the importance of customer targeting, campaigns, influencers, objectives, as well as being trained on all the big social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. We learnt how to optimise channels, re-size images, create graphics and write engaging copy. If it related to Social Media we had it covered.
Alongside all the technical know-how we were prepared ready to enter the world as a freelance consultant, learning how to find clients, manage their expectations, as well as our own time as a business owner.
Stepping out into the world with a formal qualification in Social Media Management it felt amazing to have this bank of knowledge and skills that complimented my marketing background. I felt sure this would set me apart from my competitors. It certainly has, and with a few years under my belt, I am working with some fabulous luxury and premium brands, helping them to master the social media game.
I have been trained to look at social media strategically. I don’t just post I work with my clients to devise their perfect strategy based on their individual goals; whether that’s increasing traffic to their website or simply building engagement.
Because of my background I know about the wider marketing picture, knowing what happens when someone lands on a website from a social media platform. I help my clients to fulfil the customer journey from first contact to purchase and customer retention.
So that brings us right up to date, from being a Digital Marketing Manager to Mum and now a fully qualified Digital Mum and Social Media Strategist.
Join me next time when I’ll be sharing with you my experience of setting up a Facebook Engagement Tribe, and how this can be an effective strategy to use to increase your businesses reach and engagement on social media.
If you have enjoyed reading this blog, remember to check back again for the next instalment, otherwise why not come and hangout with me on my Facebook Page where you can get hold of all my social media expertise to help you and your business master the social media game.