So you want to be a social media manager

A college student recently posed questions about the journey to my current position for a class project, and until she asked it never occurred to me how random – yet planned – this journey has been.

On location at G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park as the Chickasaw Country travel writer and social media manager. 

On location at G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park as the Chickasaw Country travel writer and social media manager. 

Isn’t it too early to ask me about how I got here? I’m not really anywhere, yet. I have, however, found a position I really, really love in an industry fueling my passion in agriculture and food. Hashtag blessed.

I just took the Drake approach, triple pound.

Huh?  A translation:

AUSTIN – Brooke Haney started from the bottom much like Canadian rapper, Aubrey Drake Graham.
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If you want to be a social media manager, a few tips:

1) Build your own brand. 

Hiring managers want to know you’re interesting and capable enough to build a community from a brand lacking name recognition.

That’s what I want to know, at least. If I, for example, tasked you with building a voice and community around a drywall company, I’ll expect you can make it happen. I want to know you’re hard working, deeply creative and the perfect combination of abstract-random and OCD.

2) Seek clients, not agencies.

Use search engines to your advantage and find brands you want spend your nights and weekends with – because you will, in fact, work nights, weekends and holidays.

Disclaimer: Eventually you’ll want to find the Cinderella of all companies to return your glass slipper, but when you’re first starting wouldn’t you want to see the genius behind the Roaming Gnome or Taco Bell’s tweets.

3) Be a sponge.

Video shoot with National Gypsum's Ask for PURPLE campaign featuring DIY Network's Anitra Mecadon. 

Video shoot with National Gypsum's Ask for PURPLE campaign featuring DIY Network's Anitra Mecadon. 

During the past 12 months, I’ve worked with teams pertaining the following topics: tourism, craft beer, drywall, college football, commerce, sustainable gardening, animal nutrition, animal care, food, soybeans, probiotics, animal genetics, vector control, crop science and advocacy.You never know when you may need life experience to help you in your day job.

4. Familiarize yourself with all forms of communication.

There’s a story about a professor who filled a jar full of rocks, then sand, then water. Go ahead, google it.

Rocks: PR, magazines, commercials, billboards, books...

Sand: websites, banner ads…

Water: social media…

Ensure your résumé (or LinkedIn profile) doesn’t categorize you before you’re ready to be categorized. For me, I followed opportunities in search of creative solutions, which is probably why I did well in that math functions course in college (also known as fun with numbers).

If you’re the type of human who considers “what if” or “why not” or is determined to figure it out. Well, you’re basically my favorite type of human.

If you’re interested in digital and social media, I’m here for you. If I can’t answer your questions, I can find someone who can.