How to Slay in the Social Media Space

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AUGUST, 2018

Written by Filza Naveed
Photographs by Andrew Pieroni

Do you have entire conversations in emoji? Do you meticulously curate your Instagram feed to reflect your (ahem) aesthetic? Do you get a little bit giddy when your retweets hit double digits? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be cut out for a career in social media. But just because you can take a great selfie and craft a witty caption, how do you know if you truly have what it takes to score a role in social strategy?

Our recent event, “From Online to IRL: Meet The Faces of Social Media,” aimed to highlight the skills you need to succeed in the world of hashtags, filters, and sponsored posts. Panelists, and all-around social media gurus, Matt Stephen (Shopify), Cristina Gardeazabal (Mirum), Matthew Tierney (Toronto Raptors at MLSE), Patrick Forestell (Studio71) and Catherine Mann (AIR MILES Canada), were onsite to offer their unique insights on what it takes to get your foot in the door.

Matt Stephen

Social Media Strategist
Shopify

Catherine Mann

Brand Manager, Social Media
AIR MILES Canada

Cristina Gardeazabal

Associate Creative Director of Content
Mirum

Jenn Stack

Social Media Director
Anomaly

Matthew Tierney

Managing Editor Team Content
Toronto Raptors at MLSE

Patrick Forestell

Director of Strategy
Studio71

“Being able to pick something up when no one else will is sometimes what gets you through the door.”
– Cristina Gardeazabal

“Being able to pick something up when no one else will is sometimes what gets you through the door.”
– Cristina Gardeazabal

Embracing the Chaos

Moderator Jennifer Stack (Anomaly) kicked off the event by asking the panelists how each of them started off in social media. While Matt and Catherine entered the job market with dreams of becoming journalists, their knack for storytelling paved a path into the social media space. For Patrick, the road was straightforward as he immediately secured a social media role with his alma mater. Cristina and Matthew hit some unexpected speed bumps along the way, but an open mindset and persistence enabled them to land coveted social media gigs. Ultimately, it was the ability to embrace the chaos that led each panelist into the world of social media.

“Learn to ask smarter questions! Make friends with smarter people. You can’t know everything.”
– Patrick Forestell

“Learn to ask smarter questions! Make friends with smarter people. You can’t know everything.”
– Patrick Forestell

Building Relationships

While the path towards a social media career is almost never linear, all panelists share a passion for building relationships with people. For Cristina, this comes in the form of community management. She firmly believes that staying engaged with the online community is an integral part of any social media role. Catherine had similar sentiments and emphasized the importance of being a “human Swiss Army knife,” as her role requires the ability to tackle a wide variety of challenges at a moment’s notice. Talk about pressure, huh?

“My role is so different everyday. To be a Swiss Army Knife in the industry is something that’s so important.”
– Catherine Mann

“My role is so different everyday. To be a Swiss Army Knife in the industry is something that’s so important.”
– Catherine Mann

Expect the Unexpected, Adapt, and Learn More

Along with an eagerness to build strong customer relationships, the panelists agreed that a constant urge to try out new things and embrace the changing technological landscape is crucial if you want to stay on top. As Matt pointed out, you’ll need a thick skin in order to handle the terror of Internet trolls. Moreover, Cristina and Catherine highlighted the need to embrace the technical aspects of the job, including analytics and design tools, while Patrick maintained that being open to learning is the most valuable skill you can hone.

Seeking Inspiration and Believing in Yourself

Perhaps most important, the panelists agreed that anyone in social media needs to be constantly seeking inspiration in order to tell compelling stories. For Patrick, some of the best inspiration can be found through reading books and stressed that it’s important to “keep trying, keep doing, keep going.” Matthew echoed this sentiment, adding that in order to truly succeed in the ever-evolving social media landscape, “it’s important to bet on yourself and be confident.”

If these tips have you itching to slay the world of social media, consider signing up for our 12-week Social Media Bootcamp starting September 3rd, 2019.

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