Tracey, left, with tennis friends

Serving up some social media

Learning to play tennis and learning to social media were similar challenges for Digital Mum Tracey Pastor — with a love-all outcome.

Now I love tennis — playing, watching, the cute outfits and, of course, Wimbledon. I started playing about seven years ago, borrowed a racket and signed up for a beginners course at my local club.

There was a lot to learn but we took it week by week — forehand, backhand, serving, volleying, drop shots. We focussed on one thing at a time, gradually gaining confidence and the skills needed to put it all together and play a game. There were many lost balls along the way, but I went on to do the improver course, bought my own racket and joined the club.

Learning all about social media with Digital Mums was a lot like learning to play tennis. There was so much to take in initially and wasn’t sure if I was going to be have the skills needed to play a game — or in the case of social media to manage one social media platform, let alone two.

As with tennis my approach was to to focus on the weekly goals and put in some practice, and as the weeks sped by things did get easier. It also helped that both with tennis and Digital Mums I met a great group of ladies to share and support eachother through the rollercoaster learning journey.

I signed up for the Strategic Social Media Marketing course to fill a gap in my in my public relations skills. I spent 10 years as a journalist and moved into core media/public relations for a utility company before going freelance. I’ve been saying i ‘do’ social media, when in fact I was doing the occasionally tweeting and playing around on Facebook so the relatives in Spain could see what the family had been up to. I didn’t understand any of the intricacies or analytics. I knew it to be a powerful tool and I wanted to understand more. Then I spotted an article about the Digital Mums course in the Evening Standard and signed up for the October 2017 course.

I feel very lucky to have been matched with a super client Love Keep Create, a professional textile keepsake company based in Plymouth but operating as an e-commerce business. The women that run it appeared on Dragons’ Den in January and secured Deborah Meaden as an investor, which made it even more exciting. My campaign was around community engagement and I had to kick-start two dormant platforms — Instagram and Twitter — and promote grown-up keepsakes. I’m thrilled to say the #LoveitKeepit Campaign was a success and I exceeded all my Key Performance Indicator targets on both platforms.

Managing Director Merry Whitaker was approachable and helpful and I felt she really valued the course and my involvement.

I didn’t know much about Instagram when I started the course, but I’ve fallen head over heels in love with it. It’s not just a screen full of photos, it is a valuable tool that can help businesses to get in front of their audiences and engage with them, and I hope there will be more positive changes to come from the platform.

Twitter is a contrast as it is such a lively platform with a great buzz. The fast pace and volume of followers made it very newsy but harder to engage with people.

I’ve learnt so much about social media throught the course, but it was tough doing the coursework, assignments and running the campaign — there was lots to juggle. But I found a way through, supported by my Digital Mums and my cohort. That’s like playing a game of doubles tennis — you have to work with your partner to get the best outcome. You have to utilise all the skills you’ve learnt and all the tools at your disposal to play an effective game. You’re aiming to get a good result, but even if you don’t get that make sure you’ve given it your best and enjoyed the game.

The hands-on course has given me confidence to deal with questions and clients, and I’ve been able to fit it around existing work, school runs, housework and tennis!

Love Keep Create said from the start they were unlikely to keep me on — they’ve gone with a big PR company in Plymouth who will be looking after all their social media and marketing needs so I’m on the lookout for work — funnily enough I’m talking to my tennis club about their social media platforms and what I could do to add value.