5 things I learnt while training with Digital Mums

Working as Senior Journalist at Comic Relief for many years had taken me to all corners of the world and led me to cover some truly incredible stories, but with the arrival two small children, the logistics of being away so much was proving problematic.

I discovered Digital Mums through a friend, and was intrigued to find out what it could offer. I wanted to polish my social media skills before I sought new work, but the biggest appeal for me in choosing their six month, Strategic Social Media Marketing course, was the on- the-job training that would allow me to put my new skills into practise.

As my last maternity leave ended, I took the plunge, left my job and signed up to the course. Here’s the biggest five things I learnt while training:

  1. Learning on the job brought incredible results

As part of the course, I was running the social media channels for a real life client (what Digital Mum called a project partner). I was really lucky to get a great client, The Social Change Agency, who work with change-makers to create sustainable social movements that transform the world. One of the best things about working with them was that they were really engaged and up for trying new things. We were able to experiment with live streaming, video and long form content which gave us some incredible results, including a huge increase in impressions (social media views), significant increase in traffic to their website and some exciting new business leads.

2. Expect some long hard study weeks

With a communications and marketing background, much of the strategy work was familiar and straightforward to me, but getting to grips with analytics, scheduling tools and social media advertising was new territory and took some time to get my head around. It was brilliant to be able to watch step by step tutorials on how to get the best out of them, and then put my training into practise on my clients platforms. While Digital Mums suggest studying should take 15 hours approx a week, some weeks needed a lot more time, which meant clearing the diary and finding extra childcare to get through it.

3. Social media is a 7 day a week craft.

This sounds full on, but it just means that I had to check my clients social media every day, including weekends and evenings, and engage on the platforms, a few times daily. There’s a fine balance to be made here. If you don’t engage enough, you won’t see results, but if you constantly engage, your time efficiency goes out the window (and your family life with it.) At the beginning I struggled to find the balance, but once I’d got into a routine, it became much easier to manage.

4. Remote working doesn’t need to be lonely-ville.

I thought I might miss the camaraderie of office working, but with new tech I felt close to my fabulous peer group of students, my client and the Digital Mums social media guides, despite hardly being in the same room. WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, email and G+ covered all our needs and I never felt disconnected. I also spent some time with my client, face to face, to gather content and insider knowledge, which we used throughout the following weeks of the campaign.

5. I feel job ready at graduation.

Having already worked for a brilliant client and achieved great results, its made the next steps in my job search much easier. I feel my skillbase is more rounded, and I definitely have the confidence to deliver similar results for future clients. I feel excited about where I’ll go next. My last career took me to far flung destinations, I feel this one will take me to equally interesting places, albeit in the digital space.

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