A new chapter in my life…

Living in rural Gloucestershire, having a young family, and sharing a car with my husband has made it difficult to get any paid employment for me. And as I only wanted to work during school hours it was only going to make things harder, decreasing my chances of even getting part-time work. As my mother had died when I was seven, and I didn’t know my father until later in life, creating a solid family life was always paramount to me. I went for any possible job that fitted my narrow parameters but had very little success: I once tried to get a job in the local health food shop and was told that they would not employ me because I had children. Yes, they really said that! And having a BSc (Hons) in Russian and Law and a MA in Russian Studies did not seem to improve my chances of getting part-time work either!

Staying at home for the last 15 years — except for a couple of low paid, unskilled jobs such as being a lunchtime supervisor at my children’s primary school or working in a friend’s bakery — was the choice I made to always be there for our daughters. This meant that we knew we could not afford a home of our own without the two salaries needed for a mortgage and so made the choice to rent in the meantime. My husband is a teacher so his salary is just enough for the four of us to live on without any extras. But now that I’ve just turned 43, and I’m finishing the Digital Mums’ Strategic Social Media Manager Programme, and our two daughters are both in secondary school, a new chapter in my life is commencing.

When I started the Digital Mums course — kindly paid for by my in-laws — I was intrigued and excited about what the future held for me. I really did not know what to expect. I had certainly no idea about how challenging the course was going to be! I think I was a little too laid back at the start to be honest. The most difficult aspect was the time management: putting time aside for the lessons and getting the assignments submitted before the deadlines. Luckily Digital Mums are strict about deadlines which helps to keep people like me in check!

Soon after the start of the course I was given CopyCopy as my Programme Partner. CopyCopy is a tech startup — a cloud clipboard service that lets you copy and paste between devices, and keeps anything that you have copied in a cloud account. Luckily, 15 years ago I had worked for a tech startup called wcities.com, together with my husband, which was based in San Francisco and so all was not new to me. My campaign for CopyCopy was brand awareness. The company’s use of social media platforms was still in its infancy when I came on board and so my campaign goal was to raise brand awareness on Facebook and Twitter by using all means available: a competition; ads on both channels; curated and created content; and interaction with influencers.

Somehow, from somewhere, I had some great successes! My #CopyCopyCat competition worked on every level — probably through its simplicity — thus affecting all my figures in a really positive way and allowing me to achieve 100% of my objectives. During the course of the campaign, Twitter followers increased by 1,401, therefore they more than doubled, going from 982 followers to 2,383 — a fabulous increase of 143%! By the end of the campaign I had achieved an amazing 129900% increase in retweets, a 48400% increase in likes, and a 23700% increase in replies on Twitter. And on Facebook, I achieved an impressive 2681800% increase in post reach by using Facebook Ads!

I have to say that my favourite part of the whole course was the creation of content, especially producing visuals on Canva. I suppose I should not be surprised about this because I am addicted to making my own cards of all shapes and sizes on moonpig.com and moo.com. I absolutely love beautiful pictures and stunning photography! During these 15 years at home I have done quite a bit of volunteering and for a period of two years I edited a local magazine: we always strove to have the best possible visuals which made our magazine a great success.

If you asked me whether I’d recommend the course to anyone, I’d say yes but only if they were serious. The skills you learn equip you with the latest social media marketing knowledge available today which, in turn, would help launch numerous sorts of careers! It is a lot to take in in a relatively short space of time. I’d also say that it was a difficult course — which is outweighed by the enjoyment it brings — but it is not an impossible course. Fortunately, Digital Mums vets and tests you beforehand to check you have the requisite background and skills so that when you begin you do so with a certain amount of confidence!

What the future holds is anyone’s guess but my husband and I have bought two domain names — SouthWestSocialMedia.co.uk and MarianSocialMedia.com — and are currently building our websites. We are planning to go into business together as our skills really complement each other. So,we’ll see how that goes! Watch this space…

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