Top 5 Favorite Tools as a Social Media Marketer

You’ve probably been asked the following question at some point in your life:

“If you were going to be stuck on a desert island for a year and could only bring five things with you, what would they be?”

Well, I’m not planning on being stuck on a desert island any time soon but I have been asked, “What are five things you could not live without to do your job?”

That’s a much more simple answer.

Social media marketers might answer this one a few different ways. Whether they mean literally tools like a laptop, cell phone, camera, etc., social media engagement or analytics platforms or favorite social channel.

I decided to go with a hybrid. This is my list.

  1. Laptop with internet, email and Photoshop. This is a pretty obvious one. I like to be prepared and often have my laptop on me. I rarely leave it at my desk at work because working an industry that moves 200mph (not that much of an exaggeration), you have to be prepared for breaking news at any time so it’s good to keep it handy. Also, I love being able to check in what fans and followers are saying at all times on accounts I manage for work. We have set a precedent with fans where they expect us to respond ASAP and engage with them in a fun and creative way. This is easily my favorite part of my job and I am happy to always be ready with a quick, quirky tweet or response to a comment that makes a social media user smile and feel more connected to the brand.
  2. Access to Mashable. I can’t truly express myself for Mashable enough. They are not my only source for social media news but they are my favorite.
  3. Music. Some people like to work in total silence. Some people like to chat with others while working. Some people, like myself, enjoy listening to music while they work. Just like one of Snow White’s Seven Dwarves, I feel like music helps me work better (even though I don’t whistle while I work). Sometimes it’s just a great distraction from office noise. Then there are other times where I lean on music to help me be more creative. For me, listening to a lot of Broadway show tunes when I find myself in a rut with writer’s block seems to do the trick. Country and pop tend to be my go-to otherwise.
  4. Tea. I find myself taking more of a liking to yoga in the past six months or so. I love how it’s all about focusing on your own mind and body to gain a better perspective in life. A key tool for many yogis is tea. Drinking tea is not only great for you but for me, it allows me to have a few moments of zen and relax even when there’s a lot going on at one time.
  5. Evernote. I love being able to jot down my ideas quickly and easily with Evernote whenever I’m on the go. Although I am guilty of sending myself reminders via one-off emails to my work account, I feel I can better organize my thoughts with Evernote and am really getting into the habit of doing so.

So fellow social media marketers, what’s on your list? Respond with your comments below.

What to Look for in an Internship

It’s that time of year again! If you’re in college or a recent grad, you may be considering an internship. If you haven’t, then you really should.

At my college, an internship was all but required. One internship.

I found myself outside of that norm. By the time I crossed the stage with my diploma, I completed six internships. Yes, six internships.

Some of those overlapped where I was doing two part-time internships at one time but all the while I completed full-time coursework and graduated in four years.

I’m often asked as to why I felt it was necessary to go so far above and beyond. The reason is pretty simple; I wanted to try out as many different things as possible before graduating.

When I first applied to my college, I applied as a screenwriting major (because I wanted to be the next Tina Fey). After being accepted and spending the summer thinking about it, I wondered if that was the best decision for me. Over that summer, I selected coursework that was nothing but public relations, marketing, advertising, etc. thinking promoting or selling entertainment could one day be the right area for me.

I was extremely fortunate that after about a month into my Introduction to Public Relations class that we were asked to interview someone in PR to get an idea of what the real world was like. One thing led to another and after an unexpected shadow day, I found myself with my first internship locked in only two months into my college career.

What followed was the first of my six internships. It was a road I put myself on and never turned back.

I completed internships at three boutique agencies (one in motorsports), one mid-size agency, a television production company and a racetrack (which I would later return to in a full-time role).

Even before graduating I became a big advocate for internships and even held a position on my college’s PRSSA chapter’s board to assist other students in finding internships.

If you’re looking for an internship, here is my advice on some things to look for:

  1. Intern somewhere you would want to work at. This is key. Is there an agency or business you’d love to work for some day? This is your chance to show them what you got. Research to see if your dream internship is out there. If it is, go for it! If not, try and find a company that you could intern at that could be beneficial if another internship opened up at your dream company, or would allow you to gain the necessary experience to apply for your first job after college at that dream company.
  2. A place where you can achieve a variety of experience. Don’t allow yourself to just be a coffee fetcher. When you first apply and get that interview, let the hiring manager know you’re ready to learn and want to get as much out of the experience as possible. By being exposed to a variety of tasks and areas of the business, you can really learn a lot.
  3. Look for a mentor. When you apply, look at the size of the company and culture. Do they seem to advance the careers of their own employees? Do they have a mentorship program? Even if not, when you get to the internship process, discuss with the hiring manager that you are looking for a professional mentor. You might even find your first volunteer! A mentor can be a great resource to have following an internship. He or she can be your go-to for professional advice and who knows – maybe you’ll work together again in some capacity. I have had the luck to have found such a mentor I still lean on occasionally for advice to this day.
  4. Focus on portfolio pieces. Ask what kind of work you would be doing when you make it to the interview. Yes, this is an obvious question but really approach the question and answer following thinking what can you get out of the internship beyond college credit and a few bucks. Strong work examples can be critical for future interviews (internships and jobs) to really set you apart from your competition.
  5. Find somewhere you will enjoy spending your time for most likely little pay. Let’s be honest. There’s no “I Love Lucy” get famous/rich quick schemes that can really pan out with most internships. You will have days that are unbelievably rewarding that make you feel you found the right path. You’ll have days that are just ok. Then, you’ll have days that just really make you question everything and are just plain difficult. Keep all of that in mind. Don’t intern somewhere you want to brag to your friends and family about. Don’t intern somewhere you think will make you look amazing on a resume but actually hate. You are putting in YOUR time for that internship so make sure it is somewhere YOU want to spend your time. College goes by way too quickly (you’ll believe me later) so don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. Do something you enjoy. Find a place to intern that makes you want to wake up in the morning and get to work. After all, part of interning to testing the waters in your career so get ready to jump right in – head first.

Wherever the road to your internship search takes you, keep these five items in mind.

Happy searching!