April 21, 2019

Sara Rusniak

Running with Rusniak: My Lessons Learned from Working in Social Media

Working in social media

In past posts, I’ve talked about my experience as a member of the gig economy. I’ve had an entrepreneurial mindset for as long as I can remember. As a child, I wrote a neighborhood newsletter and charged the members of my residential development a quarter for each copy. I even sold ads! As a young teen, I canvased the community, sharing flyers to market myself as a babysitter and pet sitter and promote my lawn care and house cleaning services. In college, I promoted a bar, worked in the departmental office of the school and tutored.

It wasn’t long into my post-college professional career that I became bored with the mundane “9 to 5” routine and started chasing odd jobs for extra income. I’ve been fortunate to turn those supplemental earnings activities into a business providing services as a virtual assistant, bookkeeper, and event planner for a variety of professionals in differing industries. I love the variety and the countless opportunities to learn and apply new skills.

The latest addition to my virtual business has been here, with the #Strella Team. Entering the industry of social media management has taught me a lot. If you’re interested in using social media to develop relationships with your clientele and potential customers or are even minimally curious about what goes on behind the scenes in a social media management business, keep reading.

What I’ve Learned from Working in the Field of Social Media

1. There are rules and “gotchas” aplenty.

The details that must be addressed to successfully leverage multiple social media channels to their full potential can be overwhelming. Technical and functional issues sometimes mysteriously appear, and it can be daunting to find solutions for how to fix them. You might have experienced a few, for example:

- Have you ever posted an update to your business Facebook page but couldn’t get it to show up at the top of your page?
- Have you personally posted a photo to your Instagram that you linked to your Facebook account so that it would simultaneously post on both social media platforms, but it never showed up in your Facebook feed?
- Do you ever question the viral updates that occasionally go around Facebook that indicate you must carry out some specific action to continue seeing all of your friends’ content in your feed?
- Did you know that there are additional Instagram features that get unlocked and become available to you (e.g., swiping up in a story to access a link) when you reach a certain number of followers?

Social media platforms are often more complicated than most people realize, and there are features and nuances that only specialists understand. Just as you depend on your copier technician for the skills and expertise to service your copiers and printers, it’s becoming necessary to enlist the help of a social media manager to maintain your online profiles and pages effectively.

2. It’s time-consuming.

As I shared earlier, I love learning new skills. Recently, I consulted Pinterest and HGTV to learn how to upholster an old headboard. It was fun to learn what tools I needed, what supplies I had to purchase, and how to physically complete the project. The finished result is not perfect, but “it’ll do,” as they say. I spent several hours on the DIY project, and without a doubt, a more efficient way to obtain an upholstered headboard would have been to visit the furniture store and buy one. However, I enjoyed the education and hands-on process so much that it was well worth all my time and effort.

As a business owner, though, “do it yourself” does not always provide fulfillment. You have to choose what skills are worth learning and what you should depend on an expert for. Preparing my tax return is an excellent example of this. For the first several years of running my business, I completed my tax documents on my own. But I have now recognized that the complexity makes it too time-consuming for me to do it correctly (those tax regulations keep changing!). I know that I’m better served by having my CPA handle it for me.

Just like trying to squeeze tax preparation into your busy schedule, keeping your online audience engaged and sharing timely updates on your social media profiles and pages can become too burdensome to do well. If you find yourself in this situation, seek a professional to manage your social media presence for you so that you can focus on managing your business.

3. Building relationships with followers who have shared values and interests is rewarding.

It’s satisfying to do a job well. When I’m working with #Strella and helping clients with their social media needs, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I find it challenging and rewarding to effectively create the customer’s voice and use it to communicate with their fans and followers.  Interacting with their social media connections and building relationships with them feels gratifying. Watching our clients’ followers bond with them over common values and interests furthers our clients’ goals and gives our work a sense of purpose.

As a business owner, if you’re not taking advantage of the opportunity to build an online community through social media, you are missing out on a valuable way to share your business’s story and connect with others who are invested in the same narrative.

Your Turn! What successes and challenges have you experienced with social media? Leave a comment and share your story. 

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