I'm Hannah, and I'm a freelance social media specialist
Describe your job
In a career that has grown alongside the lifespan of social media for business, I’ve been lucky enough to work on everything social media from the ground up. From content creation, channel management and campaign activation, to planning, strategy and insights.
Since moving into freelancing, the work I do varies from client to client, and from day to day.
I lead on and deliver one-off campaigns and projects, and I get to work on good old fashioned content creation. At the other end of the spectrum, I do strategy and consultancy – I work with businesses on devising a unique social media roadmap, personalised for their brand, mission, audience and objectives. This tends to come in handy either in the early stages of a business growing its social, or when they’re looking for a shakeup!
My motto is to always have a holistic approach to social media marketing.
What are the most important skills you need to do your job?
Listening – it’s so important to be able to listen to the client’s needs, get to know them and their audience, and devise a strategy which is bespoke to them. It’s also just really good to listen to every single person you work with, as there is no stronger tool than the relationships you keep in your work.
Creativity – social media offers so much room for innovation, and it’s important to always be looking around and keeping your eyes open for the next cool and creative thing you could do.
Time management – the demands on social media are infinite, and some employers can have unrealistic expectations of how long things take (they think an effective, well-written tweet with a strong visual takes ‘two minutes’!) – so the ability to plan your time well (with space to be reactive) and expectations, is key.
I left school and...
I did an English Literature degree, where I failed to read 80% of the books on the course, but somehow graduated with a good understanding of how to write, and how to do it quite well.
I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do other than something which would allow me to keep writing.
I was lucky enough to get into a PR Co-ordinator role in a full-service marketing agency not long after graduating – that was 2009, and the role quickly became focused on social media as businesses caught on to the joys of Twitter.
Since then, I’ve worked in a variety of in-house social media and digital marketing roles, across a range of sectors but always devising strategies, growing platforms and helping each business establish, understand and harness their social media landscape.
After 12 years of learning as much as I possibly could, I recently made the transition into freelance life, offering strategy and content support. Now, I primarily work with health and wellness brands on leveraging their social to get in front of the right people who may need their services - but I also get excited about any project or business which resonates with my work.
I’m most proud of...
I have absolutely relished being part of some major campaigns with Public Health England, as part of my social media work with Slimming World – who have partnered with PHE on a range of vital initiatives.
I believe wholeheartedly in leveraging the power of social media to reach people who may be looking for support to make a positive change to their health/lifestyle.
I’ve been lucky enough to work on the social media for major national campaigns including One You, Heart Age, and more recently Every Mind Matters, which focuses on the importance of looking after your mental as well as physical health.
This kind of campaign work is so rewarding because you know even if you get in front of just one person who might benefit from the message, that could be one life transformed for the better.
Before I started my career, I wish I knew…
The value of active listening. I used to always be so keen to prove myself that I’d just be waiting for my chance to talk – it took me years and a leadership training course to realise I was doing this. I’m so glad I tapped into that blind spot because ever since and I’ve learnt so much about myself and the people I’m working with – and able to do an even better job than if I’d charged ahead.
The value of feedback. It’s easy to feel protective of our work and to get sensitive about feedback, but now I can’t imagine delivering something without asking how I could have done it better. It’s how you grow and how you learn more about what good looks like for that client.
I’d also like to share a little nugget which recently helped me in my transition into freelance life, and which I lapped up when I first heard it on Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail podcast:
In life, we’re not always meant to feel comfortable.
Sometimes, if we want to make a chasmic shift in our careers or in any part of our lives, we have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Embrace the discomfort! It doesn’t mean you’re failing, it means you’re growing.
A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...
Acting too quickly and not pausing to check and check again. Although in social media, a lot of projects tend to come with a side order of “we need it now!”, the biggest fails of my career have been rushing – not reading something properly or even worse, not proof-reading my work before sending…Always take a breath!
So, what’s next?
I’d like to be working with brands who influence positive change, surrounded by like-minded, creative people.
The social media landscape changes so rapidly that it is hard to know how it will look in 5 years’ time, but I hope I keep finding opportunities to learn and to add strings to my bow.
Eventually, I’d like to be writing a book about growing up with social media marketing, somewhere hot, with a cocktail in my hand. But that’s maybe a 20-year plan!