Allie looks after the society’s social content, working in the marketing department doing everything from posting on social channels to producing written and video content for our website.
I had no idea what I wanted to do in school until the day came to make the decision on whether to go to university or join the army - I was a staff sergeant cadet in school so the military was always in the back of my mind. I enjoyed English, art and business studies and did all of these with psychology at AS-level , and ended up combining a lot of these with my degree in fashion marketing and branding. I always just say I was good with words, liked the marketing side of business studies, was interested in how people think and what makes them buy and loved reading magazines so this is what I settled on.
When I was really young I swung between forensic science (too much watching Midsomer Murders with my mum) and being a fashion designer or buyer. I soon realised I was super squeamish and didn’t get on to well with science. Then someone told me you had to be ‘really good at maths’ to be a buyer. I realise now that it isn’t true and it always annoys me that I let this flippant comment steer me away from a career I was genuinely interested in.
I guess my problem was that I was interested in lots of different things and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I wasn’t like my friends with doctors and dentists for parents who knew exactly what career path they wanted to take.
I left school with nine GCSEs (A*-C) as at my school we didn’t have combined sciences or anything, I thought this was normal but now I know friends who have 16 GCSEs! I enjoyed languages, English, history, art and business studies the best. Numbers and science still make my head fizz. I got A* GSCE in art, English literature, business studies and history, A in English, German and French.
I then went to sixth form and got three A-levels (all Bs) and then went to university and achieved a 2:1 in BA (Hons) fashion marketing and branding.
I also had a BTech in public services from my time as a cadet and multiple shooting certificates from SA80 rifles to an L86 light support weapon (like a small machine gun).
My first ‘proper’ job out of university was social media intern at global student discount company UNiDAYS. My job was to look after their blog and grow the views as well as supporting on social media scheduling, replying on Twitter and general admin tasks to do with managing social media platforms for three regions – UK, US and Australia before they also branched out into Germany. I was a proper ‘intern’ though, low pay and lots of admin jobs to do! It was really fun though - I got to write articles that I was interested in and choose items from our retail partner’s sites to share on our social media profiles.
I got the job because I met one of the owners at our graduate show and was introduced by one of my lecturers. I told him all about my blog that I had started during my first term of university. We were all advised on our course to create one as it’s a good creative outlet and we can practise our writing on there and as it turned out, it was what got me my first job. Nine years on, I still write my blog almost weekly about a range of topics from lifestyle to interiors to food and skincare.
It also helped that I had some relevant work experience as I’d always worked throughout school and university. I’d waitressed, worked in an opticians, been a barmaid (always my favourite job) and I’d assisted a stylist in Bristol with events such as Bristol Fashion Week, her business social media and article writing for a local magazine. I had social media and blogging experience as well as fashion-related experience from also working on a student magazine as the fashion and beauty editor.
I worked my way up at UNiDAYS from intern to assistant to content executive and eventually content executive and Influencer Lead introducing working with bloggers and online influencers into the company. One of the biggest projects we worked on was a live Instagram workout with Lucy Mecklenburgh which reached over 12 million people. Once I’d left UNiDAYS their global blog views stood at around 600,000 a month and when I started it was averaging 15,000 a month.
I decided after over three years at UNiDAYS that I deserved to be a manager and this was the next step in my career as I’d been managing my own channels and area of the work but my title didn’t reflect this so I applied for a role with a Nottingham based digital and advertising agency, Together Agency as a social media manager and I worked here for a year. It was superfast-paced, lots of clients to deal with and I worked with some really cool brands again, lots of food and drink and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) which meant lots of client meetings and creating social media content for a range of different topics. In one day, I would move from biscuits to pies to speaking about fertility to Spain’s number one liqueur and then right back around to power generators – it was a whirlwind. As it was so fast paced the months whizzed by but quickly became quite repetitive with a week of content creation, a week of scheduling, a week of reporting and then usually a week of client meetings before starting all over again. Such is agency life when each client has similar needs.
I joined The Nottingham in October 2018 as social media and content manager and this is still the role that I am in. I was brought in to try and boost our social media presence and our web content offering by working closely with the PR team and the digital marketing team as well as the rest of the marketing and partnerships team to support in branch campaigns online and create a cohesive brand look.
I still do the same role that I was doing when I joined but my first year was almost seeing what we could do with a specific budget and what results we could achieve as well as working out what content , social media posts and adverts worked for us. Now, in my second year, I’m building on the results and learnings from the first year and finding how we can become a front runner in the financial services content arena.
At the start of your career you have to do the ‘boring’ jobs that no one wants to do with a positive attitude. Filing, analysing stats, creating presentations, Post Office trips and endless scheduling on social platforms, they’re all essential to a well performing social media team and they’re all good practice. People will always remember you if you work hard and offer to help. When they remember you, they give you more opportunities to prove yourself and improve in your own career. My job still has a fair amount of admin but it is also rewarding too.
Find ways to find yourself experience if no-one will give it to you. Offer to do social media for a local business, write your own blog and find skills that are transferrable like attention to detail, organisation and creativity.
And my best tip is… always bring ideas and snacks to a meeting.
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