We continue our 2015 Summer Series today, where we give young talent in digital marketing a chance to shine in front of State of Digital’s audience. In this blog post, Jess Orr from The Tomorrow Lab tells us about her first two years in digital marketing.
Remember that feeling, at graduation when you are sitting there waiting for your name to be called, hoping you won’t trip up in your new heels and face plant in front of the entire ceremony. That was only two short years ago for me and I have experienced a lot in the world of digital marketing since…well I think so.
I graduated with first class honours in BSc Marketing from Newcastle University. I was pretty pleased with myself at that point. As for life after University there was no real plan and that was daunting, especially in the current climate where there were little to no jobs for new graduates. I had applied for various marketing roles and graduate schemes but not one pulled through for me.
So I packed up my flat in Newcastle, boarded my EasyJet flight to Belfast International and came back home to the little country village I call home.
I settled back into my previous part-time job that got me through school – waitressing and bar tending. I will be honest, it was soul destroying going back to this after working so hard at University and wanting that dream job.
I knew a job wasn’t going to be handed to me on a silver platter, so I had to embrace starting from the bottom – interning. Although it wasn’t specifically digital marketing related I landed myself a part-time internship position at a modelling agency in Belfast – Style Academy Model Agency. Within a couple of weeks I put myself forward to manage and monitor content on their social media platforms; taking the reigns on their Facebook and Twitter, setting up their Instagram and sharing content from behind the scenes at local fashion shows and events. I loved it!
I had been applying for jobs and anxiously checking job sites daily, with no luck. One morning my boss said to me, “Jess, you could totally be doing this for other businesses, I know so many people who don’t have one clue how to use Facebook” – and so Social Circle NI was born! I figured I might as well start up something of my own and see where it gets me, if I meet new people, come across opportunities and learn new skills along the way, sure that would be great. If it didn’t go well, at least I could say I tried.
Jobs started off small, managing a Facebook page for a small village festival, a local pub and an interiors store. I worked hard, yearning to please, over delivering and perfecting content. Word spread and through recommendations and meeting old friends at the right time I got more and more clients.
One of my highlights through Social Circle was developing a relationship with a highly reputable events company based in Belfast, Callow Events. Working alongside the Callow Events team I have managed the social media for UTV Business Eye Awards and Sport Changes Life in 2014, where I got to meet Dame Mary Peters, Kelly Holmes, James Nesbitt, Karl Frampton and some of the team from Ulster Rugby. I was also privileged to develop the social media campaign for this year’s Titanic Motor Show and Fleet Awards at Titanic Belfast.
I loved what I was doing. At University I never thought I would specialise in social media, of course I was interested in it, but I always pictured a job in advertising. I was even able to stop waitressing and bar tending for a time. But I wanted to learn more from other digital marketers, I wanted to work as part of a team with bigger clients, have a steady income and gain more opportunities. So the intensive job hunt began…
After applying for almost fifteen jobs within two months and attending five interviews I was offered the position of Social Media Executive at a digital marketing agency in Belfast, The Tomorrow Lab, part of The Pierce Partnership. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands, started the position on March 11th and have loved every minute since!
I have taken on the role of developing the social media process for the agency and how we work with clients. Since March the number of social media clients at The Tomorrow Lab has boomed! I have the pleasure of managing social media accounts for Corona, Yellow Tail, Blossom Hill, Tennent’s, Roundstone Irish ale and new health drink JWV+. On a daily basis I am developing content strategies, creating content, monitoring engagement and reporting analytics.
I have recently started taking social media workshops for clients, such as CAFRE (the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise) and DARD (the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development). I am also polishing my blog writing skills, writing blogs for clients like The Portfolio of Fine Diamonds and my own social media blogs for The Tomorrow Lab website.
I attended my first digital marketing conference only a couple of months ago, 3XE Digital in Dublin, and I am thrilled to be attending Social Media London in November.
My Future in Digital Marketing
All of these opportunities have been made possible through working with The Tomorrow Lab, an agency that prides itself on developing its employees. I am excited at the thought of my future at The Tomorrow Lab and what the next two short years will bring, as I have learnt so much already from true professionals. The beauty of social media and digital marketing is that there is always more, it’s constantly changing and developing, everyday is a school day. I never would have got to where I am today if I didn’t dare to begin my journey in digital marketing. Great things never came from comfort zones.