I first discovered Digital Mums through a strategically placed advert on my Facebook feed that I saw during my maternity leave. I was extremely interested in finding out more about the Social Media Management Course and, after watching an admissions webinar, I was considering signing up there and then. It sounded like a great way to update and future-proof my skills whilst at the same time enabling me to find #workthatworks around my family. However after the birth of our darling daughter Charlotte, all focus turned to her. The year went by in a flash and then I returned to my day job that I had working in higher education. I was lucky as my part-time flexible working request was accepted and I was able to go back to my role 3 days a week. The other time I spent at home with our daughter. My role also enabled me to take on more publicity and social media work, which I have always found the most rewarding.
If you want to do something, what’s stopping you?
The thought of expanding my knowledge through training never left the back of my mind. When the opportunity came up to increase my skills set and join the Digital Mums course I jumped in feet first. I was very excited to join the course although a little nervous. I hadn’t studied for a number of years – and after having a baby, my sleep-deprived, stressed mind was not as good at retaining information than the olden days!
Turns out, I wasn’t to worry. The course started, and before too long, we were asked to decide on a social media campaign to run. I chose the community campaign (I am passionate about people and the local area) and decided on the name ‘Bracknell Family Hub’ . This was essentially a campaign for ‘all things family’ in Bracknell, Berkshire and included information about things to do, parenting chat, meal ideas amongst other topics. I ran the campaign on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Digital Mums are a great advocate of ‘live learning’, so alongside the course content where I learnt the theory, I also ran my social media campaign.
Juggling with both hands
The most challenging aspect of the course was fitting in my campaign around my studies, work and looking after my family. I was very lucky to be supported by my wonderful fiance Carl (who must have wondered what I was doing when spending too many hours glued to my phone!). I did however learn how to manage this quite nicely using time management (Trello and spreadsheets) and scheduling (Hootsuite) tools so this helped. I’m also very grateful because as well as Digital Mums offering a Social Media Guide to help out with advice (contactable via a website called The Mothership), each student on the course was assigned into a peer group. There were 6 others in my peer group – ‘Social Animals’. I am pleased to call them friends as well as peers. It’s great to share our highs (‘Meghan Markle Day’) and lows (how to deal with trolls) with each other and our WhatsApp group has seen more messages in it than I’ve had hot dinners! But do you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world. It just goes to show how much a support network can help you.
Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow!
The course started off quite slow (eases you in gently) but then got intense. This is for good reason, as there is a lot of content to cover. You should put what you’ve learnt into practice as soon as possible (baptism of fire!). At times I felt like Indiana Jones running away from a boulder keeping up with things, but like every good movie (almost!), it all turned out quite well in the end. Some weeks were frantic and some were relaxed. Some of the topics covered during the course included:
- Content strategy design
- Identification of user personas
- Content curation and creation planning
- Social media platform management (creating posts, customer service)
- Building brand awareness
- Analytics / Insights and reporting against KPIs
I learned how to use the ‘Test, Measure, Reflect, Refine Model’ which ensured I quickly realised what worked well and what didn’t. I looked at my analytics and insights and completed a weekly report where it has been a pleasure watching my campaign grow!
Blackcurrant squash on ice!
Yesterday, I filled out my final report – the final assignment after an intense 6 months of training! Unfortunately, we are out of champagne. Instead, I have blackcurrant squash to celebrate. My results will be ready in 2 weeks time so will be sure to have some on ice! I have mixed feelings having handed it in. Of course I am sad that it is now over, but I am also proud in what I have achieved. I have loved doing the course so much, which has notably increased my passion for and knowledge of social media. I have re-branded Bracknell Family Hub to ‘Happy Family Hub’ which is the site you see today. The re-branded site still has the same aims as the original campaign. I look forward to continuing to run an active, positive focused community campaign.
Where do I go from here?
I intend to use my new improved skills in my current job. I also freelance part-time and also investigate ways in which I can improve my work-life balance by doing more of this. Life as a working parent as I discussed on a previous blog post can be a tough thing, so being able to work alongside your child’s needs is so important to me. As that famous Aerosmith song goes – ‘I don’t wanna miss a thing’. I don’t want to miss a minute of our daughter growing up. I want to be there for all those important moments whilst also having a career. Alongside running the Happy Family Hub blog, I will also be applying my Social Media Management skills by offering to help companies with their digital presence (see my Work with Me section). I would definitely recommend the Digital Mums course. It has given me a fountain of knowledge and the confidence to go and use it and spread my wings. They have helped me immerse myself deeper into the digital world – and I look forward to growing and moving forward.