I remember speaking to a few students after we completed our core unit, Social Media Strategies and Tactics. We all wanted to become Social Media Managers after University. The unit was hands on, thought provoking, innovative and very practical. We were required to blog each week, comment on other students posts, analyse online reputation management and understand how to manage our own online reputation. It was a standout unit in my degree. I mean, it’s perfect for a PR/Communications student, right?
We live in the digital age. It’s fun, exciting, and creative. There’s a never-ending list of possibilities in the online space! The digital space is growing like a vine and there are lot of fantastic jobs within this area. It’s becoming more sophisticated by the minute, organisations are seeing and reaping the benefits to using it and it’s a way for everyone to build their own personal brand.
I volunteered at a not-for-profit organisation as a Social Media Manager. I created and managed its Instagram account. This may be on a small scale, but I had to start somewhere. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had, because it was a great opportunity for me to learn how to strategically promote organisation through a social platform. Later, my core internship unit rolled around and I had the chance to intern in a PR related area. At this stage, I was still extremely interested to learn more about social media, so I looked for a social media internship. I managed to get one – YAY!
Alongside two other interns, I had the opportunity to develop and implement a social media campaign, which allowed me to extend my skill set and broaden my knowledge. Again, very hands on. I had the chance to create social media content, schedule it, and look at what worked and what didn’t. This blog post isn’t about what I did in that internship, but in terms of where my career is heading, I am interested to find a role that does have a strong emphasis on social media.
To find out where my career is heading and what it is really like to work within a social media role, I reached out to Mr. Ryan Mobilia, a Digital Communications Coordinator for the State Sport Centres Trust in Victoria. I sent Ryan a tweet and asked him he would be happy for me to interview him. He promptly responded to my message and agreed! I was so excited to interview Ryan, because he has worked in a variety of communication roles. He previously worked at the Gold Coast Suns and Basketball Australia and even founded two organisations, Hook Media (co-founded) and Valuable Impact. Ryan has been in his current role with State Sport Centres Trust for five months, where he undertakes a wide variety of work across social media and web content. Ryan was also my tutor for the Social Media Strategies and Tactics unit, where he inspired myself and many other students in my cohort with his deep knowledge of the digitized world.
As a soon-to-be PR Graduate, I was interested to find out more about Ryan and his journey after University. Ryan’s current job covers a wide variety of different areas across social media, web content and more. I was curious to find out more about his social media experience. I asked Ryan questions about his role as a Digital Communications Coordinator:
Why did you choose to work at State Sport Centres Trust?
“The variety! There is a variety of things I can do. There is a variety of aspects that I cover. So in any given week, I cover a variety of different people and lots of different sports and that was a major thing for me. They also had a goal to promote their athletes and the sports better and that’s something that I’d like to do. So it all worked out pretty well.”
What is the typical application process at the organisation? How many interviews did you have to go through?
“Firstly, I applied for the job online. I also had to showcase examples of social media and web content that I have created. I then had to go through two interviews, the first interview was with my Manager and the second interview was with my Manager and her Boss.”
What does a typical day look like? Can you describe your day-to-day tasks?
“I’ll be planning content for the website. It might be a story on the website, it might be a new promotion that I need to put on the website and if it goes on the website I will usually put in on the social media platforms, and then once they are on the platforms, then I will usually schedule newsletter communications to go out. That’s a big part of my day, thinking about creating content. I also meet with other teams to find out what they need help with in terms of promotion. So I’ll look at what events are going on, attend the events and I will take some photos and videos. I also meet with the Gym Team, Swim School and the Events Team to find out what’s going on and get some content from them that I need to put into my schedule that I need to promote.”
I am aware that you also founded Valuable Impact. What inspired you or motivated you to create Valuable Impact?
“So that was after I helped co-found Hook Media. The goal there was to do what I’ve always done and that was doing the thing that I like doing the most. I like teaching other people about a range of the different things, whether that is helping them to create a social media strategy or teaching them how to use Facebook. It’s me educating other people about so many different things like how to build a positive online reputation and much more.”
Which online communities do you manage for State Sport Centres Trust?
“So I manage the website, newsletter communication through email marketing, and then in terms of platforms, for each of our three venues, they each have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also, the café we’re sitting in right now, we’re actually building an Instagram for it and we’re also building a Facebook page for the Gym at the moment. So just constantly trying to build things up and get the message out there about what we do.”
What is the most enjoyable part of being a Digital Communications Coordinator? What tasks do you enjoy the most?
“I do like getting people to engage with the post. When people are commenting and sharing, it’s a fantastic feeling. That’s the value of putting it out there. You want to put a post out there that people actually like and something they want to watch. Also, having the chance to highlight things that haven’t been highlighted before. There’s a lot of people training here who haven’t had the chance to be under the spotlight before, so it’s great to give them the chance to do that.”
After interviewing Ryan, I realised that if I wanted to pursue a career as a Social Media Manager, or another type of role which manages the online platforms for a company, I would probably have the opportunity to identify new ways for the organisation to embrace the digital space. This is an area of interest to me and I will explore it further. Ryan mentioned he chose to work at State Sport Centres Trust because of the variety of things he can do. He works with multiple teams within the organisation, so I’d imagine no two days are ever the same!
My short term goal, which is mentioned on my personal website states “With a particular interest in emerging technologies, I hope to land a job in the social media landscape. I hope to be given the opportunity to work in an assistant role with an emphasis on social media to gain more experience in communications”. This is still true. I do hope to secure a job that does have a strong focus on social media because it’s constantly evolving. I believe most PR/Communications jobs will have a social media element. Throughout my time at University, I developed a passion for analysing online content, creating my own content – both written and visual and engaging with other online users.
How the internship process helped guide me:
I found out early on that social media was not part of the community engagement function. Therefore, I did not undertake any social media work in my recent internship. Social media is managed by another function of the business. However, I worked on a variety of other tasks which were just as exciting!
I also had the opportunity to see a Students@Work program in action. I went on my last day interning, but the project ran for a whole week. During the week, I checked the company’s social media platforms to see if they published any posts around this particular initiative…but I couldn’t find anything! I have often thought of real-time social posting or posting promptly around particular events as a way to spark interest in the moment. In my mind, I thought that posting as-it-happens or quickly, would grab online users’ attention and generate online discussion. I understand the company has a social media policy and an approval process to go through before posts are published. However, it had not occurred to me that these processes can be quite lengthy!
I also had a conversation with Ryan about this and he said that you have to have a plan and you need to be proactive in terms of thinking ahead. For example, you might think let’s talk about this event afterwards. You also have to be reactive as well which is not a negative necessarily. He also explained to me that there might be a sport event happening on a Saturday, so he will post on Friday and on the following Monday about the event.
Reflecting on what I observed at my internship and Ryan’s response, I understand that while a post might not go up as an event unfolds, practitioners still need to be planning ahead and thinking about HOW to engage with online users AFTER the event has occurred. This might be simple to you, but I found this quite interesting. My experience of this leads me to believe…that just because a company might not publish content straight away or as-it-happens, doesn’t mean that they aren’t strategically thinking about how to publish it online later.
Thanks for reading! Remember to follow @RyanMobilia on Twitter if you would like to learn more about him and keep up-to-date with his amazing work! There’s more interview content I’d like to share, so keep your eyes peeled! 🙂
Over and out!