Q&A: Working in Social Media
Victoria is the co-founder of VRD Media, a boutique social media management and content creation agency. You can see some of her fab work on HelloGrads social channels! Victoria moved from Brisbane in Australia in 2013 to study BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism at London College of Fashion, which is a part of the University of the Arts London. She talks to us about her career, she shares some great tips on working for yourself, and helpful advice for anyone wanting to get into social media.
What has been your career journey so far?
I have two incredibly hard-working parents, so I’ve grown up with almost a warped sense of how much a person should work. When I was at school, from the age of 14 I worked on the weekends and whilst I was at university, I would have 3 or 4 jobs at any given time.
At university, a number of the jobs I took on were journalism-related which provided me with some incredible learning lessons. For over two years, I was a social reporter for The Times and the Evening Standard. This meant I would attend events in the evening, interview celebrities or political figures and then later that night send my notes and interviews off to the editor. It was daunting and tiring at times, but it was also incredibly fun and always included a glass of champagne and copious canapés.
I also worked for an amazing woman, Joanne Admiraal, who was the founder of an activewear brand, Hey Jo. I began working with her as an intern and then took on a part-time role writing all the content for her website.While I loved working in the traditional-media field, when I left university I knew I wanted to do something in new-media. Newspapers weren’t for me!
What is your day to day like as a social media manager?
I’ve always worked from home as most days I am out and about meeting clients. I have looked into getting an office, but it is an unnecessary expense, especially as I do work effectively at home. I tend to work from 9 – 6/7ish each day, however, I like to go for a walk around lunchtime or later in the afternoon (especially in lockdown). Because I really enjoy my work, I don’t mind working later into the evening or over the weekend if I need to. Like so many people my days change a lot, but I do try and have some sort of routine. I always exercise in the morning (this is a lot trickier in lockdown), have a smoothie and get to work.
Because I’ve grown up juggling school and work and then university and work, one skill I have developed over time is time-management and there are a number of things I do each day to ensure I work effectively. Firstly, each night I write a to-do list for the following day. This helps to ease my mind and switch off for the day. Each morning I then number my to-do list so I know which order to complete my tasks. I write my to-do lists on “Stickies” on my laptop, I’ve done this for years and it’s what works best for me. I have different Sticky notes for daily tasks, weekly tasks and admin tasks.
Secondly, I have a diary that I write all my meetings in. I like to see what my week looks like and having it written down allows me to visualise each of my days. Thirdly, I prioritise exercise. Even if I don’t feel like I have the time to work out, I try to fit in some sort of movement as I know it will help me to feel energised, stay focused and work more efficiently.
Who do you work with?
I used to work primarily on my own but last year I had someone come on board and join VRD Media full time, which has been brilliant. He oversees new business and also manages some of our client accounts.
It’s been a learning curve for me as I’ve had to learn to let go of full control and delegate responsibilities, but it was 100% the best decision I could have made as we’ve been able to expand our services and grow VRD Media. Obviously, growth was halted slightly due to COVID but we have big plans for 2021.
How did you set up your business?
I began VRD Media as soon as I left university in 2016. I had written my dissertation on Instagram and the idea came about when I was talking with my Mum about how a lot of businesses didn’t realise the power of social media.
Initially, it was meant to be a side-hustle whilst I looked for and found a full-time job, but I soon realised there was a gap in the market for businesses needing social media help, particularly with Instagram. I decided to fully commit to VRD Media and gave myself a 3 month period to see if I could make it work. I managed to find enough clients and have been doing it ever since. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt from starting my own business is that the things you think will be challenging, aren’t in fact that challenging, but the things you don’t even think about come along and really test you! I’ve found some amazingly helpful resources on HelloGrads actually for these “unexpected challenges”, particularly around tax returns…
How important has networking been for you, particularly for finding new clients?
I am hopeless at purposefully networking but I am confident in what I do, so most of the time I have unexpectedly found new clients by simply speaking to people about what we do. I think it’s really important to believe in your work and be proud of it as if you don’t believe in it, no one else ever will. Also, you never know who you’re speaking to, or who they may know, so it’s important to be kind and also open up if someone is interested in hearing more about what you do.
How do you keep yourself motivated when you work for yourself?
I have 2 tricks for staying motivated
1) The 10-minute rule: If there’s a task I really don’t want to do, I make myself do it for just 10-minutes. If I get to the end of the 10-minutes and still don’t want to do it, I stop, but most of the time by the end of 10-minutes I’m over the hurdle of starting and just want to keep working on it to finish it.
2) Do something creative: I know that doing something creative makes me feel fulfilled, so if I am really struggling with motivation, I will do the creative tasks in my to-do list. This could be making graphics, editing photos or changing my website. Creative tasks tend to bring me a lot of enjoyment and subsequently motivation.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
The thing I love most about my job is how different each day is and how diverse our clients are. Being able to work with brands we love and believe in is really inspiring and it’s great to play a part in their journeys. Also being able to meet and work with people who’ve had so many different lives and careers.
What skills are important for a career in social media?
I believe the two most important skills are creativity and organisation. It is important to be creative as you need to come up with exciting and engaging ideas consistently and ensure your clients stand out amongst the crowd. Being organised, however, I would almost say is more important as no matter how great your ideas are if you don’t have the systems in place to execute them effectively, then the ideas are redundant.
Do you have any tips for someone wanting to get into social media?
This is a tough one as everyone’s career paths are so unique and varied, but my top tip is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. Clients come from the strangest unexpected places, so you have to be willing to create a social media presence for yourself and your brand. This is something I myself have struggled with, as I’ve always liked keeping my life private and hated posting about my work as I felt it looked boastful. But you’ve just got to get over it, as honestly, people care a lot less than you think. In fact, they are actually interested and supportive of your career and work.
How have you found living in the UK?
I absolutely love living in the UK. I think what I enjoy most is how (pre-pandemic) there are always so many exciting things happening throughout London. It’s incredibly inspiring.There are also so many amazing opportunities and I’ve been lucky to meet brilliant people here too.Having said that, this is my first English winter in about 6 years and it is proving to be very cold! Definitely craving the Aussie sun.
How have you found being away from your family during the pandemic?
It has been incredibly tough, especially around Christmas as I usually head back to Australia and work from there in the sunshine for about 6 weeks. Having said that, I FaceTime my family a lot and I have felt like I’ve been able to really reset and enter the new year super focused. Plus it will make my next trip back to Australia even more special.
What does success mean to you? Has this changed over time?
It sounds so cliché, but I think success is feeling happy and fulfilled within your life. My view on success has definitely changed over time, particularly during the pandemic as it suddenly became clear what really is important.
I think it is also important to not compare your life and achievements to others, as comparison truly is the thief of joy. Everyone is on their own path and success ebbs and flows, so you’ve just got to stay focused, work hard but also have fun and not be too tough on yourself.
Do you have any tips for growing your social media profile?
Social media is becoming more and more saturated so my main piece of advice would be to be authentic and creative. Figure out what is important and interesting to you and showcase this.
Use your captions to tell a story, let people get to know you on Stories, and continually interact with your audience. Try not to focus too much on your number of followers, instead focus on the quality of your followers. A smaller but active and engaged following is a lot more genuine than a large, uninterested following. Unfortunately, there’s no magic button and the people who succeed on social media are the ones who dedicate a lot of time and energy to it.
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