Life As A Social Media Consultant

This article originally appeared on Ad Lib’s website.

To shed some light on what a career in social media looks like, we are catching up with a range of Social Media Professionals to showcase some career journeys and paths into the industry.

This series is inspired by the upcoming Social Media Week Bristol; which is designed to upskill, inform, explore ideas and opportunities and further the conversation on key issues in media, marketing and technology.

Here our chat with Keri Hudson, Freelance Social Media Consultant and Glug Bristol Host to find out about her career in social media so far.

ADLIB: How did you actually get into social media? What has been the path that led you to it?

Keri Hudson: Well, it all started with Myspace!

Back in the day, I used to spend hours teaching myself how to code so I could make my profile look cool. That got me interested in all things online and techy, so I decided to study Interactive Media Production at Uni, which was a mixture of content production, web design and research into online social communities. We’re talking super early social media activity; # had only just appeared on Twitter and Instagram didn’t even exist!

My course ended up being a bit too broad, so I deferred my final year and headed to London in 2010 to gain some experience. I interned at 1000heads and Wunderman and worked with clients including Nokia, Land Rover, STA Travel, 3 Mobile and Canon. Since then, I’ve managed social media activity, produced strategies and ran training workshops for all sorts of clients in the film and TV, charity, travel, lifestyle and education sectors. Plus, lots of lovely local start-ups and independent traders.

ADLIB: What does a typical working day look like for you (if there is such thing) and what do you like most about your job?

Keri Hudson: Haha, I wish I had a typical working day! I’m a freelancer so it could include developing strategies for my clients, holding training workshops, giving public talks, researching social media trends, networking, meeting people for 1:1 consultancy sessions, producing activity reports and producing content creation guides.

ADLIB: What avenues would you recommend to people within social media to keep their skills and industry knowledge up to date?

Keri Hudson: Social media literally changes every day, so you should always keep an eye on the platform’s official blogs. You can also subscribe to Battenhall and Social Chain’s daily WhatsApp broadcasts, which are a brilliant way to keep up to date with important announcements. I also really, really recommend going to industry events to hear from speakers and network with others.

Bristol is lucky to have lots of digital marketing meetups – I’d definitely suggest checking out Glug Bristol and Rules of Engagement.

ADLIB: If you came out of school today, what advice would you find helpful to pursue a career within social media? What should the industry be doing to attract new talent?

Keri Hudson: Without a doubt, more paid internship opportunities. There’s this common, impossible expectation for young people applying for junior roles to have already gained experience. I mean, how?! That just isn’t realistic. If brands and agencies want to attract young talent, they need to be offering salaried placement and apprenticeship opportunities. Unpaid internships are wrong, wrong, wrong – they cut out a huge pool of talent that are unable to afford to do them.

Okay, rant over! I think we should also be seeking to develop more opportunities for young people to meet, learn from and network with established marketers – it’s something we’re trying to encourage with Glug Bristol.

ADLIB: And finally, what piece of advice would you give your younger self, just entering social media as a professional? Is there any advice that could have helped you along the way?

Keri Hudson: Go to that networking event, grab a wine and strike up a conversation with someone else that looks a little lost (there will definitely be someone). The opportunity to meet interesting, like-minded people and build a professional network is so worth the five minutes of initial awkwardness.

Thanks so much for sharing, Keri!

Book out June 14th in your calendar! Keri is co-running the creative and strategic workshop – “Reignite Your Instagram” at this year’s Social Media Week Bristol. More information and tickets this way.