This is a guest post written by Hailey Oliff, SoMe’s 2013 summer intern. Hailey will be attending Washington University in St. Louis in the fall.
This summer, while my five best friends were off at camp cheering at the top of their lungs and tucking their campers into bed, I took the responsible route and chose to intern. Admittedly, I was somewhat bitter about not joining them at camp, but as my parents like to tell me – “all things happen for a reason.” I was nervous for my first day working at SoMe, a digital marketing agency in the West Loop, given my little knowledge of social media. But once again, I relied on my parent’s sound advice about keeping an open mind.
To my surprise, there was much more to digital marketing than tweeting every hour. My journey started with lots of research. My task was to help my colleague Peter, plan Leap, a conference for residential real estate agents to learn how to best leverage social media to help them close more sales and reach new clients.
As exciting as it was to send my very first tweet and to have control of the back end of the Leap website, the most enriching part of my experience was seeing how the conference shifted as we faced hurdles and responded to them. At another agency, pivoting the event may not have been allowed, but not at SoMe. I learned planning an event is a fluid process. Nothing is certain and change happens quickly. I learned more than I could have ever imagined about planning and marketing an event, how to talk to clients, and how to present a clear message online.
Madhavi Rao, SoMe’s Founder, has been nothing but supportive. She’s been transparent and constructive when describing how all of the work I put in over the summer had a positive impact on business development and service distribution. The rest of the SoMe team has been just as supportive and helpful throughout this learning experience. They treat me as an equal, except when the subject of college comes up (they are all super jealous!) I appreciate all of their advice, be it the number of hashtags per tweet or whether or not to join a sorority.
Riding to work on the CTA with commuters, and working alongside business professionals, has really made me feel like an adult. I think it’s going to help with this “maturity thing” when I leave for college next week.
In addition to learning social media I have gained some wisdom of my own:
1. Triple check tweets. Writing in 140 characters is an art that takes time to master.
2. When the office is going to get drinks after work you should order snacky foods, not a real meal.
3. Before starting work, let everyone in the office get their coffee. The day will be much more productive after that.
4. Be clear on the dress code or else you’ll be on the only one wearing shorts in a room full of pants.
All in all, I am so glad I came to SoMe to work for the summer. It has been well worth all the times I have had to say the mouthful, “I am interning at a Social Media Digital Marketing Agency.” I did all the things interns should do; I experienced the field and conducted research, but I also experienced a lot of independence in projects and worked with incredible people.
The added benefit of interning early? Next summer, while all my friends are off learning the ropes, I’ll get to do something fun and document it all on Twitter.