Under normal circumstances, paying your employees to use Facebook or Twitter on company time would be a terrible idea, but this is exactly what Yale university is doing to up their rankings in the race to become the most socially active and popular University in the USA.
Lagging behind Harvard just isn’t good enough for the prestigious Ivy League university, so they’ve taken steps to train their administrators in social media marketing in an ‘all hands on deck’ approach. 30 of the team were sent to ‘social media boot camp’ to learn the art of posting, tweeting and pinning, while the social analytics were also closely examined to determine their current reach and future targets.
I can’t advocate this approach enough; there is a strong argument for keeping your social media in-house. Social media requires a genuine team-member voice; and this is something that your followers will recognise and see right through if it’s provided by an external imposter. While there are general interaction rules that any social media marketer will follow, they won’t know the ins and outs of your business, which can be vital for encouraging genuine interaction.
While the strategy and decision making will still need to be developed by your marketing department, the implementation and maintenance of your social media profiles can easily be managed by your internal team. It looks great on a CV, it brings variety to their workload, and they have the chance to play an integral role in your marketing efforts. It’s a win-win situation.
So how do you do about training them? While most people have a working knowledge of social media platforms through personal use, using it for marketing purposes is a very different matter, so some training is a must. Here at Bigfoot Digital we run a social media workshop that will give you all the skills you need to get started. Just add a little creativity and drive, and you’ll have a fully functioning social media strategy.
Last week I gave a brief overview of how to break into the SEO world for the eager young graduate, and as promised, I’m now going to cover career changing options for the more seasoned worker.
The appeal of SEO is the same, regardless of age. A career in SEO gives you the opportunity to branch out and discover new fields and to be part of one of the fastest paced industries around; the Internet! It also gives you a wide variety of working environments; in-house, agency, or self-employed. The prospect of being your own boss and working from home is an appealing one for most people.
So, how does one go about breaking in to this elusive field?
First, do your research, and establish if this is really where you want to be. Read around the subject; blogs are a good place to start, or scour Amazon for a few inexpensive books.
Once you’re comfortable with the lingo and have the basics down, the next step will most likely be training. As there isn’t much in the way of a degree course for SEO, you should start with a training course offered by a reputable SEO company.
Here at Bigfoot Digital we offer a beginners skills workshop, and advanced skills workshop for those wanting to get ahead in the business. Alternatively, Clickwork Media offer a one day course to get you started. Or, if you don’t have the time to commit to a full day course, Google Geeks offer an online course which allows you to learn these at your own pace.
Don’t give up the day job just yet, as the training will most likely take between one and three days, so you should be able to fit it in around your other commitments.
Use your evenings and weekends to build up your experience and knowledge; try freelancing or offering to do small SEO jobs for people you know for free. It’s a good way to make sure you have something to talk about when it comes to interview stage.
Finding a Job
Consider transferring in-house if you already work for a company that has (or needs) an SEO department. Or start looking for advertised positions on job sites; be sure to have your profile updated with all your new skills and log in daily to stay at the top of job site search results.
And finally, if there aren’t any positions advertised at the moment, try contacting agencies that you’d be interested in working for. As with most jobs networking is vital, so use social media, e-mail and direct mail to reach out to them in the best possible way. (Without spamming, of course.)
For small businesses and new start-ups, hiring a SEO professional may not be on the cards. So the next best thing to a professional is to buck-up and learn to do it yourself. There are a number of SEO courses available to you; both on-site and online, for varying prices and with different levels of support available.
Starting with Clickwork Media, they offer public courses in London, Manchester and Glasgow for £249 per delegate. Or they can provide on-site SEO training for up to 7 people for £499. This course covers everything from the SEO basics and planning, to tracking your progress in Analytics. For that amount of money, you’d have to be fairly committed to going it alone. Both courses offer three months of support, but it’s important to remember that you won’t be a SEO professional at the end of the day; this stuff takes years to learn, and it’s constantly changing.
If you’re not entirely sure you want to go it alone, here at Bigfoot Digital we offer several courses which may be suitable. Start out with the Beginners Skills Workshop, and you’ll have the skills you need to decide if you have the time and commitment to plan your own SEO strategy. Or you can use this knowledge to hire a SEO professional to do it all for you, without getting taken for a ride. No more being taken in by false or unrealistic promises. We also have an advanced skills workshop which will give the knowledge and skills to optimise your site for search engines. And we provide a buffet lunch, and the tea and biscuits. What’s not to love?
If you don’t have the time to commit to a full day course, Google Geeks offer an online course which allows you to purchase individual modules and learn these at your own pace. The entire course costs £129, so it’s perfect for new start-ups, and those with a limited internet marketing budget. This course is also perfect for graduates who want to make a good impression in interviews, without breaking the bank. Although it’s worth mentioning that Google Geeks don’t place much emphasis on SMM, as they have little faith in its ability to drive traffic to your site. Obviously, this depends entirely on the type of company you’re running, and SMM may work better for some more than others.
And finally, the SEOtraining course is the most expensive, at £350 for public courses and £600 for on-site training (+VAT). They offer introductory and intermediate level courses in London, and are geared towards individuals, SMEs, and larger companies. It’s a hands-on course, taught with a ‘common sense’ approach. Although, you’d better be paying attention on the day, as there is no support period provided once the course is complete.