By Momal Mushtaq | August 10, 2011 | 0 Comment
I started blogging in the year 2007. At that time, I was done with my intermediate examinations, and decided to blog just to avoid lethal post-exam boredom. Little did I know that one day it would become my field of interest for professional growth. Despite my parents being totally against it, I kept on blogging for about three years continuously with no recognition in the field. Recognition wasn’t my aim at that time; I was just a little butterfly stuck in the web of blogging. Time passed by and I found myself addicted to it! Then in 2010, I got nominated for Pak Blog Awards in the category of Best Diarist. This was my first formal success in the field of blogging and my life took a turn when I actually won the award!
I had always wanted to do something constructive in life. Acknowledging blogging as a sphere I already had won some recognition in, I decided to utilize it for the greater good. I had always felt the need of national integration, which in the murky political scenario of today, is indispensable. I felt the need of harmony: Interprovincial, intercultural and interfaith harmony. I felt that instead of taking our diverse culture as an advantage, it is instead being taken as a source of divide and ultimately discrimination. I felt that there is a major lack of networking, socializing and intermingling of people belonging to different backgrounds. And understanding the very issues, I established the Voice of Youth. The basic purpose was to allow youth belonging to different backgrounds to network, socialize and intermingle. I say “youth”, because it is youth that constitutes the 63% of Pakistan’s population (source: UNDP) and it’s in their hands whatever the future of the country is.
Just as I started the cause, I totally fell in love with it. It rather became my motivation to live. And it gave me a source to give back to the community. Having meager resources, I had to utilize the internet to market the Voice of Youth and here was when I came to know of social media marketing. Since internet marketing is not a part of curriculum in Pakistani universities, I started taking different free online courses. The technical side of internet marketing, precisely the search engine optimization, was too difficult for me to understand on my own. Therefore, my core focus became social media marketing.
Whatever I learned from those courses, I implemented that on the Voice of Youth’s Facebook page. The response and the speed with which the page grew was amazing! I felt that I had learned all there was to social media marketing – only to be given a huge shock later when I joined an internet marketing firm as a social media marketing intern.
My dear friends, there is much more to social media marketing than merely managing a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Here, I have tried to enlist some of the most important aspects, which I feel a social media marketer must know:
• It’s not a piece of cake
I thought it would be easy. Well, everyone does at the beginning. So, don’t get scared away if you find hurdles in your path. After taking courses on internet marketing and social media tools, I felt I knew the ins and outs of social media marketing. However, it didn’t turn out to be quite that easy. There is so much to learn and things aren’t that simple. Before your content is put up online, it is reviewed again and again till it’s almost near to perfection – and what is almost near to perfection is quite far from what you produced at the first place!
• It gets boring and dizzy
So, what’s exciting about monitoring a Facebook page or a Twitter account or a LinkedIn group? Nothing, to tell you the truth. Monitoring is boring. It gets exciting, though, when you’re given the liberty to develop and implement social media strategies into it. And to be given such liberty and that too by clients, is quite a rare opportunity.
• Proper planning and client approval is necessary
From the statuses posted on the Facebook page to the topics introduced in a LinkedIn group, everything needs to be pre-planned. Especially when you’re working for a client, the content needs to be to be approved by your client before it is put up on the social media tools.
• English language and creative writing skills are required
When you make a status update on a Facebook page, it’s like speaking live in front of thousands of people. And to add to it, whatever you say is recorded and can be retrieved any time quite easily. This naturally adds to making the whole process quite stressful. If you don’t have a strong grip over English language or you can’t do creative writing, and still if you’re doing good in this field, then this would seriously be miraculous.
• You can’t get away without reporting
Yes, you actually can’t. The frequency of social media progress reports depends upon your client, who may ask for a report on a daily, quarterly or a monthly basis. Since there isn’t much literature available on how to make your social media progress reports presentable and what exactly to include in them and what not, that’s something you have to carry out on your own, utilizing your creativity to the fullest.
In the end, the hardships are really all worth it. In today’s world where e-commerce is on the rise and businesses are increasingly utilizing social media to meet with commercial success, one that’s interested in a career in social media needs to have basic knowledge of internet marketing. And since it comparatively is a new field, you can do wonders by bringing in innovation. Who knows you become to social media marketing what Isaac Newton was to Physics! But remember: “no pain, no gain.”
Originally published in Askoli Blog on 10.09.2011
I am a passionate women's rights activist and an aspiring social entrepreneur from Pakistan. My work in development and media communications, with focus on youth and gender equality, has been recognized by global awards, including a first place award from the United Nations.