Walls

As I have mentioned in a previous post, people confide in me in random situations, people who barely know me and total strangers. I think of myself as a very approachable person and I am genuinely interested in learning about new people, so I enjoy these kinds of interactions. As I have got older though, I have realised that this is really unusual behaviour; most adults are not interested in getting to know new people.

Working in the tailor-made travel industry means I spend a lot of time writing about the really authentic experiences travellers can have around the world, and time and again the most popular ones are those that enable them to interact with local people and learn a new culture. So why doesn’t this apply when we are at home in the U.K.? Why, as adults when we are in our own country, do we immerse ourselves in a book or our smartphones, when abroad we would be open to new people?

I am not sure it is a cultural thing, my theory is that as adults we all put enormous walls around ourselves because we don’t want to be the one sharing about ourselves. When we are in a new country we can ask lots of questions, have a conversation with someone and feel like we are learning something, but back home it would be a two-way dialogue, we might be asked about our lives, what we like, where we work etc. and that is something most adults aren’t open to.

Being someone that does have random conversations with people, I often get remarks like ‘I wouldn’t have given that person the time of day.’ Or ‘I just pretend I don’t speak English or I am really busy’, like I am crazy for opening myself up to new people for a brief conversation. It is also easy to mistake these interactions for flirtation, but that has very rarely been the case. I don’t however, have time to talk to time wasters, there is a big difference between a meaningful conversation with someone and a creep!

Some of the most fascinating people I have met have been in the most obscure situations, if you only allow yourself to interact with people you kind of ‘know’ at work or a group you have joined, you are shutting yourself off from most of the world, from people who are entirely different from you.  If you constantly think everyone has an agenda or you put your walls up and don’t get past the small talk phase you will miss so many opportunities. I am someone with social anxiety with certain types of people, I literally can’t have conversations about how much I spend on my car/my rent/how much I earn, these conversations end pretty quickly, I like to talk about books, politics, passions and laugh, what I have found is that people who you can have real conversations with don’t come along very often, so when they do, let them in, if only for a brief conversation.

Read my blog about a girl I met on a plane in India here.

Rouge x

Replace social media with something producitve

6-things-1

As a social media executive, I spend a LOT of time on social media. Seeing the world through tiny messages and images people put out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Twitter is where I first hear about most news stories, either through what is trending or what comes into my newsfeed. I tend not to post to Facebook much these days and I think since doing so the algorithm has kicked me out of most people’s newsfeed. I still use Facebook Messenger (and Whatsapp) to stay in touch with my friends. Snapchat is a slightly pointless but very addictive platform (which I don’t use for work so I can definitely cut out). Instagram is my favourite, due to its anonymity and less intrusive nature, I also prefer the style of content that comes into my newsfeed; it is inspirational, artistic and beautiful, and not endless pictures of my long-lost school friends on nights out or feeding their children.

Last week I read an article written by a woman who decided to replace the urge to scroll on social media with yoga. Of course, these urges come throughout the day and so she found herself having to do seated yoga poses in very awkward situations. She did find though, that she felt better from not looking at social media relentlessly, and it made me think about how much I use it.

With my job it is inevitable that I will spend nine hours a day either on social media, scheduling content for social media or carrying out tasks directly linked to social media. That is ok, because in a work capacity it is interesting and I am learning new things through inspirational content, engaging with clients and planning exciting projects.

From a personal perspective I am not really sure how often I use it but I do feel like I would like to use it less. I lead a really busy lifestyle and always feel like I don’t have enough time to do things, but I wonder whether replacing scrolling mindlessly on social media with something productive would change that. Our iPhones are designed to make us want to use it, they are seamless and incredibly addictive, but when you think about what we get out of all the time we spend on them it isn’t much. I always feel revitalised after a trip away, and not just from visiting a new place or getting some sun, usually it is the feeling of exhilaration from not being chained to my phone.

Obviously doing the job I do means that I am a big advocate of social media, I don’t think it is destroying our social lives like some people claim, if anything it helps me to stay in touch with people I otherwise would have lost contact with. However, there is a difference to staying in touch with friends and just filling your mind with rubbish, and it’s the latter I want to cut out. Much like the woman from the article I read, I want to stop myself from scrolling away an evening by looking at 25 high-speed makeup tutorials on Instagram or reading updates from someone I haven’t spoken to in three years.

I am going to challenge myself to replace social media scrolling with writing or reading something that I am interested in. Depending on the circumstance that could be a quote or a full article, a book or a website. I think removing the obsessive element of social media will help me remove a lot of ‘noise’ from my mind and focus on something more productive.

 

6 things social media marketers know

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No-one knows what you do

  1. Most people have no idea what you do. ‘Oh so you do the Tweets and shit?’ is something I get almost every time I tell someone my job. Yeah, I do write Tweets and shit, but that is the most basic part of my job. A lot of my time is spent on creating a strategy, building relationships with influencers, curating and creating content in the form of video, imagery and blogs, graphic design and customer service. I also run adverts, reports and plan and execute creative campaigns and manage budgets. In my industry (travel) a lot of time is required training teams around the business, a strong link between product and marketing, and sales and marketing is key to being successful on social media.

You speak to customers every day

  1.  Service is key. As social media marketer, you spend a lot of your time communicating directly with clients, something very few others in the marketing team do. You regularly engage with clients who LOVE your brand, but you are also the person who has to diffuse situations where clients are very unhappy. A great thing about this is that you have access to insights about your customer that others don’t, you can see what they like to engage with and create content in line with this.

    People ask questions on social media because they want an immediate or at least quick response. You have to be able to respond as soon as possible, so you have to use your initiative. If the customer asks you something really in-depth about your product or service and you don’t know the answer, you need to be resourceful and ask the right people.

You overlap with PR

  1. Although social media is predominantly a (very powerful) marketing tool, it overlaps with PR a lot. A big part of being successful is building relationships with people. Your content will be reaching both potential customers and the press, and by sharing your company blogs and expertise on social media, you are opening up organic promotional opportunities. You must be able to network and build relationships with people within the industry. It is you who sits behind the company logo on Twitter, so it is you who needs to build the rapport.

    You need to keep up to date with big news and trends, both so that you can jump on them for brand exposure, but also so that you can avoid talking about topics which could cause negative engagement or show brand insensitivity. In travel, we need to be very aware of natural disasters etc. in destinations so that we can avoid promoting them when needed.

You understand your brand

  1. You must understand your brand. The intricacies of a brand can be one of the hardest things to get your head around in a new company. I find that treating the ‘brand’ as if it were an individual is a good place to start. When planning a campaign or advert ask yourself ‘would my key demographic understand this and want to be associated with it?’In social media, you will be finding out what the business focuses are and planning monthly or quarterly themes of content in line with this.

    On social media, images and video are the most powerful things, you need to make sure all your imagery and video content is ‘on brand’ and flows with your company’s website, emails, brochures, magazines etc. In many cases, you are the person telling people what imagery to create, because you are the person who is using it the most. If it stands out and is too different, it is not doing its job.

This is anything but a linear role

  1. You must be versatile. Many marketing departments outsource their campaigns to creative agencies. In social media, you have the power to create smaller scale (and large) campaigns in-house. This can be by gathering user-generated content to show how much your customers love your product/service or running a competition to gain sign-ups to your newsletter/magazine. The sphere of social media really is as big or as small as you want to make it.

Your audience doesn’t change

  1. The biggest myth is that your market is somehow different on social media: it isn’t. Your demographic and potential customer base doesn’t change, the things that do are the way you engage with them, and the way they use the platform. A customer reading a magazine will give your article more time because they have chosen to sit and read it, your beautiful Instagram post has popped up while they’re quickly scrolling on the train needs to grab their attention a lot faster.

Let go

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A turning point in my life was the moment I realised I didn’t like very many people. I know that sounds negative and cynical, but it is actually a really positive thing to realise, by doing so, I understood that not everyone likes me either, and that’s ok.

Nine whole years ago I was 15 years old, and at the time I was very rebellious, I hated school with a passion and hated being told what to do, so I did things my own way. I used to drink heavily and go clubbing every weekend, I got into trouble at school because I mirrored the teachers’ lack of respect and in the end, I got kicked out my house. The school I was at back then was terrible with no discipline and no interest in individuals, and most of the people there were not good for me at all. It wasn’t until I left that situation and went to sixth-form that I realised what a bad time of my life that was. During sixth-form I struggled a lot with depression and apart from one or two good friends, I was surrounded by people who shattered my confidence.

Since leaving school and really discovering myself, I couldn’t be farther from that person I was all those years ago, but for a long time I felt haunted by who I used to be. When I was feeling low I used to behave recklessly and selfishly because I felt like there was no consequence, I didn’t really care about anything so I had nothing to lose. Since then it was like those stupid things I did and said somehow stayed with me, as though it didn’t matter how successful and happy I became, there were people out there who knew what a mess I had been.

These days I have a few very good friends whom I trust deeply and have a lot of respect for, these people make me feel like they love to be around me and they make me believe I can do anything. When negative things happen in my life they put it down to the insecurities and weaknesses of other people. It took me a long time to find these people, and usually it is an effort to see them because our lives have moved on and so we stay in touch because we want to. In the past I have compared myself to people who seem to have hundreds of friends or large groups of girls they hang out with, but when I spend time with their group I realise none of them actually care about each other, they just want someone to go to a bar or a party with, it doesn’t take long to see that those are the flaky, superficial friendships I had in the past which left me feeling empty.

I have always been someone with big dreams and had things that I want to accomplish which seem impossible to most people. Up until now, everything I have wanted I have achieved for myself, I didn’t go to Uni and I have worked really hard to get where I am without a degree. It is only recently I have worked out what success means to me, and it has changed my entire perspective. I realised that for so long I was harbouring the past when it really didn’t matter, and I was being a road-block to my own success because I was subliminally obsessing over a time in my life which was so long ago, and worrying it would somehow get into my present.

The main thing I have learnt is that you have to be true to who you really are. Even if that person is disliked by people, when you start to look beneath the surface and stop criticising yourself, you can ask yourself whether you actually care and allow yourself the luxury of not giving a shit.

Since changing my perspective I have felt more grounded and focussed than ever, I am feeling inspired and motivated to fulfill things. I don’t know if it is a New Year’s Resolution per se, but more of an attitude I am going to adopt, to stop criticising myself based on other people’s behaviour, and to let go of the person I was at a dark time.