A year ago today, I was taking time off of my full-time serving job here and there to spend time with family and friends. I had an Associate’s Degree under my belt, and lacked a sense of purpose. I honestly couldn’t think about my future without freaking out.
When I made the decision to return to Grand Valley and work towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Public Relations, I felt like I finally found something I was passionate about. I still felt confused, though. What would I even do with this degree? What do I even know about public relations? Am I even qualified to attempt this type of degree?
As most things do, these knots of stress eventually came untangled. At the beginning of this semester, I couldn’t tell you three places I’d like to work someday. I couldn’t explain what social media has to do with my major. I couldn’t even explain the importance of an online presence (I know, right?). I was lost.
Taking CAP 105, a technology in advertising course, has opened my eyes to so many aspects of what my major will involve post-college. We started the semester off by cleaning up and improving our Twitter accounts, using BrandYourself to identify issues in searching for our professional selves online, and creating WordPress accounts to have a platform of expression.
Here’s a list of the top 5 most important things I’ve learned about the involvement of social media in my future career:
1. Your personal brand is not only important, it’s EVERYTHING.
When we used BrandYourself, we found out how “searchable” we truly are. Any old websites, social media accounts, etc. that are connected to our name are a part of our personal brand as a whole.
2. Social media (and the use of media) is constantly changing.
Nowadays companies such as agencies, corporations, or even small-businesses use social media analytics as a form of tracking. This is a newer feature in the larger scheme of things, but it is important. This allows people to see how much reach their advertisements, blogs, etc. are reaching their target audience. Even the world of social media analytics is changing; it isn’t always accurate. Staying on top of the ever-changing world of social media is extremely important for almost any career involving technology.
3. Content is just as- if not more- important than design.
I’ve learned throughout this technology course that as an advertising and P.R. major, I must have knowledge of creating content. Yeah colors and images are pretty and attractive, but what keeps a reader interested? In advertisements and public relation releases, the content is what really draws in and keeps the audience. Creating a blog that is just like other blogs will not only bore your readers, it will drive them away.
4. SEO/SEM IS SO IMPORTANT.
Search engine optimization and search engine marketing are important. You have to know the basics to analyze how or if your brand/product/business is being searched. Derek DeVries visited our classroom to explain his job in this process, and it is honestly so amazing. I didn’t realize how involved businesses were with the tracking process of customer involvement. I read in an article, “Search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective and cost-efficient strategy, so long as you can get past the biggest obstacle to success: competition.” This is the main reason we need SEO- to beat out the competitors. To think that I didn’t even know this was part of the process a few months ago just shows how much I’ve learned about social media and the analytics process.
5. Technology is more than a website.
Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned this semester throughout my CAP 105 course, is that technology is not just a website. Several different social media platforms, a blog, analytics sites, virtual/augmented reality (Thank y0u, Externa CGI), edited video (Chop & Hue visited our classroom to show how awesome this is), online shopping, (and countless others) are all small pieces to the big puzzle of a relevant online presence. Staying current with your brand on all forms of online media is important to keep the millennial generation’s interest.
I could go on for a long time just about how much this course has helped me. Becoming Hootsuite certified, learning about Google Analytics, and all of the above-listed new assets I’ve learned- are setting me up for a lifetime career involving technology. I know have the foundation of experience to continue learning and growing within this profession. And I can’t wait.