24 Days at WME: Life as a Social Media Intern
My three-month part-time internship at one of the best digital marketing/SEO companies in Melbourne has come to an end. I was lucky enough to be granted this opportunity after taking part in a marketing case competition via a university marketing club called Marketing Intelligence (MINT). Participants of the competition were told that one of us will be chosen based on our performance and will be granted an internship opportunity. I was delighted to have been the one chosen and the founder of InternMe, an Australian start-up, which led to me being recommended to the managing director and founder of WME, Nick Bell. I went for an interview on a Wednesday and started my internship in the social media division the following Thursday.
Days at WME
My first day at work was enjoyable; in fact, I was pleasantly surprised by how everyone was fully prepared for an intern’s arrival. I was walked to my table where I found a laptop, an extra monitor and a cute table fan, all at my disposal. My personalised email address was also set with some welcome messages in my Inbox. Then came the inevitable office tour led by Matt Antonino, whom I consider my Supervisor 1. Matt is super energetic, talks really fast and is a digital guru, hence he was the Head of Digital. I also met other colleagues and Supervisor 2, Nicole, who is the leading person in the Social Media division. Nicole is arguably one of the nicest people I have met – she is always calm and easy to talk to.
My daily tasks at WME included managing clients’ social media platforms (having a legitimate reason to go on social media at work is pretty cool), curating and sourcing appropriate content to suit clients’ business needs, proposing and pitching ideas and strategies to clients about their campaigns, creating weekly and monthly reports, carrying out social media strategies, testing out different strategies and tracking outcomes, and forecasting social media performances on Excel.
Working at WME has given me a better understanding of how the digital marketing industry works, especially in terms of social media and its influence on business. Compared to other services offered by WME or any other web marketing service providers, for example SEO and PPC, social media consultancy/management might seem like a relatively less tangible aspect of service that clients would seek. Also, social media services can seem rather menial because people often have the perception that they do not require much emphasis, skills or time.
But what I have learnt about social media in business is that it is not about social media per se, but it is about branding. Social media platforms are tools to tell the story about a brand; they are a way of communicating value to customers on a broader scale. They represent how customers should perceive a business and give a fruitful insight on what the core values of the business are. Yet the degree of impact of social media on business does vary among industries. For example, the emphasis of social media for a fashion business should probably weigh more than that for a construction company. Managing social media platforms can be tedious, but staying passionate and being creative is the key to stay in the game. Any proficient business person would understand that it requires a lot of patience and time to build a good brand.
Another good lesson learnt in WME was taught by Byron, who was promoted to Coaching & Development Manager in a relatively short time after he started working in the company last year. At the start of my internship, I was still trying to get the hang of it and was not quite sure how to deliver performance that can benefit my team more. Byron told me that it is not merely about completing the work that has been assigned to me, but I have to ask myself what more can I offer. A good employee will have to take the initiative to come up with new ideas and recommend new ways to tackle the same problems. The idea is to take the lead and always deliver what is beyond required (and of course, to do so smartly). This piece of advice can be applied in so many other aspects in life and I owe it to him.
A Melting Pot of Millennial Culture
One of the things I found most interesting is the culture at WME. It has given me a glimpse into how millennials or ‘younger’ companies operate in today’s age, especially in such a fast-paced digital industry. Being one of Google’s partners, WME received some really cool indoor sports equipment like a mini golf set and a mini basketball hoop. For four weeks in a row, we had what we called the Google Olympics every Friday afternoon, in which one representative from each division would compete in a sports game. Despite these energising activities, no Friday ends well without a cold beer, and it cannot get any more perfect than free cold beers up for grabs from the communal kitchen (we are definitely not a bunch of alcoholics).
Apart from encouraging people in the company to get together and interact physically, there are traditions that WME has adopted to get people to emotionally bond with each other. Recognition Fridays is a company-wide weekly activity that I appreciate as it acknowledges the hard work and achievements of outstanding members of a team or division. Everyone will gather around and ‘recognitions’ will be read out loud followed by cheering and applause. This is indeed one of my favourite things about the company. What is more rewarding than your hard work being accredited by your colleagues and managers? Furthermore, the habit of sending company-wide birthday wishes or sharing life event announcements is also very admirable.
Did I forget to mention that some days you get to see your MD and CFO just cruising around the office on a Segway? And people playing table tennis in the kitchen and doing wine and cheese-tasting after work? The point is, WME is just not your typical workplace, and I owe Nick Bell a big thank you for giving me the opportunity to come in as an intern and for setting such a good example as a business leader.