Confessions from the Voice Behind Latitude's Social Media
It happened in my first week.
It sticks in the memory, because I was still struggling to navigate the best driving route to our Warrington office at that time.
I'd frequently dodge queuing traffic down the M56 - a nice long stretch of motorway where, for at least 40 minutes before even setting foot in the building, I could be alone with my thoughts - or at that stage, my fears.
I was nervous because the first few days had been a rollercoaster of information-overload.
Inductions aside, there was an inordinate amount of stuff to take in.
So when I arrived at my desk that morning to find a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook and a document containing the login details for all Latitude social media accounts - I didn't know what to think.
Don't get me wrong, I knew prior to my appointment that the role involved some element of control over Latitude's social activity.
In truth, that responsibility was a big part of the appeal.
But in that instant, the responsibility had suddenly become scarily real.
I can only really compare it to the time my elderly next-door neighbours got me to start walking their small yet irate Jack Russell for them every single day.
As a kid I was petrified of dogs for some reason, so it seemed more of a burden than anything else.
Not to mention the dog in question was notorious in the neighbourhood for being especially aggressive - and having delivered newspapers in the area in the area for years I knew that only too well.
The thing used to go for me every time I came within five feet of the front gate.
Anyway I knew if I remained cool, walking the dog would be, quite literally, a walk in the park.
Get it wrong however, and I knew full well that I'd be getting bitten on the backside - much like I'd (sort of) expect from my colleagues after posting a dodgy tweet.
Fortunately things didn't go quite as badly as first expected - we even formed quite an attachment throughout my adolescent years.
So you could say my daily routine working across the Latitude social accounts has in some ways become my daily dog walk.
And as my fear of dogs seems to have subsided as time has progressed, a similar thing has happened regarding my initial apprehensiveness regarding the socials.
But let me tell you about the journey so far anyway...
I didn't have much knowledge to begin with...
I actually didn't feel worthy of manning the socials.
I didn't have an experienced marketing voice.
I didn't know the ins-and-outs of both Organic and Paid Search.
So how on Earth was I supposed to represent the digital marketing values of Latitude across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?
I remember trying to write that very first tweet.
It was like my first jittery attempt to attach the lead to the collar of my neighbour's dog.
I was terrified I'd get my hand bitten off.
But once I became more confident in what I was doing, the dog became less erratic.
Therefore, I knew the only way I could do my job properly was to start feeling more at ease with the idea of being the voice behind the socials.
And the only way I could start feeling more comfortable was to try and learn everything about the industry as quickly as I could.
I became slightly obsessed...
I have to admit - I read far too much on work's time.
The truth of the matter is, though, I felt totally insecure in those first few weeks as a newbie in the Creative Team, never mind the agency as a whole.
I'd sit in our weekly update meeting baffled by the frequent mention of various abbreviations, desperately trying to keep up with the conversation.
Spending my time drafting, rewriting and then often deleting 140 characters worth of stuff on a regular basis was indicative of how paranoid I felt about tripping myself up.
Which, with hindsight, is stupid now. Because in reality, I only manage Latitude's OWN accounts - I don't have any responsibility over client social platforms.
That said, I still need to ensure that voice across the socials is valid, relevant and insightful.
I don't want to sound like I know what I'm talking about.
I need to be as knowledgeable as possible.
So, the process of selecting things to share, whether that be relevant content pieces, snippets of advice from members of the team, or even something as simple as a graph showing a Google trend, has become a massive part of my day-to-day.
The level of research required for this is not to be underestimated, and the responsibility of owning this task on a daily basis has probably been my on-the-job training.
A crash course in digital marketing if you will.
It was only when I stopped and paused the other day that I realised just how valuable that research time has actually been.
Working out what to say and what not to say on each channel has required me to immerse myself in the industry - and that can only be a good thing.
Even if it is on work's time!
I've still got a lot of learning to do...
We're still in an experimental phase.
As my workload slowly and steadily begins to increase, the time devoted to daily social media coordination might start to dwindle in the coming weeks.
But that's the challenge for me, now - taking our social activity to the next level within more challenging time constraints.
I don't want to just simply take the dog for a walk every day - I want to make it start jumping through hoops.
It's not easy, and it will take time to develop it to the level we want it to be at in terms of followers and engagement across the channels.
But having been here for a few weeks now, I've come into contact with great people.
I've seen some great work in progress.
And I've come to realise this is genuinely a great place to be.
So, it's about time that was reflected on our social platforms.
Because, at the end of the day, besides the great work we produce for our clients, these social platforms reveal an awful amount about what Latitude are made of.
And despite the uneasy start, I can honestly say that being able to play a part in that process so far has been a pleasure.