We all know that being a social media manager involves writing tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram captions, but in addition to demanding a sharp wit and a keen understanding of grammar, this job requires having some serious business skills, too.
Reed Pankratz, former Account Manager at Social Media Agency Room 214, shares how his business, finance, economics, and statistics classes helped him to develop critical thinking skills to look at analytics and make strategic choices about future campaigns.
[Editor’s note: Since participating in this interview, Reed has taken on a new position at UniversityParent. Reed landed his new position thanks in part to the connections and networking he did while in college. He is now responsible for driving inbound traffic to the UniversityParent website and bringing in new leads through content marketing strategy, email marketing automation, and social media management. His answers in this interview pertain to his previous position as an Account Manager at Room 214.]
What is a typical day on the job like for you?
8:30 a.m. Arrive at work
8:31 a.m. Fill up on coffee and check client communities (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) to respond to consumer questions/comments and also check Google alerts for any client news
9:30 a.m. Team meeting to prepare for client call
10:30 a.m. Client call
11:30 a.m. Rally troops to go lunch
11:40 a.m. Take off to the local restaurant and Room 214 favorite, Curry ‘N Kebob
1 p.m. Work on a client presentation
2:30 p.m. Work on a client report (bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly)
4 p.m. Brainstorm with other team members for a new campaign or new client
5 p.m. Check client communities (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) to respond to consumer questions/comments
5:30 p.m. Head home
What are your favorite aspects of your job? What are the things you would change if you could?
The creative environment and emphasis on teamwork is without a doubt one of my favorite aspects of my job. Working together to find creative and strategic solutions to help meet client goals is both exciting and rewarding. Additionally, the culture at Room 214 promotes individuality and respects work/life balance. Knowing that I get to work with great people and nationally recognized accounts every day is a great source of motivation.
While tight deadlines and operating under the gun certainly add an element of excitement to my job, if I could change something it would be that we get more time. Often we get hit with fast and hard deadlines from clients, and while we are able meet those timelines and provide quality work, sometimes we aren’t afforded the time to respect the entire creative process and allow us to develop the most engaging and original campaigns.
What did you study in college? How does your major relate to your current position?
B.S. in Business Marketing
B.S. in Mass Communications – Public Relations
Minor in Leadership Studies
Especially in my last couple of years in marketing and public relations classes, we spent a lot of time analyzing and writing about case studies as well as writing our own business and/or marketing campaigns. That part of my classroom experience has certainly translated well into my current position. Additionally, many of the writing classes I took at the beginning of my career have helped shaped me as a writer and developed my business and creative writing skills.
However, the classes I want to highlight specifically are my accounting, finance, economics, and statistics classes. Advertising, social media, and marketing aren’t just about creating great content. A large portion of my job description involved the ability to think critically and use analytics to make decisions that drive our strategy. Additionally, knowing how a business works financially can open your eyes to helping the company run more efficiently and profitably.
What advice would you give to college students who are interested in working in your field?
Get involved. Whether it is through your student government association, the alumni center, the university foundation, or any of the other organizations on campus, find a way to get involved and then use the knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom to gain experience and better your organization. There is nothing more impressive in an interview than showing your interviewers that you’ve already applied what you’ve learned to get results.
Build an online presence. For me it was through Twitter, LinkedIn, and a blog I created. Show employers that you spend your time reading, learning, and even experimenting with the latest trends in your industry. I landed an interview for my blog and my Twitter account, not my résumé.
Get hands on. Become a beta tester for any of the new social media tools that are launching and sign up for as many 30-day demos as you can. Having real experience with tools will give you a competitive advantage over your peers and prepare you for when you are on the job.
Does your company hire interns in your field? If so, how would someone go about applying?
Yes. Go to http://room214.com/contact and keep your eye out for an intern position!
Homework time! Reed talks about the importance of developing your understanding of topics like business, finance, economics, and statistics. What can you do to learn more about these areas? Sign up for a class at school, find a few blogs to follow, or join an online course.