Friday, May 6, 2016

Attending your first AIMA event

Between being a full-time student, holding down a job, trying to get internships, and maintaining somewhat of a social life, things can go from hazy to crazy really quick.

Recently, things have gotten crazier when I accepted a great opportunity to attend, and blog (what I’m doing now) for the monthly AIMA meeting. It was probably one of the best and overwhelming experiences of my professional life so far. You see, when I get out of college, my goal is to get into social media management. So, if you could imagine, when I walked into a room full of pupils that work at these prestigious companies, a lot of thoughts were hitting me all at once.

When I first walked in, the song “Shooting Star” from Bag Raiders was playing. I already felt comfortable being there because I only play that song at least once a day. While I was jamming out in my head I was directed to get free breakfast. I didn’t hesitate to fill my plate, because yes, of course, free food is beautiful but when you’re in college it’s a different kind of beautiful.

As I was finishing up, I had the privilege to speak with a professional from YP. After he introduced himself and where he worked, I automatically said, “Oh! You work for Yellow Pages?” with him following with “Haha, no. I work for YP.” Then realizing that I should think and do research more before speaking. But hey, you live and you learn.

Shortly after the meeting began, the screen read: Managing Reviews & Google’s New Directions. It was mainly about Google making it easier to post reviews and what we need to know about the new change. Since, this is one of the things I would have to work with as a social media manager, it was extremely fascinating to see what the moderator, Jake Aull had to say, along with Ed Peterson from YP, David Wright from W3 Group, and Vincent Washington from UPS who were the events speaker’s.

It was fascinating listening to all of them put their expertise into certain scenarios or even questions. After listening to everyone, most of the information I gathered was:

  • The importance of bad reviews. Jake Aull explains, “You need to have some bad reviews.” I mean, no one wants them, but if you have them they show people that they can trust the company.
  • Quickly responding to reviews through social media. An audience member said, “Social responsiveness and the ability to mitigate is directly related to the brands customer service.”
  • Make sure to include links to leave reviews, so that way large companies can support franchisees.

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I felt lucky being a part of this event because I never knew how important it was when it came to a business having reviews. I always assumed having all positive reviews was something good to have, I never thought anything of it. So, being able to gain knowledge from this event made me extremely eager to share this with everyone I know.

Once it was time to network, I went straight towards Vincent Washington, because he has the same profession that I’d like to get into after graduating. Having my mind filled with at least 20 questions, I only had the chance to ask him one since many other people wanted to speak with him.

When it was my turn to speak I asked, “What advice would you give to a college student that wants to do social management after they graduation?”. He basically answered my question by saying, when you’re being interviewed for a social media position you need to make sure you have knowledge on the business’s audience. Knowing who the customer is will help you succeed in being a social media manager.

Before attending AIMA I was doubting whether going into social media was the best choice for me. I chose social media because it genuinely bothered me when I saw businesses with awful customer experience, not updating as much as they should, lacking with a brand strategy, and lastly not having a solid aesthetic for the company. After leaving the AIMA event, I feel more educated, though I have much to learn I now feel more confident in entering the social media field.

Blog post by Matt Willard, Social Media Intern at Industrial Tape & Supply Co.