Over the course of my internship in Berlin, Germany I learned about business concepts I had not been privy to in my prior jobs. Startups like the one I worked for are usually small. Within that environment where I was listening and engaged with conversations that are essentially about the future of the company and the vision of the organization according to the upper management, you begin to understand the challenges of trying to create a successful venture in the fast-paced landscape that is the social media driven world of 2018.
One of the things I’ve begun to understand much more is just how important and difficult it is to establish and grow an online community of fans in this era. While the tools to create compelling content and footage are more available than ever, the quantity of high quality content is also just as high. Above is the first post I ever developed this summer for Data Natives. As a creative content intern, I was tasked with creating interesting, fun material for my startup’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages. I chose to create a horoscope tied to Data Natives’ focus areas in tech and data science. This post got the largest amount of views and likes on Instagram that my organization had ever had on a single post. I was surprised to say the least, however I realized that the popularity of the post came from engagement from within, as many of my colleagues enjoyed the post and shared it.
It’s difficult to convey just how important social media’s role in a company is in 2018. While some of the content we produced had the kind of large, exciting engagement my first post had, other posts did not. This kind of unpredictability was not only due to this organization’s very new steps into the social media world, but also the lack of having a solid grasp on their core audience. As an intern tasked with creating social media, this posed a challenging but also rewarding challenge. I got to experiment. The company I worked for was born in this digital media age where everything is essentially done online. All of my company’s information, connections, and networks are online. In fact the entire company’s “value” comes from its vast network of Meet Up groups (over 20,000 members) which it leverages for its large tech conferences across Europe. Even in the two months I worked at Data Natives I saw the company begin to evolve its approach to social media. Our manager began to put more investment and energy into the creative content sector of the company, seeing how other similar startups were taking advantage of the space. Before I worked there Data Natives’ social media content was limited to reposting old photos of their events. After my manager saw the creative ways I could develop digital media assets for their pages, she started asking me for even more interesting and different approaches. On their Facebook page, we developed a video banner that catches the eye and keeps things fluid. On their Instagram I continued to use a colorful, cartoonish, yet also minimalistic style to try and catch younger audience’s attention on the popular platform.
As I concluded my internship I felt honored to hear that my boss had really appreciated my creative approach to social media and told me she thought I had put a lot of work into making their content, especially on Instagram, more interesting. I feel as though I have contributed a small piece to the improvement of a new and still growing company. On the reverse the program has also taught me much about the nature of audience engagement in the fast-paced environment of our time. Our posts had to not only be cool and appealing, but also consistent. We tried to post at least once a day and backed that up with continuous footage for the Instagram Story feed and quality newsletter content via email blast. The task is unending and also essential for today’s companies. Big or small. The future will be all about getting organic and valuable engagement from audiences, and Data Natives is working ceaselessly to try and build theirs.
As I move on from my internship and my academic career at the University of Southern California towards looking for a real job in Los Angeles, I hope I can find a place where my skills are honed further. My goal is to find a position where I can work in the creative arts, doing social media content like this, on an even bigger scale. I still have a lot to learn, both technically and bigger picture, but this internship has better prepared me to succeed in a professional environment doing the things I love.