The Importance of a Mentor in Social Media

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By: Kyle Benzion, @KylonialKyle

As we all know, Social Media is constantly evolving. There is so much to learn at such a quick pace that you always have to be on your toes, ready to go, similar to a position player in baseball. With the constant change, it is important to stay up to date on the latest apps and trends to best utilize for your brand. One way to do that is to establish a mentor early in your career.

There are several aspects of a job that an applicant fresh out of college should want in their first gig:

“The feeling that it will be a useful experience to help prepare them for a future job”

“The ability to learn and grow.”

“Mentor- someone reliable who is willing to teach you”

That first job should be a ball pit; with every ball being individually unique that will help prepare you for the future. For example, I landed my first job, at the University of Nebraska, as a Video Specialist, primarily focused on creating video content for social media. I was able to work on a variety of different platforms and with different teams. I started the Huskers Instagram account, managed the baseball and women’s basketball social media accounts, began to learn basic Photoshop skills and created video content. A year and a half later, I left Nebraska to become a Social Media Manager at George Washington University despite primarily going to Nebraska for video. How did this change from video to social media come about? My mentor.

The Huskers Assistant Athletic Director of Creative and Emerging Media, Kelly Mosier, was able to answer any and all questions that I had relating to social media throughout my time at Nebraska. I learned that it is especially important in your first job to ensure that your boss, is also your mentor. There were multiple times that I sat in his office for hours asking question upon question ranging from how we could utilize new apps, to what is the meaning of specific analytics.

The big challenge is your second job, once you begin to work your way up the ladder. I have quickly experienced that once you become a coordinator/manager of social media, you are often your own backbone. We are often told throughout school and our professional life that “relationships are everything.” Well, when it comes to a mentor, they truly are. Develop a relationship with someone that you can share professional ideas back and forth without feeling like they will “steal your idea”. While I work for GW, and Kelly still works for Nebraska, I know Kelly often finds himself thinking of ways GW could best utilize certain platforms while I continue to share ideas or thoughts about Nebraska.

So, where do you start? Identify someone that you look up to in the industry. Start by asking questions, find someone willing to give you beneficial answers, write down the answers, and be sure to ask questions about those answers. You only have two eyes and two ears. Sometimes you may miss hearing about the latest trend that could be beneficial to your brand. It never hurts to have an extra set of eyes and ears that are looking out for you on your behalf.