#DigitalMum – My Experience

As a senior freelance communications consultant, it’s essential to stay at the top of your game through learning. I’ve undertaken various professional qualifications and training, but also wanted to upskill in social media. 

I’d been aware of Digital Mums for some time, knew people who had completed the training (they all spoke highly of it) and was particularly drawn to being paired with a client (programme partner) to design and run a live social media campaign.

However, something kept niggling. Much of my training and qualifications have been with academically-recognised industry bodies – the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the PR Academy, the Institute of Leadership & Management and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Having ‘Digital Mum’ on my LinkedIn profile sat uncomfortably, despite it feeling like the best option. Why? I didn’t want to be labelled ‘Mum’ in a professional capacity and so figured I’d vaguely record it as a CPD-accredited course (which it is). I was confident this was the course that was going to equip me with the skills I needed, so I took the plunge.

Fortunately for me, the name of the course was re-branded shortly after I started to an Advanced Diploma in Strategic Social Media Marketing – that sat better. Then, by the end of the six months, there was a marked shift – I no longer felt shame in the name.

Never ‘judge a book by its cover’ took on meaning for me. I was stretched (in skills and time), notably out of my comfort zone at times and occasionally felt out-of-depth in ways I hadn’t experienced since early on in my career. This isn’t a light-touch training course – it’s big on strategy and applying that to a real-life campaign for a client whose business is their life blood.

I now have a new-found respect for the label #DigitalMum. Anyone who knows anything about social media will know it’s a tough training ground for upskilling in digital. There’s nothing ‘easy’ about it and you come out job-ready in a way you could have never imagined at the beginning and that a ‘theory-only’ course could never prepare you for. It’s the perfect mix of theory and practice that leaves you walking away knowing you’ve successfully added social media into your skillset.

I no longer (wrongly) see social media as being best-managed by ‘digital natives’, but realise that ‘digital immigrants’ such as myself have a hugely valuable role in this digital word. I realise how the perfect combination of senior experience, mixed in with transferable communications skills and a strategic approach can produce exceptional social media campaign results. I came to appreciate the difference between how anyone with little experience can ‘do’ social media and how differently a more experienced professional specifically trained in this area is equipped to drive more meaningful strategic value. Having worked my way through this challenging training, I have a new-found respect for the name and I’m not afraid to use it.

I understand how each of the platforms have their own unique culture and offer/expect something different. I know how to stay on top of lightening-speed changes, what makes for a great campaign hook, how to approach everything strategically and how to design an effective campaign that resonates well with target audiences. I’m confident in identifying the right objective for a campaign and how to measure it. I’ve proven I can create compelling content and I appreciate the importance of testing and refining everything (content and paid promotions). I’ve used Canva, video editing apps, Buffer, Hootsuite and Later – tools I’m now completely at ease with and that no longer feel alien.

My advice to anyone looking to embark on the Digital Mum’s Advanced Diploma in Strategic Social Media Marketing? Go for it – you won’t look back providing you’re aware of the undertaking. It’s intense and a significant time investment if you plan to get the most out of your investment in this training (at an eye-watering £3k, you probably want to). It’s marketed as ‘at least 15 hours per week’, but is considerably more at several ‘pinch’ points after your campaign goes live. You’re learning a new job, a host of new tools, content creation takes time and some platforms are simply more time-consuming than others. You’re placed into a ‘peer group’ of other students to support each other along the way. This gets around any loneliness you might feel when training ‘virtually’ and in many cases you can expect this group to develop into life-long connections and even friends.

Having graduated, I’ve returned to freelancing with solid confidence in my digital skills. I’ve comfortably added social media into what I offer, which perfectly complements my senior-level skills in strategy, writing, creating compelling content and delivering strong results. I’m now looking forward to the next chapter of my freelance communications business as a #DigitalMum graduate.