Last year, with a baby on the way, I decided it was time to up-skill and add to my marketing skill-set by undertaking a Digital Marketing course before everything got “too busy”. After a bit of shopping around, and a glowing review from my colleague Diane Higgins, I settled on the Certificate in Digital Marketing at CIT (hoping that baby would not come early, and I would get it all wrapped up in time).
I originally thought of Digital Marketing as mainly just social media and its application in advertising. While the course certainly has a major focus on this area, my view on Digital Marketing has changed significantly, while undertaking the Digital Marketing Certificate (#DMCIT).
While I have a new appreciation for the strategy behind SEO, social media, email marketing, Google Adwords & A/B testing, and the importance of data-driven, results-based marketing, my main takeaways from the course have really been the importance of building a personal (or business) brand online, as well as the proper and powerful use of hashtags.
On Personal Brands.
My Twitter handle has evolved from the rather informal ‘dikkers’ (a high school nickname) to dandixondesign – with the profile picture developing from one that involved a pint, to a more professional portrait (see below). I also updated the banner graphic to showcase my achievements. This includes the Cork Digital Marketing award for ‘best small business website’ for stonewellcider.com.
I was genuinely surprised and impressed by the sheer number of impressions that can be garnered from social media via an excellent social media management case study for the Cork business Quickminutes.com. We were also encouraged throughout the course to keep up with our own tweeting on Digital Marketing. It became evident, in the modern business environment, that it really is “marketing suicide” to not have a respectable brand showcased online (as you never know where or when that all important lead might come from).
The course was also excellent motivation for getting my personal portfolio website up and running, (let me know what you think of this site!).
I look forward to utilising Digital Marketing to promote my designs to generate some personal brand awareness, generating more leads and projects for the agency I work for, and some extra freelance work.
During the coursework, my eyes were also opened to the power of hashtags. They are not just the domain of colloquial throwaway slang for millennials (as I had thought), but a powerful tool to reach thousands of new leads.
We achieved this during our live social media case study for QuickMinutes, through researching unique “days of the year” such as #UseYourCommonSenseDay & #worldorigamiday – hijacking and leveraging them with posts relevant to our business for great impression numbers (2,997 and 2,305 impressions respectively, with a total of 48,800 for the duration of the campaign) despite only a few followers.
On the personal side, my top tweets involved hashtags for Rugby World Cup, a Munster v Racing 92 match (liked by Dan Carter himself), and the Cork Digital Marketing Awards. My Tweets earned 21.6K impressions over the period of the course (as opposed to only 431 for the earlier three-quarters of the year). This coverage astounded me, considering there was no financial investment. If I was actively promoting and acquiring freelance work, the extra awareness through these impressions could prove invaluable.
I also believe the future of social media is certainly in video. It was demonstrated time and time again during the course by lecturer Stephen Ryan that videos garner the best engagement. Coming from a traditional print background, my next step in my career will certainly be to invest in training in video editing and motion graphics to try and increase my skill-set in this soon to be in-demand area.
Here’s the wee man.
He ended up gracing us with his presence new year’s day (arriving at 11:30 pm. 6 lbs 13.5 ounces [3.1 kgs in real units]), meaning my time was split for the final week of our Digital Marketing Strategy project for A Touch of Magic between the Neo-Natal unit at CUMH, and Whatsapp, messaging the final project marketing group (the time was much more weighted towards the Neo obviously…). My group were champions (particularly Anna who took up the slack of where I left off the report design). Many thanks to the dream team of Gavin, Giselle, Mairead, and Anna for your patience during this time.
I look forward to the next (and all ongoing) challenges in Digital Marketing, and keeping up with #DMCIT for all the ongoing trends and news in Digital Marketing –and thank you to all the classmates and lecturers who made the #DMCIT journey so worthwhile – if you’re reading this, you know who you are.
And good luck to those going on with the masters!