In the “Job Profiles” series, various members of the InterNations team talk about their role in the company. In this interview, Social Media Manager Samantha discusses what being the official “voice of InterNations” on nearly half a dozen different platforms is like.
Please tell us a little about yourself …
My name’s Samantha, and I’m the social media manager at InterNations. About four years ago, I moved to Munich from my hometown of Glasgow and joined the InterNations Team.
I had always wanted to work in digital marketing. This was something I realized soon after beginning my degree course in history and French. However, I originally started at InterNations as a Community Engagement Specialist. I supported our Ambassadors and Consuls, the members hosting official events and activities, in various communities. This role helped me gain valuable insights into our product and members.
When the previous social media manager decided to leave in early 2020, I jumped at the opportunity. Switching to the Marketing & Communications Department, I was able to transfer my knowledge to my new position. I’ve loved it ever since.
And what are your main responsibilities?
I want to increase the familiarity of social media users with our services and strengthen the bond with our audience. We currently have five main social media channels. For the past two years, I’ve been working to maximize their specific potential.
We mainly use Facebook and Instagram for brand awareness and engagement, and we post a wide range of content on these channels. Twitter, on the other hand, is reserved for PR purposes. Our aim is to draw some media attention to our Expat Insider survey.
LinkedIn has become our active employer branding channel. We are promoting InterNations as the employer of choice for current and potential team members. It may sound a bit clichéd, but I enjoy telling everyone how great my colleagues are. YouTube is more of an up-and-coming channel. We’ve been working on new video content, so watch out for this!
How does social media contribute to our overall strategy?
Social media offers us a far-flung community to promote our brand. Building and engaging with an online following, we’re bringing in people who may never have heard about InterNations. We reach them when they are planning to relocate, moving abroad, or looking for new friends. It’s a great way to highlight our community and the awesome events organized by our Consuls and Ambassadors. Showing the difference InterNations can make in people’s lives is an important part of my job.
For the followers who are already members, we offer additional insights into expat life. Our content covers living abroad in all of its facets — the good, the bad, and the ugly. We want to be realistic and talk about benefits and downsides. We use articles from the InterNations Magazine, as well as external sources, to start a conversation, so that people can share their experiences and give advice.
This is also where our overall strategy of consumer obsession comes in. It’s not just about what our team gets out of this, such as higher engagement rates. Each comment always deserves and gets a response. That’s especially important when we feature the challenges of living abroad. People sometimes pour out their heart and soul in the comments! I honestly think everyone wants to be heard and acknowledged on a basic human level.
What do you need to keep in mind when creating content for an international audience?
Our social media presence should reflect the general voice of InterNations. For example, we always strive to be personal, emotive, and inclusive.
Having such an international following has its own challenges, though. The level of English language skills among our audience varies widely. So, our content should not only be relatable for as many people as possible. It also needs to be understood. The language has to be clear and simple. But followers with native-level language skills should not assume we’re talking down to them. Finding the perfect balance for our global audience is crucial.
Which social media trends have you been keeping an eye on?
It can be challenging to keep up with the ever-evolving world of social media. Video content is definitely here to stay, though, especially with the rise of TikTok.
You Tube is not only an entertainment platform, but also a search engine. We’ll be focusing much more on its potential and will also be opening a TikTok channel soon. We can use video content to help people find InterNations and to create a sense of community. I would like to make our members’ voices heard.
What I means is: I love hearing positive stories from our members. How it has helped them find their new job or new best friend. There’s so much more to InterNations than the fact that we organize events — even if it’s just someone getting into a new hobby. I want to spread these stories, and video content is the perfect way of doing so.
What are the most important qualities you think every social media manager needs?
Creativity, flexibility, and being data driven.
There are so many social media channels to keep in mind. They all have different requirements, audiences, and reasons for existing. Optimizing your content for each requires a great deal of creativity.
And you obviously need flexibility. In this industry, things just come out of nowhere sometimes. Experimenting is a big part of my role. You have to try things out, analyze what works, and adapt your strategy.
But these constant improvements have to be based on data. It’s a good thing I actually like dealing with the in-depth reports we receive from our Business Intelligence Team! Data is really your best friend because it allows to analyze long-term developments.
How do you make use of social media in your time off? Or do you prefer to stay offline?
I’ve heard that many social media marketing experts take a step back after working in the industry for a while. So far, this hasn’t happened to me. Being an expat myself, I use social media for keeping up with family and friends, but also with British pop culture and UK news.
Since I’m a very visual person, my favorite platform is Instagram. I follow favorite brands, celebrities, and influencers, especially cooks and chefs, such as Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. Cooking is a huge hobby of mine, and Instagram provides a constant source of inspiration.
What do you like best about working for InterNations?
I love having the room to experiment. I can just see what happens without developing a detailed strategy first. In fact, our most popular post was born from one of these experiments. We ask a simple question about expat life every Sunday, and it’s been a phenomenal success.
As for InterNations in general, l just love the people working here! More specifically, I love how international our team is. Everyone brings their own background and culture, perspective and experiences to the table. For the team behind the world’s largest expat community, that’s very important. And, of course, there’s never a shortage of expat anecdotes and travel tips around an InterNations’ table!
Image credit: InterNations / iStockphoto / Pexels / Shutterstock