5 July 2017 - 4:30 pm

Corporate Communications and Digital Engagement (Work Experience Day 3)

On my third day of work I was set a different challenge. I had previously been focusing on writing internet blogs for the USE blog feed about my experiences of being in and around a workplace, but now I had a task which I would be much more familiar with.

I arrived at the USE expecting to have another busy day writing an online blog for the USE, but to my delight I was set another equally as fun task. Samantha had arranged for me to go and work with a team called Corporate Communications, who focused mainly on controlling the University of Sheffield’s social media account. The team work on the following accounts to help to attract new potential students to the University of Sheffield:

Corporate Communications also work with the University’s web page, aiming to make it possible for any student to quickly and easily find out everything that you need to know about one of the top 90 universities in the entire world. On the page is everything, from what subjects are available for students to information about the Big Walk, a recent event to raise money for a great cause. If you would like to see more about what University of Sheffield, click here to go to their website.

As I first entered Firth Court, I was greeted by a very friendly man called Stephen Thompson who made me feel welcome and a part of the whole team. He introduced me to Hannah Hall, who then supervised my whole time with them. She showed me around the office, introducing me to all of the delightful team. After meeting all of the team, Hannah and I sat in a meeting room and discussed what I would be doing for the day. I was told that I would be working on three different tasks throughout the day, which were giving feedback on their website, seeing what rival Universities do with their social media platforms and looking at and analysing behind the scenes of the University’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

During my first task I was introduced to Emily Coupland and Steven Goodrich, two workers who focus on digital engagement. This means that their main focus is to see how popular their web pages and social media accounts are and to make them as appealing as possible to young undergraduates. They asked me to give my personal opinion on their website and asked me to tell them anything or anyway that they could improve the website.

After about one hour of analysing the page to see what could be improved, I met up with Emily and Steven again. We discussed what was good and what could be improved, but it was honestly hard to find improvements! The site was laid out in a simple way with lots of videos to engage the viewer. It was easy to locate anything needed due to the search bar located in the top right, and there was enough information on everything and anything that you would need, without there being too much writing to put off young people. The best part of the website was, in my opinion, the quotes that were included for students. The quotes were short, sweet and most importantly honest, which is exactly what you want to see when you need to find out about something. My first task of the day was a delight to work on, which made me reluctant to move on to my second one!

My second job was with Hannah. I was told that I had to look at the University’s Instagram and Facebook accounts and see what type of pictures get the most likes and comments. I found that people most like the pictures of what the entirety of Sheffield has to offer, rather than just what the University have. I then took a look at what strategies the University of Glasgow/Manchester/Nottingham use in order to attract extra views on their pages. I noticed that all of their Instagram pages used tags with large target audiences, which increased the amount of people that view the post. For example, on of the University of Nottingham’s  recent picture, they have the tag “quiddich”. This brings in anybody who is looking at pictures related to Harry Potter, and because Harry Potter’s fan-base is so huge, a lot of people are searching for it, which makes them see this picture and views increase.

My final task was an independent task set by Hannah. My brief was to have a look at the stats on all of the Facebook and  Twitter posts that involved the Big Walk  and present them in an interesting way. To do this task, I got to use a website that works with Facebook and Twitter that shows all of the views, likes and comments the post got, which is the site that all of the big businesses use to see how they do on social media popularity. This was a fantastic opportunity that I found very useful as if a job in marketing is what I want (which after this week I definitely know that I do), then I will need to know my way around a computer, as Alison told me yesterday. I enjoyed the task and felt very privileged to be able to get such great insight into what digital marketing involves.

After I left I still had a few questions about digital marketing I needed to know before I decided it was what I wanted to focus on having as a job, so I thought of no one better to ask the to than Hannah, who has been working in Corporate Communications for two and a half years. I first asked some questions to help me to find out what I will need to be qualified in in order to get a job in digital marketing like hers…

“You need to have A-levels and a degree in a relevant subject area, like Marketing, Journalism, English, Public Relations etc.  Digital content is very important for student recruitment as well, we want to inspire potential new students to study here!”

I was also curious to know which platform that UoS use gets the most views, likes and comments on, because I knew that if I was to grow up and go into digital marketing, then I would have to get familiar with them…

“Our largest audience is Facebook, but we get similar amounts of engagement on Instagram.”

My final questions was about enjoyment. It is common knowledge that if you are doing a job that you simply don’t enjoy, then there is no real point in doing it. I needed to know what is the best, most rewarding part of the job and what the job is like to do, and so that is what I chose to focus my final questions on…

“Well, every day is different and as our projects have short deadlines it’s very fast paced which I enjoy. I also enjoy how creative it is and how varied my projects are – I could be working on a campaign for graduation one day, and then be out on a video shoot the next!”

In summary, my day with the Corporate Communications was unforgettable. From the previous two days and from what the entrepreneurs and business experts told me, I was interested in discovering a life in marketing, but now I can tell any future employer I may have that I have first hand experience of doing some digital marketing, and I know now some strategies that real businesses use in order to get more views. Thanks to Hannah and the rest of the team giving me so much trust, I can also proudly say that I can work independently when given a task, and have now seen what it is like when business companies can access all of the statistics on their social media.

Thanks to the hard work of countless people, I have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain experience of work in a place that I want to work in when I grow up. I honestly do not know how many of my friends can say that with honesty, but thanks to the opportunities I have been given by the entire staff (and entrepreneurs) I have experience that will look good on any CV in the world.





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  • About the author

    William Sendel

    I am a 15-year-old boy blessed with an opportunity to explore a pathway I am interested in as a future job. I am currently completing a week long work experience with the great people here, and loving every second of it!