E041 From Phd to the World of Social Media Communication and Digital Marketing

February 22nd 2021

Dr Elodie Crespel is a digital media expert. She made the transition into her academic career when studying short film distribution in times before YouTube. In 2015, she earned her PhD from the University of Montreal where she studied the role of online video in interpersonal communication on social media and in real life. She continued to work in higher education by teaching communication classes and working as a Postdoctoral researcher in France. In the end, she decided to quit academia and started exploring the world of freelancing. As a jack of all trades, she enjoys connecting, sharing, and empowering people using digital media.

In November 2020, she also joined TH.0 Blockchain & AI Hackathon. Her team won 3rd place for pitching an innovative concept to combat educational inequality. Now, she is the new head of social media marketing at TH.0 to help foster a community of like-minded enthusiasts across all disciplines.

Elodie’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elodiecrespel/

Elodie’s Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/CrespelElodie

The episode was recorded on February 20th, 2021. This material represents the speaker’s personal views and not the opinions of their current or former employer(s).

Natalia 00:10 Hello, everyone. This is yet another episode of career talks by Welcome Solutions. In these meetings, we talk with professionals who have interesting career paths and who are willing to share their life hacks with us. Today, I have the great pleasure to introduce Dr. Elodie Crespel who’s a digital media expert. She made the transition into her academic career when studying short film distribution in times before YouTube. 

In 2015, she earned her PhD from the University of Montreal where she studied the role of online video in interpersonal communication on social media and in real life. She continued to work in higher education by teaching communication classes and working as a postdoctoral researcher in France. In the end, she decided to quit academia and started exploring the world of freelancing. As a jack of all trades, she enjoys connecting, sharing, and empowering people using digital media. In November of 2020, she also joined TH.0 blockchain and AI Hackathon. 

And her team won third place for pitching innovative concepts to combat educational inequality. Now, she’s the new head of social media marketing at TH.0 to help foster a community of like-minded enthusiasts across all disciplines. Thank you so much, Elodie, for being here, for accepting the invitation, and for sharing your story with us today. I have to say that I’m very excited about this episode because digital media is on the road today. As a growing industry, it also attracts a lot of attention as a potential workspace. I’m very excited. And I have a lot of questions for you. Firstly, I’d like to give the floor to you right now so that you can tell your story from your own perspective.

Dr. Elodie Crespel 02:09 Thank you for having me. It’s great to have a space to talk about this, especially for like, PhD or grad students to see what they can do after their program and all that. I was always interested in digital media. That’s why I did my master’s on the internet. It was just the beginning of the capability of having video online. That’s why I was interested to see how short films can be distributed. 

There were a few festivals, there were very few channels for them. It was before YouTube, so it’s hard to imagine the Internet now without YouTube and social media. But that was the case before and everything I studied for my master’s, I’ll like, the technology is dead. Other things didn’t go through. It’s interesting to study digital media but when you do, you have to do it quickly. Because otherwise, your topics will just die or get old. And I love to learn new things and understand how things work. I decided to do a PhD and move to Montreal. Because at the time, we had a great program. We had the University of Montreal with the UK university of Montreal and Concordia. 

I get to have classes in all three universities. I was part of the student’s representative to help students get scholarships and create a conference. It was a great experience. You get to do so many different things during your PhD. You’re not just doing research but you get to do budgeting because you have conferences. You have to be very diplomatic, especially when you have to deal with three different schools in Montreal because you have the francophones and the Android phone, so we have to think of the different cultures. They deal with education and the vision of how things should be run. 

I returned to friends when I finished my PhD, and I continued to study mostly online communities, so for my postdoc, it was doing research on online communities for the cancer patients and how they join forums and what they do online, how they interacted all that. We were funded by labs for researching medicine for cancer. 

They wanted to know, like, why people go online. They were worried that they will go and find bad information or they will get distracted. And some people just have carrot juice every day. And then you can say, we’ll be gone and things like that. But we found out that people are way smarter than we believe and they know, fish all those crazy people outside. And there was a lot of emotional support and was very empathetic. 

It was a space for them to share knowledge, but share, like, their stress over being sick helping them so that was the strong foundation for them, their community. And that’s something I found during my PhD, like why people would share videos because I want to be like, the coolest online but because I want to like keep interacting with people. I like to show I care. That’s why they were sharing videos. I think that’s an important point to remember when we were very digital. People didn’t need to have interaction with other humans like we need a connection, not just we’re sharing information or knowledge but we share values and experiences. 

We share our skills. We share our difficulties and all that. That’s the strong point of those communication tools, especially now with COVID, we’re all stuck at home. But we need to have a good internet connection and be able to exchange even if it’s just zoom. We can see each other and talk. It’s not as fun as being together at a cafe where we get to chat.

Natalia 07:29 Okay, great. I have a lot of questions for you. Because this is like social media. Again, it’s our default way of communicating but I have a feeling that it was going this way already for the past decade. Even without Corona, I think sooner or later it will become our default way of communicating. First of all, if you could write your code of conduct for how to use social media to stay mentally healthy, and to do it the right way, that positively affects your life. What would you say or what would be the main golden rules that you should follow?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 08:18 You shouldn’t spend 100% of your time on it. I suggest that you follow people, or like you’re interested in just go because I’ll just go on Instagram and just look at whatever you have to tell the algorithm what you like and when you want to know you have your interesting people to follow but you can just follow hashtags, for subjects. Because otherwise, you know, you get all kinds of different things and that’s when people get depressed because they see like, you know, like beautiful people, big cars and You don’t have to be like. 

Just follow what’s interesting to you and you find your own community of people with the same interest. You try to be nice to each other. Because when you’re angry, you’re protected. You don’t see their reaction. You will never do that. You see someone on the street. You don’t like their clothes. You look ugly. Like you will never do that. Remember that even if an online space is still real people behind that screen, so be civilized, like you would do in the street or at home with your friends.

Natalia 10:06 But I think that it’s very important what you’re saying. I think there is not enough in terms of how to treat this anonymous hate online. It’s a psychological effect, anonymity, in general, prompts people to become aggressive towards each other. And that’s known in psychology for at least a century but we still didn’t work out functional ways of preventing that. That’s for sure. I guess, especially now, when the Corona crisis going on for a year almost, it becomes even more of a problem because of the general frustration entitlement from the situation. I can imagine that it becomes a huge issue. Alright, let me now ask you a question from the audience. Valentina is asking, do you think that someone who has a PhD in other fields like biology, for instance, has a lot of social media experience, and a soft, self-taught volunteer can undertake this career path, or a PhD in related subjects, such as communication. 

Dr. Elodie Crespel 11:43 But we study theory. We study why people do things and how they do things but it’s not the same as studying, marketing, being famous online, and having other followers. It’s the same subject with different angles. And I think Valentina has all the knowledge. And she has also read social media. Now, there are a lot of startup biotech companies or even the government that need social media managers, and community managers, sometimes you can see those ads on LinkedIn or even outside. You just need to go out there and look for what’s available. Because we’re using social media. I know there’re programs and you can learn from them but a lot of it, you learn on the inner by doing it and it’s changing. 

Almost every day, there are new tools. Facebook is changing its algorithm. You have to tweak it, then you have to think of who’s your audience like how you’re going to talk to them about what they want to learn or share. That’s something you learn on the go. As long as I think you’re very curious, you’re good with communication which most people with PhD try to do a lot of conferences. You have to teach classes. We know how to do that. Try to explain things easily and be clear. Those are the strong suits that can be used for social media as well.

Natalia 13:53 I found out recently that companies have a company blog on their website. They tend to sell on average 60% more products. That shows that communicating with the audience leads to more sales and more market success. That’s why these days companies are actively searching for communicators. And just as you said, I think the ability to combine your ground knowledge and background in a certain area with social communication and your skills is a strength. It’s a strength, not a liability. And indeed, I can see that. There is a whole space of communicators also in the field where I am. Career advisors who talk a lot don’t have much substance in what they say. You always can write and it’s a different skill from the content. 

And you have to have the content to write about. And you have to have interesting insights and something to say before you started. If you have deep knowledge of a certain topic, then it’s a very good start. Because no one wants to work with people who have no knowledge and no personality. They try to appear online and just represent the project. I think this is important. Let me now proceed to another question from the audience. Jessica, is asking, what professional courses or training do you recommend to increase skills and knowledge in community management or social media marketing?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 16:00 There are all kinds of online courses now. I think you should try them before buying because some of them are very shallow. There’s nothing much there. I think the best is just trying to find interesting podcasts or blogs and know what other people are doing. Like, if you have to like a post on Instagram, there are a few if you type community management. They are going to be the manager in sharing their tips and tricks. That’s where I go. If you have no clue how to use social media, then maybe take an intensive course. But I mean, most of us were already using. What I do is, I just ask myself, what interests me and why do I follow this one. Some of them are interesting because they share grand content. That’s why you follow? 

You follow them because they add value. You have an interesting interview. You have interesting insights. Just go with that. And there’s not bad or wrong. There are no golden rules to follow. We do something interesting that would add value to someone. It doesn’t look too great and it’s fine. It’s not rocket science. It’s just social media.

Natalia 17:47 I’m just thinking about how not to invest in the wrong course because the prices can range for everything between, like, literally 10 euros, or 10 dollars, at Udemy, or Coursera, all the way to 10000s bucks or 10,000 euros or even more. How to recognize that the content will be worth its price?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 18:18 Try to see as much as possible, like what are the course details. Some offer a free trial and try to use it as much to see and go as far as possible in the course to see if it’s interesting or not. They share stuff that you can find also online just by doing some Google search, so there’s no need to have like, I did this course, like, it’s not something that will bring that much value to it. I think the value sheet, like for the first one if it’s volunteer, she’s still doing it. The experience counts because it is not like hard surgery. You don’t have to show you have a diploma for different topics. I think just look for free trial content, and maybe some of them have web conferences and try to find like the one you think, what he’s talking about and just follow them.

Natalia 19:42 I could share my own tip here because I learned something about digital marketing just from life and it works for me. I think if you want to become good at it, at least start doing it. I think it’s important to start looking at what other people do by simply removing unblock from YouTube, let’s say, and other social media because we often use those tools that block outs and we don’t watch ads or we buy into premium features so that we are not even presented any ads. 

There’s this YouTube premium that many people use these days that prevents you from any ads. We watch Netflix. We choose platforms where we can avoid ads at the cost of a subscription fee or so. But it’s good if you want to know what’s being done at the moment. I think the best way is to just switch off these features and see what kinds of art will be presented to you. 

And in the past few months, I’ve seen a lot of YouTube ads, and sometimes I deliberately don’t close them but I watched them till the end. And some of them last for one minute. Some of them last for 10 minutes because YouTube ads can be much longer than regular TV ads. I was watching a lot of content and I learned a lot of techniques because once you watch multiple ads in the same area, then you can see patterns. You can see that they are structured similarly. There’s a specific type of narrative that is being used and that increases the sales. That’s the sales strategy. That increases the marketing when you convert conversion rate.

Dr. Elodie Crespel 21:45 I think there’s a difference between the ads and the contents you’d share regularly because people don’t follow you to see those ads, they follow you because you have some kind of value to add. You need to be careful that you can learn from how they do the ads. But then also there’s the content. You need to think about what needs to be shared. Why do people want to follow you on this platform?

Natalia 22:22 I like my posts on digital marketing. It was not about content. It was from this digital marketing. You can also learn something about yourself. Like I could learn a little bit about how YouTube perceives me as a person. And recently I got an ad from Youtube for man shaver balls and I was like,  I don’t know why. But it used to show me also if you ask for courses for men on how to pick up a woman and speak up artists, I see those ads quite often. For some reason, YouTube decided that I’m a guy. 

Dr. Elodie Crespel 23:23 That’s, I guess you’re not interested in typical feminine YouTube videos.

Natalia 23:29 I tend to watch financial markets rather than makeup channels.

Dr. Elodie Crespel 23:37 YouTube thinks you’re a man. The algorithm is gender-biased in the system.

Natalia 23:50 I can understand it in a way that it uses statistics and 90 plus percent of people watching financial channels on YouTube. I’m just surprised that they don’t have my data yet to figure out my gender. That’s what bugs me because they belong to Facebook, and Facebook knows everything about me how is it possible that they don’t have this information about content creation? Could you share with us some tips about how to be a good content creator? What do you have to take into account to represent your project or the company, or yourself well when you create content?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 24:52 I plan different ones because you cannot say everything in just one post. Like if you’re not on Twitter, or Instagram is very short. We just have one idea. That’s why we need to think about this project. If there are like five points, then it’s going to be like five different posts. Look what others have been using as hashtags or there are a couple of apps on. You can find which one works. Go for there. That’s what I do to plan out, like, what are the challenges? What are the values? who would be interested in that topic? Let’s go there.

Natalia 26:07 Like a template that is available somewhere online, where you can prepare the whole social media campaign for one project so that you have like an algorithm for what you think about and how to divide this content into posts? Is there any tool like this?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 26:25 There are a lot of people who sell their templates. It’s not always the best. You have to separate all the ideas yourself. it’s like how you learn writing, I can say one paragraph is when I guess was the same, the same rules. Because if you say too much in one impose, especially like, Twitter, Instagram, people be like, talking too much detail. And you can even write it anyway. You can write an article on LinkedIn. That’s good. And you can be into writing and have big ideas.

Natalia 27:42 Which of the social media platforms would you recommend for starting businesses? I can hear advice from multiple sources that are always contradictory. And there is a team Facebook. There is a team Instagram. And there is the team, LinkedIn. And no one is advising me for using Twitter which I use a lot. I’m just curious what your thoughts are, like, from the perspective of a small entrepreneur, if you don’t have the budget for marketing. Do you treat social media as a way to get a free marketing channel? Where would you invest the most time and energy today?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 28:22 I think Instagram is quite big. The problem is that everybody’s on Facebook. Nobody will see you if you don’t like to spend money on sponsoring your post. Because you just are drowned. And if you just started Facebook, the algorithm wouldn’t even think of you and put it on people’s feeds. Like even if people follow you, they may not even see your post. 

Unless you pay money on Facebook, it’s hard. You have to spend a lot of time and money on it. I think Twitter is a good way to build community on it. It depends on what you’re selling. I had some clients. They’re like, a plumber, and do they need an Instagram page? You know, just we’re gonna show pipes and bathroom floating, unless they really like do like, you know, content like how to take care of your plumbing, you know, as they give like really advice all the time. Like if I just use it as an advertisement, people will not watch it. They get followers. They get likes. And people are confused about having a lot of likes and having an upsell but it doesn’t work that way.

Natalia 29:59 That’s a very good point. And I’m also starting to realize that it doesn’t convert that well because those who follow you often follow you because of the free content you post and then necessarily going to proceed to buy products. Because the reason why they watch your content in the first place is that it defines the quality content but it’s free. Can you give any simple tips on how to make sure that your online presence will lead to any conversion? Is it a type of a high-level question that, like a secret that you only get after learning online marketing for 10 years and it’s really hard to achieve? And this is a quite, complex problem that you have to solve with professionals and you can’t give any quick fixes for it.

Dr. Elodie Crespel 31:05 I think you should be careful, like people selling you quick fixes. Follow my seven-step and you’ll be millionaires online. I think it depends on the product. If you want people to buy that, and as you’re selling courses are, what dependencies like the physical product or immaterial products. There’s different also for extra gram, like beauty products, you know, because you have your content, people follow you, but at the end, they still have to buy the cream to get the result or whatever. That’s different. If you want to start something, you have to have a great argument like, this is all the free stuff. 

But they’ll just learn how to do it. Once they do it, they say like the quicks stuff, that’s where you don’t have to spend so much time. It’s all like pre-formatted. It’s easy. The problem is that, who’s your audience? And there’s one formula for everyone who’s your target. Like, what are you going to sell? It’s like a pizza restaurant. I mean after I’m gonna get you’re trying to look at the calendar that Oh, Valentine’s Day coming in, I’ll get there’s gonna be a post for Valentine’s Day. But those are hard. For the one I’m working for the judge pointer is easier because we have over 15 different hackathons or there are different subjects. It’s hard.

Natalia 33:25 Now, let me just ask because it particularly interests me, sorry for being private here. But actually, I’m more oriented on digital products and digital content and answer services online. It’s not manufacturing anything but it’s more like services and online products aptitude test, let’s say. I think it would be potentially a good challenge for this and how to make sure that it sells.

Dr. Elodie Crespel 33:56 How do they sell? You have to show them the difference between the stuff they get for free and when are they paying? Because as you say, like, why would I pay if I already get stuff for free. That is very basic and general but if you do personality tests, it has to be individualized. It’s gonna be just for you and then you use it for this and that and I don’t know if they have arguments about why we need to have a personality test. And what’s the difference between the other competition? Because they have free online tests. That’s right. That’s why you also need to see the competition like what they’re offering.

Natalia 34:50 I think it’s a very good point to make this distinction clear. Maybe not give away everything you do straightaway, that because it’s sometimes you’re tempted to write. You’re tempted to just talk about what you do. But sometimes you have to keep some part of your work only, you know, reserved for those who pay. 

Dr. Elodie Crespel 35:14 You can talk like, why are you doing this show that you are passionate about your product. You are an expert in all those things. You need to buy in because I’ve been working on it for like 10 years and am the expert on the subject. I think especially for women, we tend to like minimize what we know. That’s why YouTube thinks you’re a guy. 

Natalia 36:02 It’s true. That was a very good point. And it’s also something I had to learn after leaving academia because, in academia, we are prompted to share everything as soon as your paper is published, like all your pipeline, or your methods, you’re even required to share it in public today because respectable journals will not even publish your content if you cannot share all the pipeline with the readers which is good. It makes perfect sense. Because at the end of the day, you’re paid by taxpayer’s money and they want to see your work output and all the other methods and society is the real owner of what you do. That makes sense. You are the owner of what you do. 

And I’m still learning that I have to stop giving away my work for free because I still have that tendency and I’m trying to fight it. And I resolved that this year, I’m presenting for free and giving talks and giving coaching sessions for free. And I think it’s been a few weeks, some like so far. And I think I just still gave a few coaching sessions for free because I couldn’t say no, and I think I should work on this. That’s for sure. It’s very good advice. 

And this is something that no one also prepares us for when we go towards the industry, we will have to be our advocates right now and protect our work better. Let me ask you another question from the audience, Valentina is asking, what kind of companies are looking for this type of professional? And where should I look? I think we kind of answered this question.

Dr. Elodie Crespel 38:01 I think now that all the companies are looking for community management specialists. Maybe they try to minimize some people that just gonna hire an intern. They know how to deal with social media. But they want to have like a really good job to be done better. One person is fully committed to it. And I said there’s all those community management because she has a science background and now she can write a blog post and do all kinds of stuff, just need to browse through all the regular and indeed, LinkedIn, all those things and build her network, talk to people. 

Natalia 39:01 There were times, 10 or 20 years ago when the CEO could do the marketing because the CEO was presenting the project at public meetings, complex and bringing in key clients, etc. But now it’s just impossible to follow. There are so many social media and companies tend to delegate this job as soon as they possibly can. And when I talk to other small entrepreneurs who are now starting their businesses, what I hear the most often is that if they could delegate just anything when they get their first employee, the first person that will employ is a social media representative or digital marketing person or a community manager. 

It’s exactly the type of profession that is wanted right now. I know it from my own experience and I feel that when you create content, then the necessity to be present on social media daily, it’s a major distractor that if I could get helped with this, I would go for it. It’s a type of profession that pretty much everyone needs right now and maybe even cold mailing because many companies don’t have a representative yet.

Dr. Elodie Crespel 40:37 She can like, not just like Valentine, she is in biology, she can look at all the companies that interested her and then you just look at their Twitter feed or LinkedIn, and suddenly you see that nothing is done. Then, she can reach out they’re like, I saw your social media and I think you need some help. And I know, she can talk about that she has expertise in science and social media aspect. 

Natalia 41:13 That’s very good advice. I have a bit different question right now, related to today’s online space. Because I myself have a feeling that I’m a bit tired of online communities. There’s also like I’m trying to limit so it’s so destructive that I’m just trying to limit the number of channels through which I’m communicating. Like, I was only talking to a few friends through telegram and signal. I’m just not using them at the moment because I felt it was just too much for me. And I try to make sure that I have a very limited number of online communities I belong to just because so much time and these days, clubhouse becomes the next big thing. 

I’m now hesitating whether or not I should run a clubhouse because I’ve heard from people how destructive it can be. And I’m like, can I afford to spend my evenings attending clubhouse for hours? Because it’s very addictive words from what people say. And I’m just thinking, do you think we reach this point when people are so tired of communities that they don’t have any space for new? Or do you think this trend will go on and on and we’ll see even more explosions in this space?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 42:45 I think I’ve been studying this for over 10 years. I mean, at first, way before Facebook, there was My space, there was high five, and there’s a couple of them, and then just basically one point to cover was Facebook. Now, people move into the clubhouse because they’re sick of having just images with Instagram and Tiktok. I think people will always get tired of one thing and try something new. The problem is like, when is it too many different ones? At some point, that thing comes out and it’s gonna go jungle out there. 

We’ll see like, the clubhouse is doing that like for Telegram, Discord, WhatsApp, so we’ll see who’s gonna say no. But I think there’s always going to be one more like chat. There was ICQ. I was MSN Messenger. For the old generation, there was always a chat forum. I think we’re gonna keep one of those telegrams or signals. I guess images gonna stay as well, like, humans are very visual, no matter what. Especially with the phone, it’s so easy to open Tik Tok, and he’s like, Oh, I spent two hours looking through some videos, people dancing. At the beginning of the internet, that’s where people will go online to find community and find other minded people looking for the same subject. 

Natalia 45:04  I like to think that social media is just a way of communicating. It’s not life itself. I mean, many people treat social media as live as the reality they have already become. They represent on social media which is good in principle but they take online media activity very personally, for instance, last week, I had a large dispute with one of my friends, who felt very offended by the fact that I did not answer a question that he posted on my post on Twitter. And he unfollowed me on Twitter for that. And he made me a huge rant through emails. After I responded to that, I didn’t like the fact that he reacts so angrily to sort such detail because, for me, it was just something that have no weight?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 46:11 He took it personally.

Natalia 46:13 I’m just trying to say that many people these days treat social media the same as real life. For them, if you don’t notice the question and you don’t respond, they treated you the same way as if you were just standing in front of them and then turning around and walking away, which is for me, like, blows my mind because you get so many notifications that you might not even notice. But still, people take an offense. 

Dr. Elodie Crespel 46:43 It’s funny as we went back full circle. In the beginning, you have to be nice to people just like if you meet them on the street, but at the same time, when we’re talking in those spaces, it’s not synchronous. We’re not live and we can see the reaction they face. That’s the good thing and the bad thing. As you said, like, if you didn’t get the notification, you missed it. He got upset because you had a personal link and you should have noticed him but you didn’t.

Natalia 47:24 I think it’s a bit dangerous trend if people no longer see the difference between the two and there’ll be a lot of frustration and conflicts as well. 

Dr. Elodie Crespel 47:36 Because you are not having a one-on-one conversation. It was a public conversation.

Natalia 47:47 I like to ask you another one, which is how can you prevent yourself from this dark side of social media when it becomes your enemy, instead of being your friend, for instance, when people start expecting you to behave in a certain way that is not necessarily your true self. And I can, like give a simple example, like every time, on Twitter, this academic Twitter community, it’s a specific type of mindset and specific values and specific type of narrative that kind of people share. If you say something that might not 100% relate to the expectations of this community, you lose followers straightaway. 

I recently said something that the purpose was good. I was saying something along the lines that if you still do your projects properly, in times of Corona, when is the hardest, even when you’re tired when you’re frustrated but still respond to emails, you still do all your duties, then it will be seen as very professional and your colleagues will remember that because many many people lower the standards not because of mental health problems but because they just lowered the standards because everybody else does. 

They were spending more time on Netflix and they just stop doing the duties. That’s my impression. That was like the message but I think a few people took it wrong. They took it as a sign of negligence for people with mental health problems. And like, five minutes I got 10 people on following me straightaway. It’s easy to get misunderstood. 

And it’s easy to have people who are your followers for maybe years even to like just turn around from you in a second because you didn’t say the things or you didn’t express yourself in a way they expected or they would wish and I think I mean, once you do business or you represent your project or if you do a project for a company, whatever, like other professionals who build some social media image, you will meet with these situations more and more. Do you have any advice? How can one prepare mentally for this type of situation? And how can you grow some thick skin in some way, so that those situations don’t affect you and your mental health and mood and well-being?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 50:42 I think we have to remember that those are still real people behind the screen but it’s so easy to be misunderstood. And now everything is dissected, like what you said, she says, you know that she doesn’t care for people with mental health issues and you need to be politically correct and think of everyone and be very inclusive. A lot of companies have to deal with the big crisis but they have to remember that people will forget, after a while, that there’ll be another big crisis. 

She says something horrible. You do have not to make it personal. That’s like, they didn’t attack you. They didn’t understand and tried to move on as the best you can, I mean, some issues can be really strong, like the whole case in France, that one girl says something and now she has a death threat. But she said something about Islam, and it was a big political issue, especially in France and it’s very complex. 

And I think that that’s the problem, like, sometimes people reduce everything to make it simple. But those things we have in society go way back. They have multiple layers and they have multiple sides to them. And that’s the problem. You have to be black and white, very clear cut and you have to be on the right side right away. That’s one of the bad sides of time if social media is like you have this bubble, expanding on one issue but it’s not really like we say. They’re not a good discussion like really arguing and bringing good arguments to the discussion. Having a solution is just they get mad and try angry stuff. That’s one of the issues social media have to deal with.

Natalia 53:25 I mean, honestly, I’m quite fine with how social media work for me for now. But I’m sometimes thinking, because I feel there’s always a point where once you keep on growing, then you start getting so-called haters. And this rarely happens when you’re very small. Then usually your friends and also people who don’t know you, usually support you and they keep on doing great stuff. But once you get into some level of success, I think this’s when the problem starts. And I’m not sure. 

I don’t know how it feels. But you can also watch on YouTube many stories from people who can consider themselves very successful in the digital space and who suffered from severe problems because this’s quite a culture. In social media, when people feel compelled to even disconnect completely just because of some public outrage because some of the statement or something they said it’s so easy to become a public enemy today. This is disturbing. Like, I’m curious, how does your daily life as a social media communication person look like, and what particularly interests you like how is your day structured during official working hours? 

How do you feel about using social media in your free time? Are you so tired of social media that you no longer feel the energy and you just want anything but social media? Are you still actually have enough stamina to go on your private social media accounts and still be artists? How does it look for you?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 55:27 For me, it became interlinked, especially for LinkedIn. That’s why I joined cage.0. I’m working with the flow of the Hackathons. I’m planning ahead, like my days, like, okay, in two weeks, we’re gonna have like, this one, so I need to start planning my Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We do have like, challenges for each one. We have like, three, four. I’m gonna say, Okay, we’re gonna have like posts for this challenge and other posts for this challenge. Try to edit some videos and do a lot of research on like, who’s big on the subject on Instagram or Twitter. 

Twitter is really useful. I found these tools quite useful. It’s called spark Toro. You can upload a hashtag or your profile to see who’s following you and what are their subjects? Who are they? That’s a good way to know more about your audience and what they like. And then I tried to like, if I have a post on Twitter, and they say, like, we have a hackathon on International Women’s Day. I have all those big accounts. I tried to tap them on the post or go on their feed and say, oh, this’s interesting, like, you want to join us for this one. Because that’s the point also, like, it’s not just you’re posting, but also trying to have a conversation. 

My free time is going on social media and trying to see who’s talking about this subject, and I’m like, Oh, this is good for our next hackathon on fine tech. I just drop a line to their accounts. That’s what I do. The problem is, like, sometimes I feel like my day never ends. Because as long as I have my phone, you can always say, Okay, I’m working, because, you know, I’m like retweeting or liking these posts or commenting. It’s a never-ending story. You need to let somebody learn to like, 

Okay, I’m just gonna stop and go outside for work because it’s sunny outside. There’s also a lot of research trying to see the new goals to learn about digital marketing or just blogs, or tweets out there. It’s quite cool. There’s a free version of the tool. It’s only you get 10 research a month. But if you can use it well, it’s quite useful.

Natalia 58:33 I have another question. Since I’m talking to you, it just came to my mind. And I can see that you’re such a peaceful person who is just very chilled. I always thought that people who are behind digital content and digital marketing, but also social media communication, especially on social media, like Twitter and Facebook, are much different. I always had this image on my mind that these people have ADHD, they’re just switching between apps crazily and spend the whole day typing out the incredible speed. This differs from my perception. I’d like to ask you about this. What is the profile of a typical person who is behind this content? Do you experience that most people out there are people like you who are very peaceful? Or is there something true to this image I have that most people are ADHD?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 59:37 If you want to plan, you need to be not like super chill, but at least level-headed and you have to think ahead like what you’re going to say because if you say something wrong, it blows up and you have a crisis on you. You need to be careful and plan ahead because you need to have like a strong strategy like just responding to everybody on the call, I think maybe for some brands, that can work. 

Now I have to do research, find articles, have some facts to talk about, as you say, bring content, so you cannot just go all over the place and share everything and anything, so I feel like, okay, is this gonna be good for this or that? Where are we on in our day-to-day for our next project? You have to do something that you need to slow down and go for the long run. Maybe that’s just me. I mean, I don’t know that many social media managers like the one I’ve met, are usually not hyperactive. 

Natalia 1:01:12 It’s interesting because it might mean that those hyperactive ones are like low-ticket marketers who are everywhere but they are not behind the serious projects, just very small projects, or just behind themselves. They build their own image. But maybe respectable companies hire much more, like calm and thoughtful people, indeed to do the digital marketing which would be good news for PhDs. 

Dr. Elodie Crespel 1:01:52 We’re very focused but why do you need to be focused, even if it’s like a different platform to think about. We’re going to do for what for Twitter, like, if I’m on LinkedIn, I need to talk about this, as well. Now, you need to write blog posts. You need to be focused and be able to write something quite long.

Natalia 1:02:17 But this is, like when you write something for a company or organization, is there anyone who sends you or checks through your content? Or is it like immediately posted? Is there any team working with you and just editing what you do? As soon as you create content, do you have the freedom to post it online?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 1:02:39 It depends. At first, I did CEO are going through to make sure that everything was okay. We also have another girl. She does a lot of writing blog posts, so sometimes I like to reuse her material. There has to be a whole team behind it. I think even in a big company, there’s not one person behind the whole team of them because you need to plan it and you need to create the content and make sure everything is okay. There’s a lot of work. It’s fast and easy. 

Natalia 1:03:22 I know it’s easy. I think it’s also physically draining because to get any results or any substantial results on social media, you have to be quite consequent and I can see that people often jump on social media and like hyperactive for a month or two and then they hoped for and drove out or just radically decrease their presence. I think to get a long-lasting effect, you have to invest and be present and come back every week or every day for some time for years. 

Dr. Elodie Crespel 1:04:01 You need to be consistent. That’s why the whole planning is important. You have to like okay, I’m gonna do at least one or two weeks ahead to make sure I have something to post because as you say like you’re not feeling so inspired that we’re gonna post about so if you’re planning, then be easy. Because as you say consistency is a key I mean, even the other day I was cleaning up our social media like Instagram there was a bunch of people we follow and they haven’t published anything since 2019. I think I’m just gonna unfollow them, I guess. They’re not active and I’m just keeping. There is no point in having them.

Natalia 1:04:53 Could you give general advice for people who are interested in working in the space, so social media communication and social and digital marketing, and yet have no formal experience in their resume. Is there anything you could come up with?

Dr. Elodie Crespel 1:05:20 I think to bring their other skills in front. Because I think we’re talking mostly for like, people with graduate students or PhD. I know that you’re a good communicator. You have this expertise in that subject that not many people have. That can be used, as you say, especially now, and a lot of companies need someone to deal with social media but they need some understanding of what they’re doing. 

That’s where you can bring forward all, your years of doing research or whatever. And I think I’m curious because you’re always learning what you have to share. These are the skills you need to bring forward. And then you can just follow this course online or not if you need to prove that you have some knowledge. You need to feel better. But I think for grad students it brings the cerebral skills they have learned during all the research.

Natalia 1:06:50 Do companies expect any certifiable knowledge in digital marketing or social media communication? If you apply just put forward your background, once you get questions about that at the interview, the recruiter will read through your application and try to figure out what is your potential as a communicator or perhaps your own presence is enough. If you have enough online presence on multiple media channels, maybe this is the solid point.

Dr. Elodie Crespel 1:07:29 If you go there and your LinkedIn page is not done, you have nothing on Twitter that maybe they start questioning you on but if it’s interesting, that’s when you, on this platform, grow followers just by talking about things that interest you. I guess if you go there with like, you have no social account, they’ll be like, Okay, while you want to do this if you’re not already on it. That makes no sense. 

Natalia 1:08:06 Okay. Thank you so much, Elodie, for all this great advice today. Thank you for joining us and accepting our invitation. Thank you guys who came to the end of this episode. If you’d like to get more content related to interesting jobs and interesting career paths that are available for graduates from universities, please share this material and also subscribe to our channel. We welcome any questions that you might have. And have a nice day. Thank you. 

Dr. Elodie Crespel 1:08:42 Thank you so much for having me.

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2021, February 22nd). E041 From PhD to the World of Social Media Communication and Digital Marketing? Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/career-development-strategies-e041-from-phd-to-the-world-of-social-media-communication-and-digital-marketing/

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