The Career Crush Transcript: Jessica Bates. Jessica left the corporate world of social media and communications to venture onto her own. Her choice wasn’t exactly on her planned timing, but the best decisions in life aren’t always planned. Watch or read on about why Jessica loves working in social media, how she plans to grow her business, and how social media is just an inherent part of her personality.
Video interview: 15 min watch time. Transcript: 4 min read time.
So tell me exactly what a freelance digital strategist does.
I work on social media blogging, blogging, emails, content strategy. Everything from hands-on social media management to overarching strategy and themes and recommendations. I’ve helped companies do their digital media audit of their properties. I’ve also given one-on-one lessons of how to use Twitter.
How old are you?
I am 37 years young.
How long did you work for someone else before you decided to start your own company?
I’ve been working for someone else for as long as I can remember, but my guess would be my early twenties.
Were you in social media or digital strategy prior?
Yes, I most recently was the director of digital at a start-up in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, I was working at the communications department at the United Nations Foundation for about two years.
Why did you go into social media digital strategy?
Originally it was because I loved Twitter and Facebook. But it mainly comes down to people. Working at the American Lung Association Headquarters, the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives became my daily motivation. I found that social media was a way to make an immediate difference in people’s lives.
In some ways, social media is similar to real-life relationships. Whare are some things that you think are different?
People are able to curate their lives in social media; they are able to be selective of what they share because they have a very particular look that they want to communicate.
Of all social media, do you think Snapchat feels more real to you?
Snapchat does have the potential to be most real, immediate, raw version of people’s lives. People are in the moment when they’re on Snapchat and it gives a real look of what’s going on in their lives.
Do you have a favorite social media outlet?
Twitter and Snapchat are my favorites these days. Recently, I’ve reignited my love affair with Twitter. I got away from it after a while after seeing the real-life connections that I had began to fade away.
If you were to explain why Twitter is one of your favorites, what would you say?
Twitter is very short and sweet. As someone who has attention deficit disorder, I find it difficult to read long posts. With Twitter, it’s only 140 characters which is awesome, so it works out nicely.
Do you think one particular medium is harder to build a network than the other?
If you are a brand and you know where your audience is, I think that there are a lot of different platforms you can use. Twitter and Snapchat are good platforms to make friends and influence people. On Facebook, stories and experiences can get lost since it tries to be all things for all people.
Do your friends ever ask for advice?
Since I’ve started working freelance, I’ve gotten a more requests for advice from people. As the economy begins to shift to a sharing economy, more people are going for freelance work
What things are you doing to build clientele and to grow your business?
I am an ambassador at Hera Hub in Washington, D.C. I spend time there each week in exchange for access to their mentors, Also, I have gotten a bulk of my work through friends. It is all about networks.
Can you describe the decision or path when you told yourself, “I’m just going to do it”?
Unfortunately, it was at the start-up I was working for failed and I was unemployed. Over the fall, I had a contract with an agency for three months. At that point, I decided to look into freelance opportunities.
Why is what you do natural for you or your passion?
Spending a lot of time in the nonprofit sector such as the American Lung Association and United Nations Foundation, speaks very much to my sense of being part of something bigger than myself and working to make a positive influence. It is a natural extension of who I am, social media is the way things come together.
In your own way, what makes you really good at what you do and why people might contact you?
I am genuine and dedicated. I don’t take any project that I don’t care about. My work is more than money. I will bring dedication and heart to the work that I do. I ask questions. When Sanders supporter and when he left the race, I explained why I’ll be supporting Clinton. I wanted to understand what the world around me was doing and help educate people. I want people to be able to ask. I also want the brands that I represent to be sources of help and information.