Today we’re chatting to @socialPolly AKA Alex Pollock
Our Jobhop community would love to know how did you become a global community manager at Castrol?
It was a random call out of the blue one afternoon – my name had been recommended to a headhunter/recruiter who had the role to fill at BP/Castrol, and it sounded really interesting to me. It came at a convenient time too, as I was coming towards the end of a short-term contract with Carphone Warehouse, managing their social media. I put my details forward for the role, had an interview the following week and was offered the position a day or so later.
What is a typical day for you?
My day in community management is probably not the typical or norm. Unlike most, I don’t manage the social (“off-domain”) channels for Castrol – at the moment, we have agencies and digital support to assist on that front. My role within the organisation sits within a new flow of working in which we’ve developed a new B2B online community for our global distribution partners to join and engage with in. It’s invitation-only, and has some fantastic features which allow for immediate translation in 12 languages, as well as a few other cool elements.
What skills or qualifications do you need to get such a great job?
It’s a really tough question, because you can’t necessarily go to university and study community management (that I’m aware of!). A solid understanding of communications and the English language are absolute musts, I would say. And some marketing understanding is always a bonus. There are a number of certifications through a range of companies that you can enrol yourself on. I attended a Social Media & Digital Branding training seminar hosted by the IAB a few years back, and more recently, a Community Management Certification in Germany delivered by Lithium, who are the platform providers for our online community. The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) run a few good courses too.
Your @socialPolly Twitter has tweeted over 46,000 tweets, what do you tweet about?
That figure might sound a lot, but I first registered for Twitter back in January 2009! Putting that into context, it’s around 20 tweets per day – which really isn’t that many. Its really easy to have an opinion on absolutely everything, and comment whether it’s appropriate or not – but I tend to shape my tweets and conversations around the main things that interest me: social media, community management, my work, and my friends/network. A lot of people ask me what they should tweet about, and I think the simplest question to ask is “What has my attention right now?” – that’s what you should be tweeting about.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to do something similar?
I would advise anyone who’s interested in getting involved in community management, to get some experience – there are plenty of marketing agencies that offer junior roles and help to progress individuals through their clients and business. I was agency-based for 5 or 6 years before I headed client-side, and having that agency experience is essentially my version of ‘learning my trade’.
Is Twitter where you like to hang out most?
I’m a big fan of all social networks, and immerse myself in a range of massively popular channels, and a lot of emerging social networks too. I connect them altogether too, so if I’m posting an image on Instagram, it gets posted to Twitter and often Pinterest too without the hassle of switching apps/sites. Twitter is definitely where I spend more of time, and I probably spend more time ‘lurking’ that engaging. I use a dashboard to monitor a range of tweets/conversations around topics that I enjoy, and I read a lot of content that is shared by users who I don’t follow or engage with.
What do you do when you’re not working or hanging out online?
I’m just as social offline, as I am on. A lot of my spare time is taken up catching up with friends and family. I love to travel too! A firm believer that “travel is the only thing you buy that makes your richer”…
Follow Alex Pollock on Twitter @socialpolly
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