You have big career goals, and whether they involve climbing the corporate ladder, making a drastic career change, or starting your own business, there are certain skills that can help you get there faster. LinkedIn Learning provides easy-to-follow video courses that teach you the skills you need to reach your professional goals and stand out to potential employers, sans having to do hours of research (hello, Google rabbit hole). Thinking of turning your passion for photography into a side hustle? There’s a class for that. Looking to jump into writing, but want to fine-tune your skills before making the leap? There’s a class for that too. And hey, your newfound talents may even impress your boss enough to get you that raise you deserve.

Since here at The Newsette we believe that the right skillset can help your resume stand out from the crowd, this month we’re partnering with LinkedIn Learning to bring you four inspiring women who have used skills taught on the platform to land the jobs of their dreams. Today, Natalie Lim Suarez of the incredibly popular blog “Natalie Off Duty” is sharing her expertise in social media marketing to showcase how she used this valuable skill to not only grow her Instagram audience to over half a million–but also build an incredibly lucrative blogging business, working with top brands like Saks Fifth Avenue, L’Oreal Paris, and Levis, and even collaborating on her own line with Macy’s. Because no matter what you do–knowing how to market yourself, or your company, is a skill you need in 2019. Bonus: This month, LinkedIn Learning is unlocking courses that help teach you the skills companies need most (including this one!) so you can learn them for free.

 

Whether our readers have a small business, blog, or side hustle, or even just want to stand out to potential employers—why do you think learning how to market yourself (or a product) on social media is an important skill?

For those looking to stand out in the workforce, having a presence on social media makes it easier to showcase your talents, your passions, and the things you really care about. Being able to market yourself on social media is so important when beginning a new career, especially for someone looking to create a personal brand. If you’re applying for a job, you could have all the same skills and requirements as all of the interviewees, but your social media page could be that extra push that helps you get the job and I’ve seen it happen numerous times with friends in NYC working in the industry. Those who are passionate about the brand and company that they work for (or want to work for) are normally much more successful. They become the brand and hiring managers can clearly see that.

I also think that having genuine love for what you do makes you stand out. For those looking to have a small business or blog, social media is an incredible way to make new connections simply by sending a comment or direct message. You never know who is following you, or who is interested in working with you. For me, my social media is a combination of my work, my passions, and even the fun personal side of the job like friends and family. It’s important to find what works best for your and your business. But, most of all, I keep my social media pages professional and fun.

LinkedIn Learning is a platform where you can learn valuable skills for your career like social media marketing. In what ways has being able to market your unique skills helped you build your business? What skills have you learned or found most useful in your career? 

I was modeling all through high school and college and many of my skills were developed through the modeling world. I quickly developed my eye for photography, for clothing design, and marketing. I was a business major because I knew it would come in handy, although my passions were in the performing arts, fashion, and music my entire life. Being a professional fashion model put me in that entrepreneurial mindset immediately and, for me, it began at a really young age, 15! It is like becoming a business owner where you are your business. Once I began my blog, Natalie Off Duty, in 2009, I was able to take my business and career to the next level as one of the very first fashion blogs with a “model off duty” insider’s perspective into the fashion world. I got to work on branded projects on a whole other level, as the face, the voice, and vision behind each project both in front of the camera and behind the camera. Although I have a team of managers and agents, it’s so important for me to stay on top of every single one of my projects. To go out there, take meetings, attend important events, and grow my network. When it comes to maintaining networking relationships, LinkedIn is amazing. I meet people at events all the time and it’s such a convenient place to follow up with them. It’s fun to see how so many people I meet are connected.

As for my blog and social media, I am able to display everything that I love, along with what I’m good at and what comes naturally for me, whether it be photography, writing, singing, and creative direction. Social media and all of its platforms have became my portfolio, which is why it’s important for not only entrepreneurs, but anyone with creative skills to learn how to use it. You may just get some jobs from being able to showcase your work! It got me noticed in a way that I never thought possible. As my business grew and I was getting more and more partnerships, I incorporated and trademarked my company, making my business a lot more structured and organized, and easy to manage with my team. As a creative who does it all, it’s so important to be knowledgable about the backend of the business, stay connected, and keep improving.

Social media changes on a daily basis with new features, platforms and more. How do you stay ahead of trends and find new ways to work with brands?

Social media is always changing, so I find owning and running my website to be a #1 priority. It’s an asset that you own, and fully control, whereas social media and platforms are constantly changing outside of your control whether it be algorithms or aesthetic. However, even if you have a website, social media is an invaluable tool to bring traffic and new eyes there. The more my content is out there to be shared, the better. I use platforms like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, along with shoppable apps like 21 Buttons, Rewardstyle, and Shopstyle…. all which have a different audience and demographic, exposing my work to new people. Being active on all of these platforms has really exposed me to so many brands and clients, who will reach out with proposals and ideas directly.

You’ve worked with top fashion brands like Coach, Nordstrom, and Saks. How do you work with brands to develop a strategy to promote them on your social channels?

With every brand I work with, I first like to go over what message they’re trying to get across and what products they’re looking to push. I then come up with the creative direction, and work with the brand to come up with a timeline on when I will shoot the content along with when and how it will be rolled out on my channel. It’s amazing how much freedom the brand gives me, but I like making it a group effort so that everyone is really happy with the partnership and the content.

What advice do you have for people looking for jobs in social media marketing? What skills do you feel are essential? Any surprising skills that have helped you along the way?

For those looking for jobs in social media marketing, I definitely think you should be creative, a people-person, and someone who is great with branding. You should definitely have an eye for visuals along with the ability to write amazing and eye-catching campaign titles, hashtags, and captions. Those little details can improve engagement by a lot! Another major skill is being able to study data and analytics so that you can track and create goals for each post. I think being well-rounded is amazing in any field, so I think in social media, it’s important to be able to handle a camera and edit images in Lightroom/Photoshop along with videos in Premiere Pro. A great social media marketer should be able to manage a successful social media presence, but also have the skills to create the content if needed. There’s so much work that goes into a single post, so being able to understand all aspects of the job and content creation is essential.

Your content on social media always seems very planned out. Do you have a content calendar or regular posting schedule for different platforms? If so, can you walk us through your process? Has that boosted your engagement?

My brand partnerships are always on my calendar. I shoot every single day with my sister Dylana to meet our deadlines. To this day, we are still so hands on and create, photograph, and edit all of our own content on our pages. As for everything else sprinkled in and all of my organic content, I don’t plan much and I think that’s the beauty of it. I like to play with shapes and colors on my feed, so I like everything I post to be different from the last photo, but still complementing it. I post 2-3 times a day on Instagram mostly because I like my page to always feel fresh. I always want each of my posts to be a dose of inspiration whether it be the mood, the light, the look, or where I’m at. After I make a post, I go back and engage with my followers and those that I follow. With such a saturated industry, it’s important to really engage and have that presence and interaction. That is the best way to grow these days.

Engagement rate is incredibly important on social media. Have you always had this much engagement, or did the commenting and liking behavior surge after a certain point? Do you have any advice for tracking or boosting engagement on social channels? 

My engagement has really gone up because I spend that extra time responding to comments and engaging. At the beginning of my career, the creative was my main focus, but now I really see the importance of getting to know my followers and actually connect with them. And with all of the events I host, I even get to meet them and I’ve made some really amazing friendships. I have always put my heart and soul into my content, and, through the years, I began covering a lot more topics: fashion, beauty, travel, home decor, music, lifestyle, culture, and food. All of which tie into my personal style. As my brand has grown, so has my content. I play with different cameras and invest in new lenses and equipment when I feel it’s needed. I like staying true to my aesthetic, but constantly upgrading and re-inventing to keep my content fresh. I always screenshot my branded post analytics and keep them in files so I can go back to them and compare, and also be transparent and share them with the brand. With certain partnerships, the brand will boost my content through Facebook Business to reach a new audience. But personally, I haven’t run any ads as of yet, but I’m always reading about it, and learning with classes like on LinkedIn Learning! There are so many ways to go about it, from boosting posts to running Instagram Story ads. I like being in the loop and chatting with my team and community about new methods to grow.

You have over half a million followers on Instagram alone. What feedback have you learned from your robust social media community? Have their comments or engagement guided decisions you’ve made about partnerships, content, or strategies?

I have noticed that my followers really appreciate the art behind my posts. The mood. The light. The feeling they get. My readers also just want to discover new brands, discover their own style, and also find amazing pieces to shop. For me, it’s about creating that inspiration and mood for my readers. They can take whatever they want from the image or video! I keep my page really positive and purely inspirational. As for brand decisions and partnerships, my followers like growing with me. This past season I did a full INSPR-D by NATALIE OFF DUTY for Macy’s design collaboration and so many pieces sold out. I was blown away by the amount of women that purchased it, posted about it, and styled it in their own way. I really felt the strength of my community there. I love being able to create something so special. I will always have a focus on creating unique content, products, and inclusive experiences for my readers.

Ready to learn the ins and outs of social media marketing? Watch the course for free here and learn this skill in less time than that trending Netflix movie.

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