Interview with Jo Barber from Seeing Social

Read how Jo Barber from Seeing Social got out of a dead-end job and opened up a world of opportunities by training as a social media manager.

What’s your career background?

Since leaving the University of Glasgow with a MA in Economic & Social History with French, I worked in a couple of online marketing roles and then moved to more of an administrative/sales role for Said Business School recruiting for their executive education programmes.

Why did you decide to retrain in social media marketing?

I enjoyed the online marketing roles that I was involved with earlier in my career and wanted to move back into marketing. However, I hadn’t had any formal training – I had just picked bits up as I went along, and I felt that I would need a qualification to give me credibility.

How did you pick the right course?

There are a lot of options out there, but I chose the City & Guilds Diploma in Social Media with Concise Training as it was an accredited qualification which I felt would give me the credibility I needed, and it offered the flexibility to study in my own time which really appealed.

What was it like learning a new discipline?

I didn’t find the job that I was doing particularly interesting or challenging so although it was a lot of work, it was good to use my brain again. I enjoyed the assignments and the practical nature of the course and felt I got a good grounding in all aspects of social media management.

What have you done since you finished the course?

While I was on the course, I applied for, and got accepted in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Program. The Erasmus program aims to help new entrepreneurs to acquire relevant skills to manage a business by spending time in another business in another EU country.

I spent time in Berlin working with CJ Hopkins, an award-winning playwright, novelist and political satirist. The great thing was that I was able to do this whilst still learning as the course can be taken from anywhere with an Internet.

When the Erasmus program finishes in the Autumn of 2018 I will continue with the set up of Seeing Social – a social media management business with a key focus on ethical and socially responsible businesses.

How easy has it been to start a business with your new skills?

By completing the assignments on the course, I went through some of the processes needed to start my new business and Di, my assessor, gave me additional ideas.

Because the assignments were so practical, I realised I could put my learning into practice which gave me the confidence that I could do it – and gave me the confidence to apply for the Erasmus programme.

Where would you like to be in three years’ time?

My dream for the next three years is to have an ethical social media consultancy that helps businesses develop their brand and customer base, whilst maintaining my own life work balance that allows me to continue with my voluntary work.

What would you say to someone thinking of training?

Invest in your own personal development – you never know what doors you will open. Nothing will change if you continue doing what you are currently doing but don’t enjoy.

What are your top three social media tips for small businesses?

There are so many tips I could give but I think the most important ones are:

  • Don’t have too many platforms – just use a couple and use them well.
  • Have a strategy in place so you can immediately deal with any negative comments you may get.
  • Consider colour contrasts when creating images that contain text. Ensure text is easy to read by using a black outline around the text.

You can find out more about Seeing Social on their website