Welcome to the exciting world of digital marketing, where no one day is like the next! While you might think digital marketing is all about mastering social media — and while that is part of it, there is a lot more happening behind the scenes.
From crafting compelling emails to mastering SEO strategies and venturing into the world of paid advertising, “modern-day wizards” is an accurate synonym for marketing pros.
Let’s dive into some things we wish we knew before we started a career in digital marketing — and things we still remind ourselves of every day (see item #2).
1. Social media is only part of the puzzle 🧩
At first glance, digital marketing may seem synonymous with social media. It’s partially true – much of what we do here at WHIP is managing, creating, and engaging on social — but there’s so much more to explore. From email marketing to SEO to paid advertising to media and press, marketers do it all!
Digital marketers wear many hats, especially when budgets and communications teams are small. This might sound overwhelming, but it can be used to our advantage. As a communicator, diversifying your skillset will help you become a more well-rounded digital marketer, a requirement in any and all marketing job descriptions, and becoming an expert at some aspects of the job will help you stand out.
For example: Here at WHIP, our #1 specialty is content creation. Our CEO’s background in journalism means we create amazing copy, whether it’s for social media, blog posts, fundraising emails, or web content. But we’re also skilled in other areas, including digital strategy, brand messaging, and media relations. We’re a jack-of-many trades, which means we’re able to support a broad range of client needs.
Things we don’t do that other marketing folks are experts in? Google Ads, TikTok, and web design, to name a few. Because you can’t be good at everything.
2. Adopt a “forever beginner” mindset 🧠
Digital marketing is an ever-changing field. Algorithms change, new platforms emerge, and consumer behavior shifts in the blink of an eye. It’s essential to embrace the changes and stay on top of the latest news in the field. Staying up-to-date with recent trends, technologies, and best practices is not just a bonus; it’s a necessity.
This also rings true as you work with different clients, companies, or industries. Be prepared to adapt and pivot quickly. Strategies that worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.
3. Not every trend is for everybody 🚫
Speaking of trends – you do NOT need to hop on every trend you come across. That’s why we’re not experts in TikTok (and probably never will be). It’s important to know your “lane” — your audience, your goals, and your brand voice — because staying in your “lane” stays true to who you are.
Trends come and go, and it’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon of the latest craze. It’s easy to feel pressured into doing X, Y, or Z “because everyone else is doing it.” You wanna dance on Instagram Reels? Go for it! But don’t feel like you have to — we’re too old for peer pressure nonsense. Whether you imitate what you see or not, you can always take inspiration from your feed and make it unique to you.
Ultimately, not every trend aligns with your brand or audience. Be picky with your trends! Ask yourself – does this make sense for my brand?
4. Metrics are your best friend 🔢
While numbers aren’t everything, you don’t want to ignore them. Tracking metrics is the key to seeing how your strategy is working — and if/where you need to adjust.
Tracking website analytics and social media numbers can feel overwhelming, but once you get into a routine and you know what you’re looking for, it becomes easier. We suggest pulling analytics monthly, but if that’s too much for you, quarterly works, too. This data provides valuable feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Understanding data will help you refine your content and achieve better results.
For example: If your posts on Instagram generally get 100 likes, but you’ve posted 3 videos this year and they all got 150 likes, you need to post more videos! ⏯️
Need help tracking metrics? Our free Social Media Analytics Guide has everything you need.
5. Patience, patience… and more patience ⌚️
Instant gratification is enticing, but effective marketing — especially when it comes to media relations and social media growth — takes time. In a world of likes, comments, and shares it’s easy to focus on the numbers. (And numbers are important — as you learned in #4!)
The numbers don’t = your value: they just give you the information that informs your strategy. Building brand awareness, growing a loyal audience, and driving meaningful conversions demand patience, hard work, and that beginner mindset.
Don’t be discouraged by slow progress – instead, focus on consistent effort and improvement.
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