New job – Social Networking PR Manager

My name’s Ayman Fazeli, a 24-year-old journalist who’s been lucky enough to have worked in digital media since the age of 17 – largely in online and offline PR – as well as online marketing, content writing, blogging and Search Engine Optimisation[1], known as SEO. I feel hugely privileged to have experienced roles right across the media spectrum in such a short space of time.

Social neworking Ayman

New ways of connecting with customers

The demand has intensified as more and more businesses are realising the need to be ‘social’, allowing them to interact with their customers like never before, as well as reaching out to new ones, through numerous direct channels such as YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Most of us use social networking as a way of keeping in touch with our friends, but using it as an effective business tool to keep in touch with customers is still a relatively new way of marketing. As more companies look to harness the power of social networking, they realise that it is a full-time job, which requires a new set of skills.

One role, many activities

Using social networks as a way of marketing to customers involves a wide range of routine activities, including writing blogs, producing viral videos, running campaigns and updating social networking sites, writing content, distributing and monitoring press releases and affiliate marketing (trying to produce revenue through our online content). I am also regularly talking to customers, and potential customers, by updating our social sites, connecting with other companies to promote our services in forums such as Digital Point, and making tea when chosen by – you should use this in your office or try it at home!

Background and experience

I’ve always wanted to be a sports writer and my first media role was writing for the football website, still massively popular, and, now defunct, at the age of 17. I’d just got my A-Levels in English, French and Business Studies but wanted to wait a year before going to university and so I began writing for these websites at a company called Fast Web Media in Manchester on two-week’s work experience. At the end of it, I was offered a year-long job until I began university, which was perfect. I then studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, got my 2:1 and NTCJ qualifications in shorthand, media law and news writing, and went back to work for FWM as the football editor for their main client’s website, I moved 45 miles north in June 2009 to become PR Manager at Custard Media.

Skills and attitude

Technology is developing so quickly, so undoubtedly one of the key requirements is the ability to keep your eye on the ball and to constantly adapt to change. This is supplemented by a willingness to learn about new technology and to develop an understanding of how it can help your business and its customers. Qualifications are all well and good and I’d encourage anyone to go to university to learn the theory. But even universities are struggling to keep pace – that’s why textbooks are being dumped – and so practical, on-the-job experience can be just as important. I’d hugely advocate anyone who is interested in social networking as a career option to get as much work experience as possible.

Future ambitions

I manage PR Fire, the Online PR arm of Custard Media. My ambitions match those of our company director to develop PR Fire into a fully-fledged Online PR company in its own right, whilst maxing out revenue streams through affiliate marketing as we’ve only really scratched the surface in that sector so far. One day I’d like to resurrect my original aspirations of being a sports writer whilst keeping one foot in the industry. Currently, I regularly write a blog about football. But for many years to come I’m concentrating on turning PR Fire into one of the UK’s biggest Online PR firms.

Ayman Fazeli

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[1] Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term which summarizes free ways of improving the number of visitors to a web site from search engines rather than search engine marketing (SEM) which you have to pay for. Typically, the higher a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine.