Hi I'm Alex, and in my final year of studying English Language and Applied Linguistics at The University of Reading, I undertook a 14-week Social Media and Digital Marketing internship with Real Time Video in Reading. This internship was a brilliant experience which broadened my awareness for social media marketing in a professional setting, further driving my passion for seeking a career in this industry.
Responsibilities entailed managing Real Time’s social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram, and also writing website content which was relevant and up to date. Specific job roles involved designing creative posts about projects and campaigns carried out by Real Time and their partnering organisations, as well as writing informative but engaging copy to go along these posts. With Real Time being a charity that predominantly works with vulnerable and at-risk groups within society, language played a key role in delivering Real Time’s core values and objectives, particularly as sharing videos and photos of vulnerable individuals was restricted. With safeguarding these individuals being up-most important, I found it positively challenging to utilise language in a way that shared the story of Real Time’s work without jeopardising the safety of these individuals.
Other tasks involved creating and redesigning flyers, such as those distributed within the StoryAp initiative. An aspect of this role which I thoroughly enjoyed was ensuring that language was engaging and written in plain English, in order to ensure that the overall message was successfully executed, of which required in depth proofreading and editing. Utilising the grammatical and copy-writing skills offered by my English degree successfully aided this process, of which I believe this area of expertise was greatly valued by Real Time during my time working with them.
With working remotely being a key aspect of this internship, I found this to be a really enjoyable and stress-free experience, particularly as Clive was always there to email or to call if I had any questions or concerns. With the Coronavirus outbreak starting to take shape about 6 weeks in to my internship, this meant that working remotely become the norm for the duration of my time with Real Time. Although this initially posed a challenge, Real Time continued to work efficiently and ensured I had the resources to continue working. This
equipped me with many valuable skills such as managing my time effectively and planning work around my studies to ensure I was meeting important deadlines. During the Coronavirus crisis, Zoom calls were efficient for carrying out group meetings online with other partners and trustees of the charity which allowed for insightful discussions about projects, as well as collating ideas for new projects. In particular, these group meetings encouraged me to stay productive and confident about the work I was producing, specifically through receiving feedback from a variety of team members about my ideas. As well as this, these Zoom meetings have also been really effective for meeting members of Real Time’s team, whom of which I may not have met or communicated with during my time with the charity.
As well as using Social Media to encourage individuals within the community to get involved with the work Real Time carry out, it was also really enjoyable to get involved myself and produce work which contributed to initiatives such as StoryAp, as well as designing social media ‘how to’ tutorials for other projects and initiatives to support the development of digital technology skills of individuals within the community. StoryAp is an initiative carried out by Real Time and partners abroad which offers the opportunity for individuals under 30 to produce stories about social action related to a variety of themes such as climate change, migration, education and many more. In particular, my contribution to this project involved creating a biographical story based on my friend’s volunteering experience in South East Asia rebuilding elephant sanctuaries and working with children within the community.
With enhancing community awareness of Real Time’s work being of initial priority during my time with them, taking advantage of my connections with the university’s student newspaper was a crucial marketing strategy in order to share the brilliant work Real Time do, as well as enhancing student involvement in numerous projects. Although the social media and marketing side of this internship has provided me with an abundance of practical, transferable skills, I have also learnt lots about the business side of working within a charity. Whilst learning how to boost likes and interactions on Social Media was significant, designing SWOT analyses and contributing to marketing strategies has widened my insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ efforts which go into running a small business, allowing me to gain further knowledge about the business operations which take place on an everyday basis.
I look forward to staying in touch with Real Time and learning about all the wonderful work they continue to do.