11 Social Media Marketing Experts Give Marketing Career Advice

Careers are tricky beasts to navigate. So many of us go through life unsure of what we want to do, of how to find our life’s ‘purpose’. And now that we’re all practically expected to have our career paths mapped out before we’ve even learnt to crawl, it can sometimes be good to take a step back and find inspiration from those who have done it right. We reached out to the people who’ve already brought their A-game in their fields; the experts who’ve found success creating unique content and sharing their wisdom with the world. We went and asked them the ultimate question: What career advice would you have given to your younger self? Their answers didn’t disappoint.

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October 1, 2021
11 Social Media Marketing Experts Give Marketing Career Advice

Interview multiple candidates

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Search for the right experience

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Ask for past work examples & results

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Vet candidates & ask for past references before hiring

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Once you hire them, give them access for all tools & resources for success

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1. Ann Handley

As a best-selling author, social media content marketing keynote speaker, Ann knows a thing or two about success. Cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in social media, Ann is a true pioneer of all things digital marketing.

"For those who want to become better leaders, creating and maintaining a professional blog will help you, because writing about your ideas and thoughts on issues you care about helps evolve them.

Writing is thinking. So if you want to become a thought leader, you need to write. Think of your own blog as self-directed professional development. Even if your audience is just you, your mom, and your dad. I didn’t really lean into my own blog at AnnHandley.com in earnest until I’d already published Content Rules; I wish I’d started it sooner."

2. Ted Rubin

Ted is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Business Advisor, and… Author, Connector, Provocateur. In 2009 he started using and evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationship, hashtag #RonR. Many people in the marketing world know Ted for his enthusiastic, energetic and undeniably personal connection to people. His books: Return on Relationship 2013, How to Look People in the Eye Digitally 2015, The Age of Influence 2017, and Retail Relevancy 2022.

  • "Be careful about looking back too much. Learn from your mistakes, but try not to second guess yourself too much.
  • Surround yourself with friends you trust… A network gives you reach; a community gives you power!
  • Some friends will be for when you just need someone to listen and offer comfort; some will be for when you need advice. Associate with people who will drag you out of your comfort zone.
  • Model yourself after people you admire.
  • To reinvent yourself: (1) Ask why aren’t you happy, why do I want to reinvent? (2) What are you passionate about — can you make it a career? (3) Once you make the decision to do it, go for it! Stop worrying about the perfect plan. Try things and get immediate feedback (which you can do easily these days through social media).
  • My biggest mistake: Giving up too soon and letting too much time go by before trying again.
  • Relationships are like muscle tissue, the more you engage them, the stronger and more valuable they become."

3. Jodie Cook

As an entrepreneur and Managing Director of jcsocialmedia.com, Jodie has established herself as one of the UK’s leading social media experts – delivering comprehensive social media management and training to hundreds of businesses. And if Jodie wasn’t busy enough, she also spends her time as a competitive powerlifter! Check out her site here.

"Persevere! Don’t be disheartened with hearing a ‘no’, keep asking the questions, keep knocking down doors and they will open. 95% of what separates those who make their venture a success from those who don’t is the relentless belief that it will happen, with the actions to match this confidence."

4. Looay Gharib

As our very own Kubix Founder and Director, when Looay heard that we were running another roundup he was keen to get involved! When he’s not on the road meeting clients or keeping the Kubix office in check, Looay spends his days overseeing our marketing and social campaigns and putting his 18 years of agency experience to good use.

"If I could go back to my younger self right now – back to my first real marketing-related job – and give myself some advice, it would be to simply learn as much as you can. Whilst simply saying ‘learn’ might sound clichéd and too obvious, in reality I have found throughout my career that the guys who dominated their fields truly knew their stuff. There were times where I probably rested on my laurels as I thought I had my A-game covered, but in reality I now realise that you need to know your field inside out, everything that’s happening, new tricks, who’s who and why. Constantly ask WHY and learn the reasons behind things: stay interested, and things will always be interesting."

5. Jacob Cass

Jacob is the founder of JUST Creative, his design studio and graphic design blog. He specialises in logo design, branding, web design and offers design services to businesses of all sizes around the world.

"Don’t undervalue your work and seek criticism, not praise. Always keep learning and don’t be a static learner. Do this by reading books, magazines, blogs and practising. Collect & share things. Teach others. Never give up. Keep practising. And again, keep practising."

6. Rick Ramos

Rick Ramos is an influential marketing strategist, author, and Transform Your Marketing founder, a marketing leadership company that provides advisory, fractional marketing teams, and CMO services. Mr. Ramos has helped numerous businesses grow from zero to 9-figures in revenue. The agency offers plans starting at only $1,500 monthly, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.

"I had a lot of early success in my Internet marketing career. I started working 20 years ago and the industry was quite different than it was today. Within 2 years of working in Internet marketing, I was in charge of the marketing department for a top 50 web property. Very quickly, I was asked to write for different blogs and magazines and I always turned them down. I didn’t considering myself a writer and thought it was a waste of time. Oh boy was I wrong!

Writing is like any other life skill, the more you do it, the better you get. Yes, their are going to be some exceptional writers that are “naturals” but anyone can write. You’ll get better over time and it will become easier. My writing isn’t perfect and I always have an editor proofread my work, but writing isn’t rocket science. Don’t be scared about writing and what others will think. Start hitting the publish button today and you’ll quickly start seeing the benefits in your career."

7. Ed Leake

As Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Midas Media, Ed spends his days consulting with big brands to deliver brilliant marketing campaigns. He’s also partial to good coffee and doughnuts.

"This might sound controversial, but when you want to work in the ‘modern industries’ such as digital marketing – scrap schooling. I don’t mean skipping school entirely, do your required legal minimum. Why? I’d question the validity of a degree in marketing, and the financial burden that comes with higher education. Someone who left school in their late teens and hit the ground running, will have a 3-5 year head start, founded in real world experience. I’m being serious, the college material is out of date and you simply can’t learn what you need to succeed from books alone.

Instead, get a job. Get a job doing anything. Don’t burn other people’s money experimenting. Use your own cash to test your own marketing merits. Go buy into a highly reputable online course. Buy several including books on specific subjects of interest. For me, that would be online advertising.

Another caveat being that I wouldn’t trust everything the ‘experts’ tell you, instead test every facet using your own time and resources. After all you don’t need to spend big to understand which elements work and will scale, and which you can ignore (or perhaps more importantly – you don’t find interesting).

Then, knock doors. Speak to local businesses, explain and demonstrate what you’re doing and why. Offer your services free for 14-days, on the agreement [in writing] that if you have a positive impact, they pay you! Get one paying customer. Congratulations, you just formed your first micro-business. Now go get another success.

Start small, get out there, and whatever you do – learn from the coal face – not the library.

8. Ferg Devins

After 30 years in the beverage alcohol and hospitality industry, Ferg gained exposure and experience to communications, public relations, marketing, and all things social media. He is now the Communications Strategist at The Devins Network Inc.

"Watch for, embrace and lead change. Gone are the days of status quo, of the best practice, the usual expected standard. The world is transforming constantly with new ways of doing things, innovations in technology, efficiencies in getting work done. Transformational change will be more dominant in our lives. Those who are flexible and adaptable and in a position to seize opportunity by embracing and leading the change will be successful thought leaders. Step into what the future might hold, rather than clinging to what was."

9. Tor Refsland

Tor has been busy mentoring businesses for the past decade. An expert in all things time management, productivity and goal setting-related, he runs his own SEO company.

"I guess I would have told myself that I should have faith in myself and keep hustling, and everything will be all good in the future.

I have always been very strategic and hard-working, so I was aware that the jobs I had in my younger days weren’t my dream jobs, but I still gave it my all and learned new skills. That, in addition to focusing on building genuine relationships with people, has been a key to my rapid success in my career. And when I decided to leave my six-figure corporate job in one of the biggest companies in Norway to start my own business…Then guess what? I applied the same focus and massive action in my own business. This resulted in me being able to 20x the revenue in my business last year thanks to focusing on business coaching.

Whether it’s in your career or in your business, focus on the activities that will really move the needle regarding getting great results…and then go ALL IN!"

10. Chris Makara

With over 18 years of digital marketing experience, Chris is an Interactive Marketing and Digital Strategist, offering solutions to a wide range of clients through his website.

"There’s so much I’d tell my younger self…But I’m not Doc Brown from Back to the Future. So I’ll stick to some wishful thinking.

I think the biggest thing is that I would reiterate the importance of always learning something new. For me, this has been very instrumental in my professional growth over the years. Over the past 14 years, this has been something I have done consistently (even though it’s not always easy) but has made a huge difference from where I was to where I am.

The other thing I would tell my younger self is to not underestimate the power of making and maintaining connections with others (both personally and professionally) as you’ll never know where your paths might cross as time goes on. These relationships can help your career in ways you would have never imagined."

11. Gemma Went

Gemma has been a big player in the marketing arena for over 15 years. She now works as a Digital Marketing and Online Business Consultant and has her own site here.

"I’d advise younger me to not listen to career advice! The people giving it at that point of my life had no idea of the technological advancements that would afford us opportunities we could only dream of. I’d say believe in yourself, build strong relationships with everyone you work with as relationships drive everything. Learn to respect and expect money. Learn to code. Work hard, keep on learning and jump on every single new social media platform and digital tool as they create so many possibilities. Dream big and believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it."


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