so, i was lucky enough to grab a couple of minutes with Sedge Beswick, who is the Global Senior Social Media Manager (phew, what a mouthful!) for clothing giants ASOS. as a fellow graduate of Nottingham Trent, i look to Sedge as a sort of inspiration, to show me what i could be if i work hard and persevere in this crazy world of PR & social media. Sedge has recently released an amazing book all about Twitter Lols (you should all buy, it's fab. click here) i managed to ask a few questions about her amazing career so far, and thought i'd share! grab a hot drink and enjoy.
How do you feel University prepared you for your career?
My life plan didn't actually go to plan, I initially wanted to be a sports psychologist but after failing psychology in lower sixth (I got 7%, I kid you not!), I had to have a bit of a rethink. I'd carried on art because I enjoyed it, the initial plan was to drop that subject for upper sixth but psychology had to go. I was your typical teen trying to decide my entire career path, without any actual idea of what I wanted to be/do. I visited a few universities but when I went to Nottingham – I instantly fell in love with the city, it had a real vibe and I immediately knew that I wanted to do something in Nottingham, I just wasn't too sure what it was. I did some digging and Fashion Marketing with Communications seemed quite an open degree. There was a bit of photoshop, editorial, marketing… I felt like it would give me options.
My final year was the best one for me, on my course – you could choose your final project so whether it was a hypothetical magazine because you wanted to be an editor or a PR brief, it was all for the taking. By this point, I'D gained an incredibly strong relationship with the bar, Coco Tang (Those were the days when I could party as hard as I worked!). I was interested in Facebook, Twitter and blogging… but I hadn't really clicked that there was this thing called Social Media and that it could actually be a job! To comply with the brands guidelines of secrecy and mystery, I put on a live event inline with the launch of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. To get tickets, you had to seek content via social media. To all of our surprise, we sold out of tickets in less than 48 hours which was immensely rewarding.
The show went without a glitch, I'D networked like no other, negotiated on props/costumes/models, I'D
marketed the event, came up with a social content plan. When it came to graduating and the real-world, I'D already picked up so many skills that I could put into play on day one.
So yes, that course and Trent come highly recommended from me. My top tip would to be to push yourself to actually do something live or physical, rather than a hypothetical project – the stress and panic of things not going to plan is where I learnt the most.
What extra experiences during Uni made you feel that social media was right for you?
One of the lecturers advised the entire course to set up a blog, mine is pretty awful and I stopped blogging when I
started at ASOS but that was the real piece of advise that stuck with me, and helped me. Thanks Tim! That's where I got to play around in the digi space and learn about how to gain awareness and visits to my site.
Did you intern a lot? How did you find the experiences?
I have actually never interned, ever. It's not something that I actually believe in (I'M sure I'Ll upset a lot of people by saying that!). I worked for Red Bull for 3 years whilst I was at uni (Yep, driving one of the cars!) so I made a lot of contacts and picked up a lot of marketing and experiential skills there. The event that I put on as part of my final project helped me with the business side of things and the team there were incredibly patient. Pretty Polly was one of the sponsors of the show and the day after they offered me a 3 month contract to set up their social media and to manage their blogger relations. In order to work in social and the digi space, I realised I needed to learn a thing or two about mobile… I already had a good relationship with Three after I'D entered a competition for them at uni so they got in touch and said they were in the process of setting up a social team, when my three months at PP was up, I moved down south and started working at Three.
When did it click that social media was more than just a past time?
When I started at Three, we were a team of four. I had the most superb boss who really opened my eyes to the possibilities and the opportunities. At the time, it was as a blogger and as someone working in the social space. I can never put in worlds how eye opening the 18 months at Three were. Now, it really is 247.
What’s a day in the office like?
That completely varies! At ASOS there's no set day, it's chaotic, energetic and really fun. There's a really positive vibe and no idea is a bad idea so you get to think outside the box, a lot!
What recent project are you most proud of?
Probably becoming a published author. I always think of weird and wonderful things but never actually do them. The book was the first thing outside of my day job where I thought about it so much, I had to do something about it. As I started writing it, the thought terrified me… this could actually happen! I have self taught myself throughout, from Podcasts to Twitter conversations, lots of reading to full-blown stalking people for tips and tricks, there were so many hurdles with the book – I didn't know how to publish, I didn't know how to get legal sign off or what success would look like as I had no benchmarks, it was truly out of my comfort zone. I am VERY glad it's done though, I have my life back. Ha!
Other than that, being invited to Number 10 Downing Street to host an inspiration session on social media was up there. That was a real wow moment for me… I obviously got the selfie outside!
I was also just nominated as one of the Top 50 most influential people working in social media by The Drum, that was a massive pat on the back!
Have you ever been fully star struck with any of ASOS’ celebrity collaborations?
To be honest, I don't work too closely with the celebrities that we get in. Everything I do can be done online, so there's been a few fun Hangouts. Highlight being when Azealia Bank's flashed me her nip ;)
What inspired you to write your new book?
The Ultimate 140 Twitter LOLs is mainly aimed at students, it's a lighthearted and quick guide to nailing your approach to Twitter. I lecture at a number of universities and there's often frequent questions, all of which I chat through in my book. I always remember the long lectures, the ones where you're hungover and can only think of going for a McD's and bed so everything external that I do, I try to keep it relatable and fun which is where the idea came from. I then have an incredible friend, Jeevan, who the books dedicated to – without him, I highly doubt I'D have found the time, patience or effort to complete the book so it was my way of giving him something back.
Can you summarise it in 5 words?
Educational with lots of LOLs
What advice would you give someone hoping to emulate your career?
Choose a social channel and keep it really up to date, have a look at what works/what doesn't/what others are doing in that space. For me, that's now Instagram but at the time, it was blogging. Then, go to talks/listen to Ted Talks, chat to people on Twitter… making those relationships and learning from people who are ahead will really help to set you aside from your competitors.
And finally, who do you regularly stalk on social media?
Ooo, I love a good stalk! Ha. People who I learn from are the likes of Bruce Daisley/Pete Cashmere/Justin Cooke. I'M intrigued by Zuckerberg so I'M always looking out for his book recommendations or posts, that man seems to really make the most out of the hours in the day. From a brand perspective, it's the Oreo's, Coca Cola's of this world who are really innovating the social space.
My one to watch is @ThatsWattsup - he's a fantastic writer, he really has his hand on what's happening in the social space and he's so young!
Then, of course I like to stalk a few hotties on Instagram, it makes the day go quicker ;)
hope you enjoyed :) next interview is with a fashion PR professional! until next time xo