From Friendster to HootSuite: Elaiza’s Path to Social Success

Elaiza Datar

Elaiza attending the Social Media Awards

One of the best ways to learn how to further your experience in social media is through others, and while my recent Student Spotlights shed light on how university students are utilizing social media in their education, it’s also great to hear from other social media professionals on how they developed passion and experience in the digital space. With that said, I am please to introduce Elaiza Datar, a Community Coordinator at HootSuite. Hear how she got into social media, and what advice she has for students of social media:

How did you get into social media?

I joined my first social network site, Friendster, when I was 12 years old. Then I joined MySpace, next was hi5, and by the time I was 16 I faked my age to join Facebook because that’s what all the older kids were on. Social networks have come a long way in such a short period of time. In a way, I’ve grown up with social media! And especially having lived and traveled all over the world, social media has become crucial in the distant relationships I’ve built and maintained throughout the years.

As a university student I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do after graduation. I knew I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about but I was passionate about so many things and unsure of how to make a living off them. One day I stumbled on a TedTalk by Gary Vaynerchuk and felt my eyes open to the possibilities of social media. Since then I knew that social media would be the vehicle through which I build my career and pursue my passions.

How did you come to work for HootSuite?

I was attending one of DaveO’s (VP of Community) HootUps at Capilano University, #HootUpTREC, with a few of my friends. DaveO approached our group at the end of the talk and I told him that I was applying for a position at HootSuite and its been history since. At our recent team BBQ he said it was my swag and ‘low maintenance’ vibe that gave him a hunch that it would be a good fit. And looking at his track record, DaveO’s hunches have gotten him pretty far in life.

I was brought on to help coordinate the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program which has been such a fruitful experience. We just graduated our first batch of talent and are currently recruiting students from new regions and new Universities around the world!

Working for a company with passionate and hardworking individuals makes coming to a 9-5 job fun and extremely rewarding. Working with a start-up company means there’s a lot of growth happening and a lot of freedom for you to exercise creativity and materialize your ideas. These feelings translate directly into our Campus Ambassador Program.

Some of the HootSuite Team

Some of the HootSuite Team

Why is having an online presence important to you?

I was fortunate enough to have lived and grown up around the world. Doing so made me realize the importance of social networks in maintaining, and in some cases rediscovering, the relationships I had built and communities I interacted with throughout the different chapters of my life. Thanks to the Internet, no matter what corner of the planet I’m on, I will never be homeless or hostless. Whether via posting a status on my facebook page to any of my international friends who may be in the area, or logging onto couchsurfer.com and getting in touch with generous strangers.

But more than that, having an online presence has been a gateway to endless opportunities. Having an online presence means being a part of an online and offline community that one may not have encountered otherwise. The internet has made it possible for anyone to be who they want and feel like a part of something bigger than our day-to-day bubble. Our individual ability to create meaningful impact in distant communities or pursue personal life changes is incredibly empowering.

What advice do you have for students learning to use social media for personal or professional brands?

The best thing you can do is find things you’re passionate about – whether it’s food, snowboarding, not-for-profits, or even socks! Then find local businesses or organizations related to your passion. The next step is the hardest, but the most crucial: approach the business or organization and volunteer your social media services.

You will have a million and one reasons why you shouldn’t. Maybe you think you don’t know enough about social media to represent a brand? My SEO instructor at school knew nothing about SEO when he got hired for his first SEO gig but he turned to Matt Cutts and Google. Flashforward a few years and now he’s running his own successful online advertising company. Lesson: Google is your best friend, use it wisely.

If your passion is social media, the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program is a great in. You learn how to engage with communities online (international Campus Ambassadors and HootSuite staff) and offline (your campus community), as well as the technical aspects of social media.

As long as you’re giving your social media services to something you’re passionate about you will enjoy what you’re doing and feel inspired to learn as much as you can, and to do the best that you can. Having this hands-on experience will not only teach you about the industry, but it will give you the experience to take your social media career to the next level (aka a paid job).

There are lots of other ways to learn social media. Take on an internship, read as many articles as you can, find a mentor, take a course, attend networking events, etc. But whatever you do: stay curious and stay hungry. Social media is a continuously evolving game and to stay on top of it, you need to adapt with it!

Elaiza DatarElaiza Datar @ElaizaDatar

Elaiza is a Community Coordinator for the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in Political Science and from SFU with a Digital Communications Certificate. When she’s not cultivating communities online or engaging them offline, she’s climbing up rocks, downhill biking, hiking, and soaking up the great outdoors. More Elaiza at http://about.me/elaiza_datar

SMFScollage

The New & Improved SocialMediaForStudents.com!

I have finally gotten to an item that has been on my mental to-do list for over a year now – revive SocialMediaForStudents.com!

Check!Having originally created this site for my senior honors thesis, I did what I promised I wouldn’t and barely touched it after I completed my thesis presentation (in which I got an A+)! I could list excuses for not having posted in over a year, but I’m more excited about announcing the following:

1. SMFS Got a Face-Lift!

I thought it only appropriate that the re-introduction of SMFS came complete with a new look, updated info, and new, exciting ideas for content. Some of the changes include:

2. New FAQs Blog Series

When I asked myself what types of content I want to start posting, I came up with the idea of starting a FAQs blog series. In other words, I’ll answer a FAQ about social media or online marketing. While I have started a list of what I think are frequently asked questions about social media, I want to hear what questions are on your mind. Post them in the comments below, and I’ll add them to the list!

Now, as I once wrote, too long ago…join me in learning social media one lesson at a time!

Lesson 2: Facebook Etiquette

As my senior year begins at Colorado State University, it is more evident than ever that everyone is gearing up for the all-important, yet alarmingly nerve-racking, job search. The next few months are filled with resume workshops, mock interviews, and networking events – but nobody is paying any attention to their online persona.

It should be stressed – your online persona a.k.a. social media must be polished just as much when embarking on a job search! Companies are no longer oblivious to the amount of information they can find out about a person on Facebook – and they know just about every college student has a Facebook page. What does this mean? Your future employer is checking you out online – looking at your pictures, reading comments, etc. – and if you have a whole album of your drinking photos or are chatting it up on your wall about how you played hooky last Friday, you better bet you won’t get that callback!

Wondering what to do now? Check out this great article, “Essential Social Media Etiquette for College Students: Six Tips.” This should get you started on revamping your Facebook page into something that represents you positively and professionally.

Do you have any more great Facebook tips you’d like to share?