The Rise of Millennials – Q&A with Social Media Director

With Millennials getting a pretty hard time in the press of late, I’m doing a series celebrating how AWESOME both millennials, and The Internet, can be.  TAKE THAT, SIMON SINEK! So far, I have spoken with author Laura Jane WIlliams, beauty blogger Talonted Lex, Josie, a disabled writer and story-teller who relies on the internet to stay connected to the world and awesome mummy blogger Susie Verrill.

This time,  I am focusing on someone who works behind the internet curtain. A Social Media Director (and coincidentally one my of bestest pals) Teague Emery. He is a man who knows more about ‘social’ success and how to create it, than anyone I’ve ever encountered!

I’ve worked with Teague since he was 19 years old – we were both basically kids setting up social media pages and doing digital marketing and publicity for massive brands and massive films. It was a super fun / terrifying baptism of fire.  He worked in social before working in social became a ‘thing’ and is now one of the most knowledgeable people in the field – I have watched him do media first after media first and it’s the definition of #inspo. The fact he’s not not yet 30, but is wildly successful, makes it even more pleasing and extraordinary that he is also probably the kindest man I know. I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Teague, and I am so excited to speak to him for this series and get his take on the Millennial World.

First – here’s a joyful pic of us enjoying millennial dream app, Snapchat.

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What’s your current role – and what does it entail (the highlights reel version!)

I’m Director of Social Media at an agency call Think Jam, we provide marketing strategy and campaigns for entertainment brands, mostly film, TV, theatre, publishing and gaming. I lead strategy and innovation in social media across the company and all of our clients.

Essentially, my job is to find solutions for clients when releasing a film or product, ensuring people who will be interested in the release are aware and engaged via social media.

Could you give me a little history on how you got your first job and what was it?

My first (real) job was at an agency in Bristol called Hyperlaunch. I was an unpaid intern working in social media… this was 9 years ago now so the landscape of social media and job was very different. I used to add “friends” for bands on MySpace, and work with fan clubs and communities via forums (remember those?).

I had no real experience, but was a moderator of a reasonably big forum for a band called Lacuna Coil in my free time, and that knowledge of online communities was enough to get me the internship. In the following years the use of, and potential on social media grew and grew, so I moved to London to start building a social media offering for Think Jam (thanks to some lovely recommendations from some friends (ME!!!)), where I am currently.

Had you always wanted to work in digital?

I have no idea what I wanted to do… I still don’t. I always wanted to work in entertainment, I LOVE movies and TV and thought that i’d enjoy anything in that space. When I was at school thinking about what i’d be when I grow up social media wasn’t even a thing, let alone a career.

I know you didn’t go to university – what motivated that decision and how do you feel about it now?

There were a lot of factors that contributed to this decision… largely things that were happening outside of school / education. It sounds tenuous but bare with me… When I was 11, my Dad was in an extremely serious car accident, it led to him being in a coma for a long time and ultimately being severely brain damaged and unable to move. This might seem completely unrelated, but it went on for my entire school life, it wasn’t until I was 16 that he actually passed away.

Following that I went to college and tried to deal with everything that had happened, as well as trying to figure out all of the issues and confusion any 16/17 year old has. In the end, I just quit… it was just a few months before my final A level exams, instead of sit them, I flew to America to stay with friends and see my favourite bands and just… not be there anymore.

When I came back I had no interest in sitting those exams, no interest in going anywhere but forward… and so I found an internship that I enjoyed and threw everything I had at it. I finally had a focus and purpose and really didn’t feel a need to go to university in order to achieve it, everything I’d experienced had already taught me a lot about dealing with people and challenging situations and that was enough to get started.

There isn’t a moment that i’ve regretted not going, it’s never held me back… I get it if you want to be a doctor or a biologist or whatever… But if you want to work in a creative industry..? I learned far more working as an intern for a year than I ever could have at university.

That’s a really unique perspective – I think it really contributes to who you are, and your amazing work ethic today – and your incredible success.

I find your personal relationship with social really interesting, because you actually post quite rarely and it’s not a big part of your life! Is that a conscious decision?

That’s funny because I spend every day on social media… i’m always there staying up to date with my friends, checking my client’s content and just generally lurking. I think it’s more to do with my personality… i’ve always been more of a listener and find it weird talking about myself (this blog has been a real test!), I think that’s true of my social profiles too *creepy*.

Ahhh – that’s true, you are an AMAZING listener. SO, do you think your job makes you even more aware of how you present yourself online?

To an extent… I’m aware of how dangerous over-sharing can be and do worry about people growing up today, if you wouldn’t want your mum to see it, don’t post it!

Also, working in social media there’s a constant fear that you’ll forget you logged into a client’s account and accidentally post a selfie to a 4 million people which would be bad.

HA!! The Fear! What are the best and most challenging parts of your job?

Nowadays more than anything it’s managing my time. My team is bigger than ever and it’s my responsibility to ensure that we continue to do brilliant work and the team feel they have the support and leadership they need. Add on client needs, internal needs, business needs and it can become difficult to balance.

As you gain more experience you become confident approaching any challenge which is such a great feeling, the problem is there are so many more challenges to approach!

What advice would you give someone looking into a career in social / digital?

The same advice I’d give to anyone in any career – be a nice person to work with. Be approachable, be positive, be solutions based, approach challenges with a smile. No matter how clever and brilliant you are, people will remember how you made them feel above all else.

Be clever and brilliant, but be it nicely.

This is the best bloody advice ever, and I hope EVERYONE follows it!! If you were giving someone advice on how to raise their social profile, what would it be?

Define who your audience is and what they’re into. Once you have an audience it’s much easier to figure out what you should be doing to engage them… so many people like so many things, so many people follow so many things. Where do you fit amongst it all and why would they follow you?

Thank you so much for your time Teague! 

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