Fairleigh Dickinson University (Madison Campus) - Bachelor of Arts in Business Management
Do you love reading tweets, posting updates to Facebook and responding to what others are saying? A job as a community manager for a company might be the perfect fit for you! Rachel Ross discovered her dream job at Lindsay Phillips, the founding company of SwitchFlops, after realizing that the company was located only 10 minutes from her house. Something inside her told her to apply, and now she works with the company's leaders to represent the brand online. This means interacting with many fans who love the company's sandals, but it also means working weekends, and yes, even holidays. But Rachel will quickly tell you she wouldn't change one thing about her job. The three loves of her life (aside from her job) are her husband, Matt, who she grew up with and who was always her best friend; live concerts; and traveling.
You really have to depend on yourself and feel comfortable with the decisions you are making.
How did you discover your current job?
A friend of mine received a pair of Lindsay Phillips shoes as a gift for her birthday, and we became obsessed with them. We had never seen anything like it! We checked out the brand's website and saw that their corporate offices were located about 10 minutes away from where I lived in Morristown, and they were actually hiring. I immediately sent in an application for any position that was open.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
My typical day is very busy. Part of my job is monitoring the website and all of the orders that come in through our site, so that is how I start my morning. Once all of the orders are audited and sent to the warehouse, I get started on social media. I always send a tweet to our fans in the morning. I check our Facebook and our Twitter accounts to see if our fans have said anything to us and if there is anything we can respond to. I try to come up with interesting things to post on our company’s blog. Before I started at Lindsay Phillips, our blog was mostly used as just a showcase for press we’ve received. Since starting I have tried to make our blog more of a blog and less of a press kit.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job is posting something on our Facebook or Twitter accounts and seeing how excited our fans get over it and all of the great feedback we get from them. Our Facebook has grown about 600 or more fans in only four months since I've started, so it’s rewarding to feel like the ideas that I have put forth have had such a great impact on our community.
The most challenging part of my job is the complete opposite of the most rewarding. In social media it is your job to develop a voice for the company and implement new ideas to gain awareness for your company. The hardest part of my job is putting myself out there and not being received in the way I expect. Lindsay herself is a huge fan of quotes, and she likes to put a quote up on our Facebook profile every Friday. Part of my job is searching for these quotes and finding really inspirational ones. I found a quote one time that everyone loved, and without a second’s hesitation Lindsay said, “Let’s get it up on Facebook as soon as possible!” without really paying much attention to who the author was of this particular quote. After posting it, one of our Facebook fans commented immediately with how disgusted she was that we would quote such a horrible person. The author was Jesse Jackson … now, we aren’t personally huge fans of the guy either, but it wasn’t about who it was, it was about what he was saying. Being that social media is such a new form of marketing, it’s easy to make mistakes. The hardest part is that there are less examples to live by, and you really have to depend on yourself and feel comfortable with the decisions you make. As a social media strategist you have to come to terms with the fact that a lot of your job is going to be trial and error.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
Although you might not think this at first, when you're involved in social media you really sacrifice a lot of your own personal time. Lindsay likes to respond to people on Facebook and Twitter as soon as possible. Over holiday weekends our company likes to hold sales on our website, and we schedule tweets and Facebook posts ahead of time to deploy over the holiday weekend. A lot of times customers have trouble using the coupon codes for the sale, or there is so much traffic on our site and it goes down from time to time. We really have to monitor all social media platforms during these times in case there are any disgruntled customers complaining about us and our site on our Facebook. On Memorial Day weekend I spent about 60 percent of it indoors on a computer making sure everything was running smoothly.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Pay attention to what’s going on around you! I was never a big news reader, and I don’t pay attention to headlines. Since social media is constantly growing, there are more and more news articles about how social media can help companies and what different companies are doing with social media. It’s important to read up on those topics. I recently found something on the Internet that actually proved to be a huge help to my company, so it’s important to leave your comfort zone and participate in things that you wouldn’t necessarily do on an average day outside of the office.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Just being a woman, honestly. The founder of Lindsay Phillips is a 26-year-old woman from Florida who came up with this idea when she was in high school and brought it to fruition in college. It was a struggle for her being so young and having virtually no business experience, but she had a dream, and she was passionate about it, and she never gave up, and now look where she is! The biggest challenge young women face is being told they can’t do something or not being taken seriously by others. It can be really discouraging as a young business professional to be told that you can’t get a job because you need more experience, but at the same time not being able to get more experience because you can’t get a job.
Who are your role models?
It sounds cliché, but my role model is my own mother. She never finished college, but she is the most successful and determined person I have ever met in my entire life. She started her own karate school when she was about my age (23) and kept the business running until my brother and I went to college. She also worked for my uncle’s newspaper and when he sold the company, the buyers laid her off. She was crushed at first, but then decided she would start her own newspaper and put them out of business. That was in 2001, and since then, the old paper is now literally free and rapidly going under. My mom sets goals and does not stop until she achieves them, even when people tell her they’re unrealistic. She is strong and determined, and I can only hope to be half the woman and business woman she is someday.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Treat virtually everyone you meet in the business world with respect, because you never know where you may end up someday! The guy in the mail room at one job could end up being your boss at another job down the road, and you’re going to be happy that you have already established a great relationship with that person.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Never stop trying, and never stop believing in yourself! Social media is a new field, and it can be challenging from time to time, but it’s all about trying to new things. You are going to get discouraged when something does not work out the way you had hoped, but it’s important not to let that get you down, and learn something from everything you’ve done and tried to do!
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Hopefully still here at Lindsay Phillips, to be honest! Our company is so small, I would love to see and help it grow. I want to be the social media guru here in five years!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Opportunity can come in really surprising places, so always keep your eyes open. Put yourself out there every chance you get, but never ever settle for anything less than you think you deserve. If you’re currently holding a job that makes you absolutely miserable, do not be afraid to leave and try new things! Everyone should be doing something they love that is constantly making them happy in new ways and leaves them feeling satisfied at the end of the day. We didn’t sit through 4+ years of college to do something that makes us miserable.