Experiential learning transforms students’ lives — not only is it engaging, but it makes learning an active pursuit and puts students at the center of their education. Recently, the Stukent® team interviewed Baelei Jo Christensen, a former digital marketing student at Mountainland Technical College in Lehi, Utah, about her experiences with the Stukent Social Media Simternship™.
Read on to see how the Stukent Social Media Simternship allowed Baelei to apply what she learned in class to real-world social media situations, helping her to gain experience and build confidence as a marketing professional!
Hi Baelei! To get started, tell us about yourself!
My name is Baelei Jo Christensen, and I’m currently a freelance social media manager at Sticky Marketing Co. I love history and philosophy podcasts, all genres of books, efficient organization, and spending time outdoors.
I participated in Stukent’s Social Media Simternship in April of 2023 in my digital marketing course at Mountainland Technical College.
The Social Media Simternship allows students to step into the role of a social media manager. What did you love most about the Simternship?
The Social Media Simternship gave me a chance to experience social media marketing without the pressure of managing a real budget with real consequences. I was able to take a few more risks to understand what works in the world of social media marketing.
I enjoyed working on the Simternship because the storyline was engaging and consistent. I truly felt like I was part of the Buhi team as the social media manager. The buyer personas themselves were also incredibly detailed — I was able to get to know each of them and watch my campaigns thrive because of the connection I had made with them over the course of the simulation. It all felt extremely realistic!
Finally, I loved the opportunity to work with all my peers. There’s something special that happens when you team up and support those around you. I watched so many of my peers rally around me and cheer me on. I also got to participate in cheering on others and supporting them in their successes.
The Social Media Simternship asks students to do various activities, including selecting content, writing copy, scheduling posts, managing budgets, analyzing market research, and more. What were some of your favorite tasks in the simulation?
I loved everything in the simulation because it mimicked real-world work. I especially enjoyed analyzing the market research and building a content strategy around the research. The data provided was real-world research, and it included things like ideal posting times, where each age group was most active, and which platforms had previously worked best for the simulated brand. It was really interesting!
I also loved selecting content and writing copy that aligned with my strategy. I could use the results from the simulation to adjust as needed. In my current position, I use the exact same methods from the simulation to create and apply content strategies for my clients. I conduct research, create content, write copy, schedule posts, and adjust my strategy.
What was one thing you learned about social media that surprised you?
I had no idea just how well Pinterest ads would do! The simulation’s results showed me which posts performed the best in terms of engagement, reach, and following. This made it easier to replicate past successes in the preceding rounds. I started by running ads on every platform to see which one would yield the best results for each buyer persona. I had some assumptions, but I wanted to test them.
I quickly learned that Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok were great places to run paid ads. Luckily, I had studied the market research given to me beforehand, and I knew to expect Pinterest and TikTok to perform very well as the simulation continued.
What challenges did you face in the Simternship, and how did they help you grow?
The first three rounds of the simulation focused on organic posts. At first, I felt overwhelmed by the market research and the task to schedule posts on all social media platforms. The Simternship asked me to post multiple times per day on different platforms. (What? How?)
To accomplish this task, I took the data bit by bit and created a detailed content strategy that included which platforms to focus on, which platforms each buyer persona preferred, and which days and times were best for each post.
I learned that despite how I ranked, there were many opportunities to continue improving my content strategy. I watched others find success on YouTube or in slight changes they made in their paid ads, both things I could’ve implemented to improve my strategy. Learning never stops!
Did you make any missteps? How did you recover?
At the beginning of round seven, I was given a tip from my instructor to focus on influencers. With my budget of $5,000, I decided to focus on testing micro-influencers so I could have more data. I tested different influencers and found which ones worked best for the buyer personas I was targeting.
In round eight, I tried using a mega influencer and quickly learned that strategy didn’t work for me. So, in the next round, I went back to micro-influencers and personally found much more success that way. That wasn’t necessarily the case for all my classmates, though.
What tips would you give students working through the Stukent Social Media Simternship?
- Creating processes and putting in the hard work at the start of the simulation will yield the best results.
- Include people in your creative content. Seriously, posting creative with people in it always wins!
- Micro-influencers gave me the best results but were not as effective as paid ads.
- Always update your creative and copy. Don’t exhaust your audience with tired content!
- I may have gone overboard posting memes! I experimented with them but unfortunately didn’t see much growth.
What do you do now, and how has the Stukent Social Media Simternship helped your career?
I now work as a social media manager at a local company in Utah and as a freelance social media manager. I have applied the skills I gained in the Social Media Simternship to all aspects of my current job, specifically with creating content strategies, conducting market research, and targeting detailed buyer personas. Huge thanks to the Stukent team for their work on the simulation and for being easy to contact during the entire process if we ran into any problems.
I recommend Stukent’s Social Media Simternship to anyone looking for hands-on experience in social media marketing.
At Stukent, we’re here to help educators help students help the world. To learn more about our first-in-the-world Simternships and courseware, or to get FREE instructor access to our products, visit our website.