It’s happened. You’ve landed your dream job as a social media manager at your favourite company. 👏 You’ve spent all weekend picking out the perfect first day outfit so you can make a killer impression when you walk through the doors, and you’ve rehearsed your introduction in front of the mirror a hundred times. Then what? How do you jump into a well-established role, and seamlessly carry the brand voice moving forward?
As it tends to go with social, things are constantly changing—you have to learn to adapt quickly and go with the flow. The same rules apply when you walk in wanting to kick butt in your new role. At Dash Hudson we chat on the regular with people who are jumping into new positions and learning how to carve out their own point of view—without letting the brand’s loyal audience know that the person behind the posts, has changed.
When Rachel Brann stepped in to cover a maternity leave position at a premier skincare brand last fall, things didn’t go totally as planned. She had to fly solo, and learn the role quickly. But with a strong work ethic and the openness to lean on her peers for support, she was able to make like Beyoncé and run the world…or growing the brand’s Instagram, rather.
We sat down with her to get the inside scoop on what to expect when you jump into a new role, and some tips on how to navigate those first few weeks.
You may also recognize Rachel from her influencer work, most notably for @revolve
1. What sort of handover did you have when you started at your new gig?
There was SO much preparation that had to be done by the manager whose position I was filling previously to my arrival. She had to hire me, brief me, prepare documents and relationships all while continuing with her duties as a manager and a mother. Throw together Mother Nature and our fast-paced environment—and we get the perfect storm of just what it takes to be a woman in this industry. We were planning on having a two-week transition, but she had to unexpectedly go on maternity leave almost immediately, so I came in and hit the ground running. The rest of the team took me under their wing. I started the week before Black Friday, so it was crazy during that time. It was a lot of learning fast, but I like that kind of chaos. It was easier for me in that high-pressure situation to see what the expectations were from everybody, who I can lean on, and what they are expecting to be able to lean on me for.
2. When all of that was going on, was it a challenge to learn what your role was, while still continuing to do what had previously been done?
I think that challenge was trying to meet the expectations without slowing everyone down. Social media is so fast-paced and it’s constantly moving, so you just have to keep going. Our team is about four people, so really just trying not to slow anyone down was the hardest part.
3. Were there any sort of specific outlines or guidelines you were given, or anything that you had to adhere to?
In the first three days I took it upon myself to figure things out by testing. So the first three days everyone was like, “Oh, no we can’t post that,” or “Ohhhh we should change those words,” or “Uhm, maybe tweak that a little bit.” Then I finally started getting into the groove. I think it was the best way—everything I was learning was through trial and error.
4. What sort of advice do you have for someone when that happens, to avoid getting discouraged?
Just not to take it personally. It’s about the brand’s voice. It’s not that it wasn’t a good idea: you just have to remember there are guidelines.
5. Social media managers are kind of like the unseen face of a brand— they are the ones doing the commenting and posting. Did you find that there was a challenge during your takeover to keep the previous SMM’s voice there, but also let yours shine through?
Our previous manager started this account from zero. It is literally (another one of her) babies. Blood, sweat and tears have gone into the success of this account. She has a really good idea of the direction she wants the brand voice to go in. She is so good at putting together the grids, so it was easy for me to see what worked well for the brand. It really helped coming in with Dash Hudson and using the ‘Find Similar’ feature to look for similar content to keep that going. The way I kind of got my voice in was with community outreach—talking to our followers and our audience. I use Dash Hudson’s UGC Discovery to see how other people are talking about the brand and how they’re styling it in their own images. That tool let me reflect that back to share UGC on our feed and repost in our stories. My voice came through in that communication with our audience.
6. What’s the best way someone can go about learning the brand’s voice when stepping into a new position?
When you’re coming into a new brand, definitely get to know every single thing that your company can offer. Know the story, know the products. I got to know every range and the voice behind each.
7. If you had three tips for other people jumping in and taking over a role like you did, what would they be?
Learn your teammates’ roles. I think knowing where I fit in on the team really helped make that transition easy.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but also, to take chances. You don’t want to slow anyone down, and you don’t want to be afraid to get into your own groove with finding the balance.
Find what else you can bring to the table. Work off of what the person previous to you had done—They planted the seeds of seamless success before you but everybody is different and everybody has some sort of unique, hidden talent that they can bring in. You get used to a certain way of doing things and it’s a great opportunity when you have a pair of fresh eyes to come in and show a different way of thinking or doing something.
8. You’ve spent a lot of time working as an influencer, what lessons have you been able to take from that work and apply to this role?
It’s all about relationships. Whether it’s a relationship between you and the photographer, you and the brand, you and the influencer, or you and whoever you’re working with. It’s all about building those relationships while creating and collaborating with other people.
9. You’ve given us so much insight into your life in Social… but we’re curious to know a little more about Rachel behind the scenes. What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Oh my gosh, I have so many. My top 3 would be:
Definitely binging Netflix. Right now, the Umbrella Academy.
For sure ice cream, all the time. Right now favourite flavour is Cookies and cream by Straus
Korean BBQ. I go like once a week.
10. We have to know…what’s your favourite Dash Hudson tool?
It’s definitely the UGC discovery. I always think I find it all on our page on Instagram, but when I go into Dash Hudson, I always find more content that I’ve never seen before!
Stay up to date with Rachel’s personal account by following her @rachelbrann.
Header image: @rachelbrann
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