Last weekend, it was my turn to take over Sawtooth’s Instagram. I watched and paid attention when others had their takeover weekends, but I literally did not know what I was getting into.

At the start of the weekend, I was just posting. I wanted to share my favorite local things and a view into my life, but then I became obsessed with getting the most engagement possible, about increasing likes and followers, which is exactly what we’re supposed to do, but it’s way harder than it looks.

While there is a lot of nuances that Millenials and Gen Z (of which I am neither) know about social media, like where to click to add a caption or what that 100 emoji really means, that I still really don’t, but I do know A LOT about marketing, relevance, and strategy, and this weekend taught me all of these things matter even more on social; (and are entirely possible) l than I thought they did. Here are some insights I took away:

Things that I learned:

  • Develop a strategy for all of your posts. Random posts that don’t fit with your story do not get as much engagement
  • Be relentless. This is a 24/7 job
  • Find unique ways to engage with other accounts. My personal favorite was to tag accounts in my post, but then cover them up with different emoji, or caption. It gets people or brands to look at the post, but then they are even confused why.
  • Being obsessed is absolutely necessary. Paying constant attention to what is working and what isn’t lets you make real-time adjustments to your strategy
  • Allocate lots of time. Taking over any social channel is a huge commitment of time but the learning is invaluable
  • Test and learn. You can easily adjust, delete, try new things. That’s the beauty of social
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by the tactical aspects. It is ok if you don’t know how add all of the bells and whistles
  • Personal Posts are definitely more engaging. People want to see more posts about the story and people behind your brand
  • Get help. I had my daughter around on my weekend. It really helped!

So while I still don’t know everything, I do understand a lot more. And I will be asking a lot more questions and have context when evaluating our strategy, content, metrics.

And I also know that my knowledge of the brands we work with and of the way consumers connect is valuable and important — especially when it comes to social media. So maybe turning our brands over completely to younger community managers just because we do not “get” the mediums is not the answer. I believe anyone who touches marketing for a brand, even the CEO, can benefit immeasurable by getting a little more involved and having a hands-on experience.

This experience will also help you understand how we can help our young community managers implement the strategy we create for our brands through these platforms that are absolutely the future of advertising.

I have a new respect for creating content, engaging with posts, and how much work does go into all of it. We should really understand as leaders, what it takes to be successful.