Dani Martinson is the social media editor at one of my favorite magazines, StyleWatch. Dani creates social media content for StyleWatch at The Outfit. She previously worked at XO Group, Condé Nast, and Shape. Learn her career advice and what it’s like to run social media for a popular publication.
Dani Martinson, Social Media Editor at StyleWatch
Did you always know that you wanted to work in journalism?
Yes, aside from my childhood when I thought I had a serious future as a singer. (Ha!) My interest in journalism started when I joined the yearbook staff in high school. I loved having the opportunity to capture memories and write profile pieces on people who I might not have gotten to know otherwise.
How did you land your role? What was the hiring process like?
It was a little bit of luck! My friend was working at People and heard that StyleWatch was looking to hire. I was actually pretty close to taking a completely different position at another company, so I had to speed up the interview process a bit. It was kind of stressful, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of the team at StyleWatch!
What are your responsibilities as social media editor at StyleWatch and The Outfit?
I work very closely with our executive digital editor, Elana Fishman, to socialize new content as soon as its published on The Outfit. (The Outfit is StyleWatch’s companion site with content from our editors and blogger contributors). We’re actively posting on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. This is probably the most important part of my job, but it’s really just a part of the role.
I also spend a lot of time communicating with our marketing team about upcoming sponsored posts. They work with advertisers to identify featured products, then I step in to plan out the best way to display everything for Instagram. The key is to make it seem organic for us, clear to the reader — but also on brand for the advertiser.
I’ll also help out with writing a post every now and then. We have a pretty small digital team, so it’s kind of an all-hands-on-deck role!
What is a day as Dani like? Please walk me though a day!
After pressing the snooze button a few times, I wake up around 7 a.m. and do a quick skim of social media. Usually, I have our first social posts scheduled ahead of time, but sometimes I’ll hop online to write a few additional tweets before heading into the office. On my way to work, I’m often scrolling Instagram to search for our first #realoutfitgram of the day. We’ve created our own branded hashtag to get users to share their #OOTD photos, and then we select our favorites to feature on The Outfit’s account.
Once I get into the office, I start the day by tackling my inbox and checking on how stories have performed over the past 24-hours. I’m constantly keeping an eye on the editorial calendar for new stories to be published. As soon as the content is posted, I work on socializing for Facebook and Twitter. In between stories, I’m pinning the latest on Pinterest and checking Instagram for regram options. The rest of my day consists of answering more emails and working with our marketing team for sponsored posts.
With social media, the work doesn’t always stop when I leave the office. I’m always checking various platforms for the latest fashion and beauty trends. And my days come full circle when I scroll through Instagram for a late-night #realoutfitgram to share.
You previously worked at XO Group, Condé Nast, and Shape. What were your roles at those organizations?
I knew that I wanted actual magazine experience in New York before I graduated from the University of Missouri, so I actually pushed back my graduation date to take a couple of fall internships with Condé Nast during my senior year. I worked in the web department at Glamour for two days of the week and with the web production team for Details on the remaining three days. I learned so much during those four months, but I still had to return for one more semester of school.
After graduation, I started searching for jobs in New York. It wasn’t easy to compete for interviews with people who actually lived in the city, so I decided to look at more internship opportunities. That’s what led me to Shape, where I landed another web internship. It was my golden ticket to move to NYC! And within just a few months of working at Shape, I was asked to return to Details as a freelancer while they grew their digital team. It was one step closer to a full-time job.
In less than a year, my boss from Shape reached out to let me know that she had changed jobs and was looking to hire. She had moved to an audience development role at XO Group. This was just as brands were figuring out how to use social. So, I took a dive into the role as community coordinator for The Nest. And for the next year I worked on monitoring their message boards and social media presence.
You made the switch from editorial to social media and marketing. How did you make that switch?
It definitely wasn’t a planned switch, but I truly think everything happens for a reason! After a year at XO Group, I returned to a web editorial position with Fit Pregnancy. They were actually in the midst of amping up their digital presence, so I was able to put my social experience to use and help increase their reach. Eventually, this led to a natural transition into a role as social media editor.
What is your favorite thing about working in social media?
I think one of the most rewarding things about working in social media is the direct interaction with your audience. You have the unique opportunity to see firsthand what type of content is most valuable to our readers — and what is not! This is very useful information in our media-saturated world, and it should definitely be considered when the edit team is planning for future stories.
I also really like the sense of community on social media — especially amongst the bloggers on Instagram. I’m constantly scrolling through to find photos for The Outfit, and I love to see all of the positive comments and support! Those girls have turned digital “friends” into real-life BFFs.
What has been your proudest moment from your career so far?
It’s not really a specific moment, but I love seeing our numbers of followers increase! It means that I’m doing my job well. Since I started in May, we’ve more than quadrupled the number of Instagram followers on The Outfit. And our Facebook audience has grown by nearly ten times the number of likes since I started! Although, I can’t take full credit for this accomplishment, because it clearly relies on the quality content that our editors are producing. (YAY, team!)
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
I think it’s important to be open minded. You might not land that dream job right away, but it doesn’t mean that each step along the way isn’t going to teach you a few important lessons. Everyone has to start somewhere.
I also think you should keep your options open. Some opportunities might come along that you hadn’t really thought about, but maybe it’s something worth considering! I didn’t go to school to become a social media editor, but it fell into my lap and it’s been such a fun job!
What is your career advice for other young professional women?
Make connections. And don’t be afraid to do a little LinkedIn creeping to find someone who has a job that seems interesting to you. I’m sure most of them were in your shoes at one point. Send them a message and see if they have time for a quick chat — or coffee if you’re able to meet in person.
And keep in touch with other people on your career path. You never know when they might be able to help with a potential job opportunity! I feel so grateful to the many people who have helped me along the way.
Thanks, Dani! P.S. Don’t forget to buy this month’s StyleWatch.