Can you imagine writing tweets that garner more than 430,000 engagements per tweet? Emily Drewry does it daily as a social media editor at Forbes. She manages the Forbes Twitter account, generating more than 10 million impressions each day. She grew the following by more than one and a half million in four months and engages with influential followers like Richard Branson and Scooter Braun. She was previously responsible for writing more than five daily Instagram posts, reaching one million followers and more than 10,000 engagements per post, and Snapchat stories.
How did you end up at Forbes? What was your career path?
I moved to NYC to work at a startup just a week after finishing school. My role was a mix of everything: community support, marketing, giveaways, and eventually social media. It was a major learning experience and a fantastic way to transition into the real world. Unfortunately, I was laid off after seven months, which led to an unexpected and stressful job search. I was pretty scared at the time—I had been in New York for such a short time and hadn’t built up much of a savings buffer, so I took job searching very seriously and looked for a role that would be stable and help me grow in my career. I happened to see a listing for an assistant social media editor position open at Forbes via LinkedIn and applied—I heard back from them pretty quickly and went through the interview process within a week or so. I had other offers pending at the time but knew working at Forbes was a great opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
What is a workday as Emily like? Please walk me through a day!
My workday starts as soon as I wake up in the morning—I check Twitter pretty much immediately to make sure nothing happened while I was asleep that I need to take care of ASAP. Once I get into the office, I do a quick check of email for urgent requests and check our Slack channel for new stories from our writers—there are often timely stories that need to be tweeted out right away so I tackle those before I’m even logged into everything else. Once I’m settled in, I open our social media tracking pages, Twitter notifications, and Forbes.com. The morning is usually spent scheduling tweets and reading new stories on our site. Mixed in with the rest of my day is planning for upcoming Twitter chats and other upcoming events—the past months have been busy planning for South By Southwest. Throughout the day, I’m constantly checking Twitter for new trends and making sure our writers are on top of everything that’s going on in the business world.
What are your responsibilities as social media editor at Forbes?
I run our main Twitter account, which means I am responsible for all content that goes out to our almost 12 million followers. We tweet quite frequently (as much as four times per hour) so I am always creating new content to go out—deciding when each post should be shared and how. I also supervise our 26 Twitter subaccounts set up for each section at Forbes. Lastly, I plan and run our live initiatives, which range from #AskForbes chats to Periscope live broadcasts. It’s my responsibility to keep an eye on the trending news of the day and make sure we’re a part of the conversation whenever it’s relevant to our audience.
How did you land your role?
I didn’t have any special connections to Forbes—I simply applied via their LinkedIn posting, which is pretty rare.
What are the most important characteristics someone needs to have to be successful in your role?
Someone in my role needs to be able to think quickly and be able to make careful, calculated decisions. The world of media (Twitter specifically) moves so quickly that the ability to iterate is essential. It’s also important to understand brand voice and balance the goals of your platform—not all companies use social media in the same way (nor should they!).
What are the most important skills for doing your job and how did you develop them?
Patience and flexibility are key—so is having strong editorial skills. Writing tweets can be challenging because of the character restriction, but there’s also much more to it than summarizing a post—you have to know when to tweet to become a part of a conversation, rather than just spewing content and hoping people will engage. A lot of what I’ve learned has been from researching other brands and spending significant time on Twitter, engaging with our analytics and testing different types of copy, content, and more.
Social media is ever-changing. How do you make sure that you are constantly innovating?
We’re constantly testing new ways of sharing our content, whether it’s framing a post in a new way or creating new assets. I’m always reading up on new trends and platform changes to make sure that if an algorithm changes, I know why and how to alter our strategy to keep up.
What is your favorite thing about working at Forbes?
There’s something about working for such a renowned brand that is very inspiring–our name stands for success, and I love being surrounded by the ethos of hard work and innovation in our newsroom.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned at work and how did you learn it?
I’ve learned so much in my time at Forbes—mostly about the various aspects of the business world and how to explain them to people. We cover everything from investing and markets to science and software, so I have to be able to understand the basics of all of those topics. I’ve adapted to be able to quickly take the most important pieces out of a story and turn them into tidbits that drive people to want to know more, even if it’s about a topic they don’t completely understand.
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
I wish I had known how to advocate for myself more than I did. We’re constantly hearing messages about how to work hard and take your career to the next level, but I didn’t know how much I’d have to step out of my comfort zone to make the progress I deserved. You’re only as strong as you let yourself be—knowing your worth internally will help you exude that confidence externally too.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been surrounded by many inspiring professionals in my short career thus far, and all of them have taught me something that’s been an important part of my journey. Maxie McCoy is a constant source of advice—she reminds me every day that your dream job can be built out of hard work and passion, and to listen to your inner goddess to find what your purpose in this world is. Once you find that inner spark, never stop fighting until you get to grow that fire every single day.
What is your career advice for other young professional women?
Uncomplicate your career. Our lives are so complex: There’s work, relationships, hobbies, family, and so much more pulling on us every single day, and many of us try too hard to juggle every role perfectly. I’ve learned that taking each task one by one, each day at a time, and each step with careful thought and planning has been way more successful than trying to leap ahead by doing anything and everything at once. Building your career and your brand is so challenging, and I’m still at the very beginning of it, but I have been so much happier when I focus on growing at the rate that feels best for me, rather than trying to carbon copy someone else’s path.
Image courtesy of Emily Drewry.