Incredibull On Social Media

Joanne Ho-Lee is part of the team that curates content and sets the tone of Red Bull Malaysia’s online presence. The gradmalaysia team caught up with her for a quick interview at a fancy café as she walked us through the pathway that led her to arrive at this point in her career.
Sharlyn J

Could you tell us a bit about where you started?

I majored in Digital Media and graduated from Multimedia University (MMU). When I was in university, Facebook wasn’t even in existence yet. There is a vast difference between what we know of social media nowadays and what it was back in the day. Prior to even entering my major, I was already designing websites commercially, so I thought Digital Media would be a natural extension to sharpen my skills.

So where are you currently working right now?

I am engaged by Red Bull Media House to handle the social media accounts for the Malaysian market. We are the forefront of everything digital. Because of the nature of my work, I work independently and have adopted a nomadic career lifestyle. I’m not required to be in the office except when there are meetings to attend. Most of the communication is done via emails and on the occasional video call. It works in my favor that my entire job revolves around social media and my work progress can be tracked digitally through a dashboard. Many of my friends hate me for this! I can travel anywhere in the world at any given time, as long as I am able to get the job done. It allows me the freedom and flexibility to engage in other projects.

What does a social media specialist do?

As a social media specialist, my job isn’t as simple as just handling Facebook pages. I carry the responsibility to grow the channel and to sustain and increase our engagement levels by the day, week and month. The number of shares is very important to us because it translates to the number of people who are actually proud of what we do. We see it as our fans taking a sense of ownership on what Red Bull does.

What are the key skills or attitude required to soar as a social media specialist?

You need to have video editing skills! It’s no longer only about writing well. You need to be able to craft and package your content in an interesting and appealing manner. Traditionally, you could drop a link, add a visual and post it up to get heaps of views, but in today’s digital world, that’s not going to take you anywhere unless you back it up with money. You need to learn to balance your priorities. Another necessary requirement lies in acknowledging your weaknesses and being humble enough to learn on the job. Keeping an open mind to keep learning things is pivotal for any job, not just mine!

What are the best and worst bits about your job?

The best bit is the fact that I get to be on Facebook all the time because I’m constantly ‘researching’. I’m also on Instagram a lot – to follow up on the latest trends and to stay updated with what other brands are doing.The worst bit about my job is that I’m always on Facebook! It’s so easy to get lost in the world of memes and kittens! Therefore it’s very important to stay focused to meet my objectives. After all, it is my job.

To be honest, being on my phone all the time isn’t a good thing either. It’s getting more and more socially unacceptable by the day. However, the urge to track the progress of a recently updated post is commonly too great to ignore. It’s so difficult to detach and disengage myself from work because I get notifications on my phone all the time!

What advice would you give to graduates who are about to step into the working world?

Making connections is key, but that’s just helping you to get the foot in the door. You need to back it up with hard work and genuine effort.  You should go out and meet more people – be sure to make genuine connections. You never know who you would meet that might lead you to better career opportunities.

Don’t limit yourselves to traditional jobs as the world is progressing at a really quick pace with artificial intelligence and technology. You have to update your knowledge consistently to stay relevant and keep up when new roles are created. Take my job for an example – there was no such thing as a social media ‘anything’ when I graduated.