Recently the social media team members at Fourge Social became the first agency in Iowa to achieve SMS certification through the National Institute for Social Media. While there are many reasons for an agency to obtain certification and training for their team members, the end result is often the success and achievements of the people behind the agency doors. Today we have the privilege to get to know a little more about the certified professionals behind the success of Fourge Social.
Director of Social Media & Brand Communication
Christine, tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been working in the social media industry? I began working in social media when I was a Marketing Director out of college in 2009 at a Chicago law firm. Social media was just starting to make its way into business marketing plans. Since then, I’ve had a passion for social media. I did freelance social media marketing for various clients throughout the years before being asked to be a part of Fourge Social. Fourge Social is owned by Kendall Hunt Publishing Company and was founded by Chad Chandlee, our President. While searching for an internal social media manager for Kendall Hunt, Chad recognized that other companies may also be in the same position he was in; there was a need for a social media manager, but not necessarily a full-time need. That was the point where we put together Fourge Social.
It is very exciting to hear that you were there at the beginning of Fourge Social. What has been the best part of building this organization? For me it has been to be a part of a growing team. Every person who is a part of Fourge Social has contributed their own ideas and talents to our company. Each day I come into the office and learn something new from one of our team members. It is so exciting to be in an industry that is constantly evolving and working with people who are driven by results for their clients.
What is your favorite social media tool or platform and why? Personally, I love Instagram for its inspirational imagery and (somewhat) simplistic use as a platform. On the business side, I gravitate towards Facebook. While it is constantly changing, it continues to be a welcome challenge to learn and grow with this platform. We can do so much for our clients on Facebook and that is where we’ve seen the most success for businesses thus far.
What made you decide to go through the SMS certification process with your team? Continued training and education is a large aspect to our company. In an industry that changes by the minute, we have to equip our team with the best resources and training out there. When we found out about the SMS certification it came at the perfect time when we were really integrating more strategy into our process. Plus, we had the opportunity to work with Amy Jauman as an instructor, who is also a Kendall Hunt Publishing author. It was a great fit for everyone.
How has having a team of certified social media strategist helped Fourge be perceived as a credible agency? Internally, I have seen our team really challenge themselves to utilize what we learned in the course in their daily work for clients. They have begun to truly recognize themselves as experts in the field. Outside of our company, it has certainly helped to prove that we are more than people who “work on Facebook all day” as some who do not understand what we do will say. We go beyond a post and take time to educate ourselves, as in any profession, to be the best at what we do.
What should future employees know about working with you and your team at Fourge? When you become a part of the Fourge Team, you really become an intricate part in what we do. Everyone is expected and welcomes, the opportunity to play a role in growing and shaping the future of Fourge Social. You can be certain that you will be surrounded by creativity, passion, and people who are driven by doing their best to give clients the results we promise.
Social Media Account Manager
Morgan, tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been working in the social media industry? I have been working at Fourge Social for a little over a year, but have completed social media internships for multiple companies during my time in college at St. Ambrose University!
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? I love the pace of this job. You have to keep up-to-date with current events and always have to be on your toes so you don’t miss a social media opportunity.
What was your first reaction to the idea of going through the SMS certification with your team? I was excited and nervous! I had graduated from college 9 months before beginning the course, so I was starting to fall out of the routine of studying and completing homework. But out instructor reassured us to reach out if we had any questions or needed help!
What surprised you most about the material or exam? The way the material was broken down in the textbook was great. I loved how each “class” had a specific topic that we would be reading about and discussing, and each course built off the previous information we learned. When taking the exam, I could almost pinpoint which section that answer could be found in in the textbook.
How has the certification helped you in your day to day role? The material in this course helps me every single day! From rules and laws I learned in the Government and Compliance section, to using my Strategic Planning skills when writing for social media accounts, having this certification is proof that at Fourge Social, we’re experts!
Social Media Account Manager
Madison, tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been working in the social media industry? I am a 2013 December graduate of Simpson College where I studied Marketing Communications and Music. Upon graduation there were very few jobs that focused solely on social media, but I landed one where social media was almost 100% of my job. I started my career at Mudd Advertising and have been working in social media for nearly 5 years now. I have been with Fourge Social since we were founded, over two years.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? I love the variety and pace of work that social media provides. It never sleeps, which can sometimes be a challenge, but it also allows for planning ahead and flexibility too. Working in an agency environment is especially exciting as it provides the opportunity to hop back and forth between clients and be exposed to so many different industries.
What was your first reaction to the idea of going through the SMS certification with your team? The learning opportunity and accreditation that this course provided was exciting. In college, there are no courses, at least not while I was there, that focused specifically on social media, so this was a unique opportunity for continued education in our field. As a young agency, it also allowed us to show or expertise in a more concrete way through the certification completion.
What surprised you most about the material or exam? The material on the exam encompassed more than just social media. The material that proved most challenging took me back to media law and real-world situations on how that needs to be applied. This is one thing that may not always be at the forefront when creating content and posting for clients, but it is extremely important as the consequences could be severe.
How has the certification helped you in your day to day role? Going through the course, our team was able to have a renewed focus on the importance of branding and creating overall campaigns that drove our content strategies. This has made my work more focused in its direction and more efficient overall.
Social Media Account Manager
Brigitte, tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been working in the social media industry? Hi! My name is Brigitte, and I’m totally the chick who listens to gansta rap on the way to the farmer’s market from yoga. My passion for creativity seeps out into my hair color, typically leaving me with a lot of “bright” ideas. I am a “social” (media) butterfly and thrive off of meeting new people, having new experiences and stepping outside of my comfort zone. I have been working in the social media industry for 5 years, actively as a full-time employee for Fourge Social for the past 1.5 years.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? I enjoy using my creative expertise to compliment client’s business needs and propel them beyond the post, creating new and exciting expectations for the traditional views of social media marketing.
What was your first reaction to the idea of going through the SMS certification with your team? Omg, I have to study like a student again.
What surprised you most about the material or exam? There were a lot of examples on the exam that I felt was not covered in the material, so I really had to think outside the box and put myself in a situation I have not been in before, which made for great problem solving.
How has the certification helped you in your day to day role? I have thrived off of executing SMART goals with clients each month, and really analyzing them through reporting to see where we have succeeded, or brainstorm new goals to help achieve success in more realistic ways.
Do you have questions for the Fourge Social team? Ask them below or find them online.