Our SMS professionals serve as ambassadors for our certification program here at NISM. Not only are they knowledgeable about our curriculum, but they also share our passion for social media. Best of all, their stories help shape our organization and the work that we do here.
We are bringing back our series “Meet and Greet,” which introduces you to one of our SMS professionals and shares their story. It is our hope that by sharing these stories, not only will you learn more about others who share your passion for being an SMS professional, but you will also want to connect with them further. We encourage you to “meet” this featured individual by connecting with them through your favorite social media platform or comment at the section below this article.
And with that, we’d like to introduce you to Heather Rule and her story.
Heather, how did you get started working in social media?
It’s funny, because for my personal use, I was very resistant to social media at first. But once I embraced it, I really loved it and all the different platforms. I have a journalism background and was kicking around what my “next step” would be a few years ago. I was fortunate enough to get a job as an in-game social media coordinator with Major League Baseball working with the Minnesota Twins. My role is mostly in-game Twitter updates for the team, and it’s been so much fun to watch this role, social media and the partnership with sports evolve over the past few years.
That sounds like a lot of fun! How did you get interested in that line of work or working with those particular clients?
I’ve always had a love for sports and sports journalism. I’d worked at newspapers, the more traditional form of media. What I found is that social media was just around arm of the journalism and communications work that I enjoyed. I had also grown to love Twitter from the first moment I joined the platform, and I found that using Twitter while watching sports only enhanced the game-watching experience.
It sounds like Twitter is one of your favorite platforms. Now, what prompted you to explore certification as a social media strategist?
I knew Jen Radke from previous networking meetings and was really interested in the work she was doing at NISM. I had no idea that there was so much more to social media than posting some Tweets and finding cool GIFs to share. Jen and Amy Jauman were both very encouraging in regard to having me explore the certification as well. I think what really interested me was wanting to learn more about everything I didn’t know.
We’re so glad you decided to become certified. Did you go through a prep course or complete the self-study program? What did you like most about that? What surprised you?
I went through the prep course. Since I’ve just been grinding for my writing and social media work, I hadn’t really done anything like this course before. I’d also never taken an online course with conference calls and the work I had to complete on my own. It was a bit of a throwback to college, in a way, as I read through the materials, took detailed notes and tried to wrap my head around all this new information. I think what surprised me is I didn’t realize how much goes into social media from a planning standpoint with things like SMART goals and KPIs – both new terms to me.
What advice would you give someone thinking about certification?
I would definitely recommend it for anyone working in social media or looking to learn more about social media. There’s so much there to learn, and the certification course helps you prepare for the exam. It’s also a sense of pride to be certified; you can show others in your field that you’ve done the work and know what you’re talking about when it comes to social media. Oh, and when it comes to preparing and studying, make sure to budget your time wisely so you can complete the coursework and learn the materials.
It’s been great talking with you. Can you tell us something about you that not everyone would know? Something unique about yourself.
Thanks to my dad, I’ve always been a fan and follower of IndyCar racing and the Indianapolis 500. I’ve attended four Indy 500s (including the latest one this past May 2019) and have been to a few other IndyCar tracks across the country. In Minnesota, it’s a common ritual for families to head to the lake or cabin in the summer. But for us, we always ventured to a small town in Wisconsin – Elkhart Lake – to attend race weekends at a four-mile road course called Road America. For those that aren’t racing fans, I will say that seeing the cars on track in person isn’t even comparable to watching on television – it’s so much better. The Indy 500 should also be a bucket-list item for everyone. This might be something that those close to me know, but not everyone; I tend to forget to share about it because not many people are interested in the sport.
I’ve also written six children’s books, all having to do with sports. http://www.heatherrule.com/books.html
Heather, thank you for your willingness to share your story with us. Keep up the excellent work! Connect with Heather through her social media accounts below:
Check out her website: heatherrule.com
Read her sports blog: thoughtsfromthestands.blogspot.com
Follow her on Twitter: @hlrule
Like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/heatherrule86
Follow her on Instagram: instagram.com/hlrule
Connect with her on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/hlrule