By Neil Oliveira

Neil Oliveira at his desk during work experience

February is often a month of low productivity. The days are a little longer but it’s still cold and many of us are still in hibernation mode. Yet, this is not the case for me! I decided it was time to get off my backside and gain some experience for myself in the working world. Now, I know what you might be thinking. ‘This is simply an opportunity for you to brag about your work.’ But I’d rather focus on helping you to maximise yours instead. Because learning from other people’s experiences is the key to wisdom and who doesn’t want more wisdom? It’s not only for older people you know.

Day 1 – Introduction Day

On the first day, I arrived at Bowman house with no idea of what to expect – aside from a huge office full of workers and me feeling small and insignificant.
I arrived two hours early thanks to my bus service, and introduced myself to Yola O’Hara, owner and manager of Visually Explained. Not large and impersonal at all, her office is small and comfortable. I like it better this way because you get more opportunities to ask questions and more work gets done.

Day 2 Data entry day

Visually Explained is a social media for business, outsourcing and training consultancy.
After Yola set me up with all the social media ins and outs, she presented me with a daunting task of growing connections for clients with data entries. This involved visiting thousands of websites from thousands of connections for HR and cyber security clients, based on advertising results and following each company. Now the best way to do this without losing your sanity is to listen to music or you may turn into a zombie.

Day 3 – Creating my own LinkedIn profile and KPIs Analytics day

Things got more exciting as I was able to create my own LinkedIn and Twitter profile and start building my own business empire.
I also got to have some fun creating Instagram stories for VE’s clients. These stories taught me how to engage followers with the principle of consistency.
Social media seemed simple to me at first. Yet, as I soon discovered, there are many underlying complexities when it comes to the business side of things. For example, graphs and stats that measure how to engage your followers, the exact number of clicks and the best ranked posts.
You might have to use three different interfaces to find this data – that would be too confusing for words. Yet, VE uses a dashboard tool that brings Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram data onto one screen and even allows referencing it against website stats from Google Analytics. Scheduling tools such as Tweet Deck are useful to see how your social media performs too. Lifesaver!

Day 4 – Networking and client meeting day

Thursday. The most engaging day for me because I got a chance to network with a wide variety of business owners at Swindon Business Village. Thanks to Yola for inviting me. We started too early for my liking but missing out on an extra hour of sleep was worth it. I had the opportunity to talk to new people and create potential opportunities for my future work experiences.

I made every effort to put myself out there, speaking my intentions and creating an impression. I listened and took part in the Mastermind session and was able to give some valuable advice. As Ben Franklin said ‘An investment in yourself pays the best interest’.

I also learned about the client meeting process and how essential it is to communicate and plan with clients.

Day 5 – Blog writing

On my last day, I had a chance to practice my writing skills by writing this blog.
I am interested in writing sales and marketing articles in the future, so this was a chance for me give it a go.
Swindon-based writer, blog and business owner, Angela Atkinson – aka Born again Swindonian – checked and edited it for publication on VE’s website

Overall the working experience with VE has taught me a lot about where I want to go and how to professionally network with like-minded individuals. I now have a professional LinkedIn and Twitter account. Running social media for business is unavoidable these days. But I can now see why business people would find it difficult. It can be tedious at times – and it’s time consuming.
Therefore I completely understand why companies like VE exist. So if you’re getting frustrated with your business social media, be sure to contact VE for more information on how they can help you.