Auksė Meškinytė, Digital Engagement Officer at the MS Society, delves into the fast-paced nature of digital engagement and shares her insights on the importance of remaining purposeful and balancing numbers with feedback. Read on to find out more.
Why did you choose to pursue a role in digital engagement? For example, has it always been your passion or was it pure happenstance?
My start was in fundraising, which was a great experience but after a while, I decided to try something different. I was determined to find a digital role that required creativity as well as practical skills. I was also interested in content creation and I loved writing, so digital engagement was a great fit for me.
What personal skills or attributes do you think are most important in the digital engagement sphere? Why these skills/attributes in particular?
I think being able to combine creativity and the practical side of digital engagement is the most important skill. It’s all about finding the balance between the two by coming up with ideas to showcase your team’s skills (and we, digital engagement folks, are very skilled!)
It’s also important to be agile. The fast-paced nature of digital engagement, the need to keep up and think on the spot can wear you out.
Being curious is a must too. There are constant changes in digital engagement, new features and tools to try, so you have to be willing to learn and not be stuck in your ways.
What sort of challenges do you face in your role? Is there a particular challenge that you experienced in the past that stood out?
Working in digital engagement means you have a constant stream of requests to deal with, issues that need to be solved, all whilst keeping up with the ever-evolving digital world. It can be hard to manage my priorities, but it’s crucial.
It can be challenging to stand my ground and explain why certain things won’t work for our audience. That’s why you need a solid knowledge of our audience as it helps to back up your decisions.
Another challenge is to remain purposeful and not become obsessive over numbers. You have to keep your audience at the core of everything you do and have clear goals of what you want your content to achieve.
How is the role of digital engagement perceived in your organisation?
I started in my current role last year, still fairly early in the pandemic. There was a need to jump in and start straight away. It was a challenging, but rewarding experience, as it offered opportunities to innovate.
Our results were great and demonstrated to the whole organisation how impactful our work is. I got a sense that digital engagement was valued before but last year was when there were no doubts left of just how important it is and how much we contribute towards achieving the organisation’s goals.
At React & Share, we’re obsessed with measuring our efforts to prove our worth to internal stakeholders - what measurements do you think digital engagement teams should be presenting to their board?
The usual measurements: social engagement numbers, email rates and web traffic stats. But I think sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story. I always like to highlight and present cases when we started or engaged in meaningful conversations online. There have been instances when those conversations led to stakeholders getting involved with our work or provide very valuable feedback which helped us improve as an organisation.
What advice would you give to those at the start of their career?
Try different things! If you’re curious about something, find a way to try it, especially if you’re not sure if it’s for you and don’t want to commit to it yet. When I was working in retail, I offered to run and improve my store's social media account. When I was working in fundraising, I helped with special events - it was great to see who are the people behind the donations and hear their stories. I realised event management is probably not for me, but this experience helped me realise my interest in storytelling and audiences.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Admitting you don’t know something is never a bad thing, it shows that you are curious and want to learn.
What do you think the secret of success is when working in digital engagement?
Always listening to your audience and being open to new things. One of the great things about digital engagement is how it’s always evolving, so you need to be willing to take on new ideas.
Also, not taking the online negativity personally - there will be criticism but it should be seen as an opportunity to learn and get an even better understanding of your audience.