by Shyann Williams

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Ashley Osborne is a recent graduate from Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. I had the opportunity to work with Ashley my sophomore year in an organization she created in 2013 called Amplified Communication, a PR, marketing and event planning organization catered to amplifying and connecting millennial entrepreneurs and their brands. Ashley is currently a social media coordinator at a digital marketing agency, Resolution Media working on the Warner Brothers Pictures account. She is also very active on her personal social media accounts and is the creator of @PROUDOFMYCROWN. I have always looked up to Ashley as a professional in the marketing and public relations field, she has played a huge part in the young professional I have become. I knew instantly that I wanted to interview her and was very excited to hear her insights on the social media industry.

SW: What’s your favorite social media outlet and why?

AO: Wow, just one? My favorite social media outlet, right now, would have to be Facebook because I am learning a lot about Facebook and how lucrative it is. Facebook is one of the first social media platforms to introduce advertising and gain billions in revenue. Facebook has helped me stay in touch with friends, find housing arrangements, plan events, share media with people who care about me and many other things. It’s so personal and their technology is getting better at serving me the content that I want to consume.

SW: Which social media platform do you think is here to stay and which one has the biggest impact on social media marketing? What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?

AO: Facebook is absolutely here to stay and has also changed the game when it comes to digital advertising. If Facebook didn’t exist, my current job wouldn’t exist. Facebook is actually one of the few publicly traded companies that earns a profit each year (no shade to Twitter). That says a lot! Facebook is extremely global and improving day after day. Facebook was the first social media platform to give marketers the opportunity to advertise. Their advertising technology is awesome because they have so much data! I always recommend brands to allocate much of their budget to Facebook advertising. Facebook also owns Instagram, so that’s that. The most important trend rising in social media is the way people engage on social media during live events. Brands need to get active in the social digital spaces where they belong. Advertisers are essentially authors of culture, so it’s important for brands to stay on top of cultural current events in the most authentic way. Meet people where they are and take advantage of being engaged and creating “moments” (this is where Twitter shines). Moments create memories and brands want to be remembered.

SW: What people/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends and why?

AO: I’m lucky enough to have relationships with representatives at social media companies; Facebook, Twitter, Google, Snapchat, etc. because of my job. So we get first updates on new products and trends because it’s a two-way street. People who work at social media companies want our agency clients to spend budgets on their products, so they make sure we’re always up-to-date on the latest technology updates and social media products. I also use Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news that is passed around my friends in the industry.

SW: What companies/organizations do you think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media? Why?

AO: I think that Dove does an amazing job with social media. From their campaigns to their day-to-day presence, they stay true to their brand and seem to get better and better with each new campaign they run. I also really appreciate entertainment brands on social media. They don’t directly try to sell you a product, but rather an experience.

SW: Being a professional in the social media field, how do you bridge the gap between being a professional while also maintaining your personal brand on your social media?

AO: I would say it’s fairly easy. My personal and professional are pretty much one in the same. My job is what I do, but it’s not necessary a complete representation of who I am. I love my work, but it’s not the one and only thing I love, so I show those layers of me on social media as well. Also, I think that working in the space has given me a special perspective on social media. You can be anyone you want to be on the Internet. I carefully post things that I want to represent me and that my parents would be proud of. I’d rather not give people a reason to get the wrong impression of me. Knowing myself helps.

SW: Of all the projects you’ve worked on, what has been your favorite dealing with social media thus far?

AO: My favorite social media project this far would have to be my current job. I work at an agency, but my only client is Warner Brothers Pictures. I am a paid social media coordinator and this position has allowed me to learn a lot about strategy and execution of paid social media campaigns. I run campaigns for all the WB movies and I have learned SO much about digital marketing. There is a true art and science to social media. Acquiring this knowledge and these skills about a space that I have loved since its existence is irreplaceable and I’m excited to see where this job will take me!

SW: Explain @PROUDOFMYCROWN and why you created it?

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AO: @PROUDOFMYCROWN is a platform where I display the crowns of Black men and women; their crowns being their natural hair. I created this for two reasons: I’ve been passionate about wearing and embracing natural hair since high school. When I finally decided to make that transition, I noticed that a lot of the content I’d research was always catered to women, not so much for men. But I thought, I know plenty of black men who grow their natural hair out instead of cutting it down to a fade or taper; where is their love? So I created the platform to showcase both sexes. I plan to add more layers onto the platform once I have the following, turning it into a platform to promote entrepreneurs, stylists and artists. I also created this platform to show companies and brands that I want to work with that I’m able to build, manage and art direct social media platforms. I have paid social media experience via my job, but @proudofmycrown will be managed and grown organically.

SW: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

AO: Be a user of social media! You’d be surprised about how many people work with social media, but don’t use it actively, so they don’t always have that first-hand knowledge of updates and nuances that you can only learn by experience. Show people what you can create on social media. Be cautious of what you post on social media – yes, people are watching! Keep up with platforms and learn what their strengths and best purposes/practices are. Knowing these things will be of great help when you are creating and executing social media strategies and campaigns for your clients! Use social media as a research tool.

Ashley dropped several gems in this interview, it was very interesting getting insight from a professional in the social media industry. I loved how she discussed Facebook’s importance in the social media industry because I often hear people talking down on the network and I also believe it is here to stay. Also, your personal social media accounts are a great way to gain experience on social media is something I took from this interview. This was a very inspiring talk with Ashley, I am excited to experience a professional career in social media.