Intern at ElementIQ

Onboarding: How did I get here as an Intern?

In 2018, I had an important choice to make either continue with the job I was at or take a chance.  I chose to take a chance and flip a coin.  I went travelling with my lovely wife and explored the world  and started to realize that life was completely different than working a dead end job.

It was until one morning, I met this guy in Costa Rica who was a Digital Marketer working on his laptop in the hostel I was in.  I started asking him questions about it and what a lifestyle he was living, travelling and working all at the same time.  This got me really thinking that this could be me and I would really love this type of a career.  It was until that moment that everything changed for me.

I now had a completely different outlook on life and couldn’t wait to get started when I got home from travelling.  Knowing that life is all about choices and risk taking I took that risk and joined a company where I learned so much on my own.

Then, hit COVID-19 in late February.  I got laid off and life really threw a curveball at me. It got me thinking it’s time to head back to school and further educate myself.  After three intense months of virtual online learning at BrainStation I graduated with a Diploma in Digital Marketing.  Now it was time to get my foot in the door.

Fast forward a couple months later through multiple interviews and here I am as an intern at ElementIQ.  To top things off even more I had a daughter who was a couple months old during all this and it definitely kept me on my toes.  This proved to me that as long as you have a goal and stay motivated you can do anything.

I felt like COVID19 hit us on the west coast and everything shut down but for me when it hit us I raised up and pushed through and took it as motivation.   Now I am ready to dive into ElementIQ and continue my journey as a Digital Marketer.

First week as an Intern at ElementIQ
Photo by Canva

 

Day 1: The Journey Begins

As my first day was right after Canadian Thanksgiving weekend my belly was full and I was ready to get started.  I joined a Zoom meeting at 10am and met my fellow intern Brian and our mentor Andrea who welcomed us with open arms.  I was introduced to programs that ElementIQ uses like TeamWork, Slack, Passcamp, Humi.  I also set up our email account with ElementIQ and was officially welcomed in.

Now, the rest of the day was 1 on 1’s with the team and introducing myself and learning about everyone’s role and what they do with the company.  I felt like this was a great way to get to know the team and figure out everyone’s role and personalities.  I was told about a team gathering that was going on tomorrow at “The Hive” for rock climbing.

Now, this was a challenge for me as Day 2 of being with ElementIQ I was asked to go rock climbing with the team.  It was a tough decision due to COVID19 but I was up for the task and wanted to meet everyone face to face.  A risk worth taking and further implementing that don’t be afraid to take risks in life.

Day 2: My very first huddle

The excitement from the night before and very little sleep I was thinking about my first daily huddle in my dreams.  What is a daily huddle? Since working virtually we have a daily huddle every morning talking about our Wins (What was our big win yesterday?) and our Big Rock (What is it today that will be a challenge for you?) and Blockers (What is it today that prevents you and needs to be discussed?) and Chatter (Anything to chat about for today?).

It being only 15 minutes long we get all of these questions answered so everyone has a good feeling on how their day is going to go.  Afterwards, I had my 1 on 1 with another intern Brian and learned we both went to the same school (Brainstation) to get here and he actually knows one of my good friends from school (It’s a small world ain’t it?).

Next, we watched a webinar about “Rand Fishkin” on Influencer Marketing and SEO.  Rand Fishkin is founder of Moz and his new business “SparkToro” which is an amazing tool for Digital Marketers tracking consumers movements online.

I learned a lot of valuable information and was glad to know that ElementIQ keeps us updated on webinars that are important to us.  Next up, I was introduced to ElementIQ by Andrea who let us know more about programs ElementIQ uses and how to use them (TeamWork, Slack, Passcamp, Humi).

As the day rolled on we met with Julia who gave us our first real task to do that was based on brainstorming for a client and how we can find them partnerships that make sense mutually.  After that, I spent some time on YouTube and looked at videos that helped guide me on the programs that we use.  After a long day of learning I was excited and intrigued to go Rock Climbing at The Hive and meet the team.  I have to say I’ve only rock climbed a couple times before and I was nervous but excited at the same time.

First week as an Digital Marketing Intern
Rock Climbing at The Hive

 

Day 3: Introduction to ElementIQ Channels and what to expect as an Intern 

Morning Meeting at ElementIQ

The busiest day of the week! It started off with our Daily Huddle and learning what everyone’s wins and rocks were for the day.  The single most important information session of the week was right after this with Brian and Andrea.  I learned all the different channels that ElementIQ has to offer potential clients and who is in charge of them.  Paid Search, Local Search, Social Media, Recruitment Services, Analytics, Content Marketing, SEO, Hosting.  Knowing the different channels that ElementIQ uses and operates for our clients was very informative to me and knowing what to expect.

I learned the most important takeaway from this session with Andrea was “The 5 second rule”.  Anytime we look at a website or anything to do with Digital Marketing is to apply this rule.  If we cannot understand what it’s about in 5 seconds then we have a problem and need to change things.

First week as an Intern at ElementIQ
Photo by Canva

 

Afternoon Brainstorming

After this, I was asked to take a look at the case study page on our website and find a case study that I would like and write down the “pros and cons” of it.  Next, was another huge topic that I feel satisfied to be a part of which was the “Brand Brainstorming”.

This, for me, was the big win of the day as I got to deep dive and help out with ideas on how we want ElementIQ to feel to potential customers.  I spent an hour brainstorming ideas and coming up with “quotes” and “one liners” and ideas on where I think the brand should go to improve.  It was a great way to show my creativity as a fresh employee at ElementIQ.

Later in the afternoon, I deep dived into another session with Julia and Brian and we learned more about ElementIQ 90 day plan.  Julia who is in control of the business development side of things really showed us what was upcoming in the next 90 days.  I felt this was amazing to see what ElementIQ has in store for the next 90 days and was very grateful for it to be shared with me to help improve it.

Our Weekly Meeting on Thursdays

The end of the day ends with every Thursday we have a weekly meeting where we go over “News” to be talked about whether good or bad and gives everyone a chance to express themselves and let everyone know how their week has gone so far.  I really enjoyed this meeting as it gives me a sense of what co-workers have achieved and struggled with for the week.  The day ended for work but managing time with my daughter was an everyday task too after work that I always look forward to.  This day was a good example of what a day generally will look like on a busy day at ElementIQ.

Intern at ElementIQ
Photo by Canva

Day4: The Success Story of the Founder of ElementIQ

With a short week due to Thanksgiving I was on the final day of week one (Hurray).  I felt accomplished and definitely a successful week with everything that I’ve achieved.   I am also thankful with what ElementIQ has taught me so far in the first week.

First week as an intern at ElementIQ
Photo by Gaelle Marcelle on Unsplash

 

The Morning Session

The day started off with our huddle of course and everyone’s Wins and Rocks and potential hurdles.  It wasn’t until after the huddle when the most important part of the day happened.  Me and Brian met with Founder Sam Araki.  Sam told us how he created and founded ElementIQ back in the days in Calgary.  What a story it truly was and inspiring for me to hear where Sam started to where he is now.  The biggest takeaway I got from the meeting was this quote by Sam:

“This company is bigger than me. It’s not just me but it’s everyone involved in it that makes it so special”.

Coming from a Founder who really believes in his workers and doesn’t have that big ego that some founders have is really amazing to hear what kind of person Sam really is.  I highly respect Sam for everything he told us and where the company is now.  I also feel very honoured to be a part of this journey and chapter in my life and to improve my skills alongside him.

The Afternoon Grind

In the afternoon I got a chance to work on feedback from Julia on a previous task and it really was beneficial for me because I learned in order to find potential partnerships for a client we need to figure out everything about them first.   It’s the social media channels, the competitor analysis, the way a partnership would work with a certain client and how we can make partnerships mutually work together.  Next, I was assigned a task on creating a buyer persona.  That’s where I did some research in order to understand who a potential buyer persona could be for a company.

I then had my first weekly meeting with Andrea on how my internship is going so far.  This was my chance to give feedback on how I thought the internship has gone so far and I’ll tell you what I was super impressed with how much learning and information I got from the first week of onboarding.  I was stumped on the question “Is there anything negative about your first week?”.

Well, definitely I have had no negative experiences as it was all positive experiences.  This goes from the teaching point from Andrea and the team to being challenged on strategies and ideas to learning everyone’s stories and how they are here and what they do for the company.  This all settled in nicely to me as everyone at ElementIQ seems like a close family and that’s a family that I am very grateful to be a part of.

Digital Marketing Intern at ElementIQ
Rock Climbing Group Photo

So what can you expect as an intern at ElementIQ in your first week?

If you made it this far in reading my post then first of all, I have to say thank you.  This is the story of my journey as an intern in my first week.  Ultimately, being invited into a closely family oriented team is highly engaging to me.  Being welcomed with open arms and not being afraid to ask questions or to be wrong is what we want here at ElementIQ.  Make yourself comfortable and known with the team and respect will follow.

I think for any intern coming into a new challenge and career development in any company is to understand who the company is and what they are made of and the clients they work with.  I felt like this week truly let me know those answers and I am directed in the right direction for weeks to come.

One thing also to note is that my internship seems to be entirely remote and at home during COVID19.  That being said, expect this in the near future and just the challenge of working remotely is a challenge in itself.  It requires getting used to and planning out your day even more so.

For me, this has been a great experience as well as I get to spend more time working from home then commuting in a car or transit for 30 minutes to 1 hour each way to work which in turn gives me more time with my wife and daughter.  It’s a win-win plus I get to control the heat whenever I want (Now that my wife is reading this I’m doomed haha).

So what’s next for me as an Intern?

Stay tuned as this is only one piece of the pie (I’m hungry now).

First week as an Intern at ElementIQ
Photo by David Fedulov on Unsplash

 

I will continue this journey as an intern at ElementIQ and will continue to give you updates along the way as to where I am and what I’ve learned along the way.  That is the most exciting part of being a Digital Marketer is each and every other day is not the same as the day before.  Doesn’t that sound exciting to you?

If you have made it this far I thank you for being excited just as much as I am.  Please Stay tuned!

Also, if you are interested in becoming our next intern please do apply below to join our amazingly awesome funky team.

“To Live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all”. -Oscar Wilde

headshot of robert

Brian’s First Week of Internship Experience

Are you looking to apply for the ElementIQ internship program? I guess that’s why you are here to read my blog, and yes, this is exactly how I started with my research too!

This blog is my first week of internship experience at ElementIQ, and I’m glad that you are here to read it. Before we began, I would love to share my journey of becoming an element.

Realization of Technology

For a person who has experienced the world shifting from modern to digital, it makes me think a lot about my career path over the past three years. During my childhood, the only digital thing was TV, and it took up a big part of my life. I must say I loved watching cartoons when I was a kid; even now I am an adult, I still cannot resist watching them.

When my nieces are watching cartoons, I sit down with them and we watch it together. I must say, cartoons have some magic in them that makes them irresistible. As I watch, I always feel something is missing that makes everything feel too smooth. THE COMMERCIALS! I never realized how much a commercial would impact me. Those Hot Wheels commercials made me ask my mom so many times if I could have them, yet I still don’t have them.

Hot Wheels Commercial
Hot Wheels commercial

As I grew older, I realized how impacting those commercials were. Although I don’t own the toys, it did get my attention to ask my mom for a purchase. Imagine ten kids doing it, there will definitely be a success case for purchase. As time goes on, not many people own TV cable, and not many will see the commercials because everyone is on their phone or computer. Those commercials still exist, and they are just called ads.

During my education at BCIT, I’ve been exposed to so many digital techniques, such as web development, graphic design, and video editing. I have never thought of myself doing anything digital because I’m that Asian kid who thinks maybe being a businessman will bring success to my career.

Of course, this is not the case because I know everything is digitalized, and you can feel it since everything is on the internet. We rely so much on technology that we don’t even realize, especially during COVID; when everyone needs to work from home, technology becomes necessary for everyone to stay connected.

Becoming An Element

People always say it is crucial to plan before you start doing anything. When I was studying I realized that this statement is true. If you never plan, you find yourself stumbling around, and nothing will get done. To do web development, you need to plan your file placement. Also, to do digital marketing, you need to execute a robust digital marketing plan.

Why does the company have a project manager?

Because you need someone to plan ahead and make sure things are getting completed.

After graduating from BCIT, I started my first job as a web developer, and I was so excited that I finally started my career. During the work, I was exposed to digital marketing to divide the workload, but the tasks I was doing were just the tactical side of digital marketing.

As I did more, I became interested in digital marketing, so I asked myself if I want to pursue my career as a digital marketer. Eventually, I left my job and went to BrainStation for digital marketing. One thing that always interested me is digital marketing’s strategy side because it is at the heart of making your business successful.

After three months at BrainStation, my friend sent me a screenshot of a digital marketing agency that was looking for an intern, and that digital marketing agency is ElementIQ. I began my research, and as I went through the website, social media and the blog post that was posted from the previous intern, I was fascinated with the team and the work that ElementIQ had done.

As I sent over my cover letter and resume hoping I would get a response from them, I was invited to do my first interview with ElementIQ a week after. I was so happy and excited that I had the opportunity to showcase myself, and a few more weeks later, I was invited to join the ElementIQ internship program.

Workstation View
Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

First Week of My Internship Experience

Day 1 – Meeting the Team

I was super excited to start my very first remote day at ElementIQ. I hopped on to Zoom at 10 a.m. to meet Andrea and Robert for onboarding. Andrea began by introducing us to the tools that ElementIQ uses for communication, Slack, Teamwork, etc. During the onboarding, we were to set up all the accounts, and that was when I knew I am officially part of the ElementIQ team.

After onboarding, I was told to have a 1-on-1 with the rest of the ElementIQ teams. At first, I was nervous and unsure of what to expect, but I felt very welcome and warm as soon as I got into the 1-on-1 with the team.

As I shared my story and the team members sharing their stories, I felt very comfortable talking to each one of them. The 1-on-1 on the first day was the most excellent way to start in a new company because you got to understand everyone’s role and personalities, especially in a remote environment.

Day 2 – First Daily Huddle

Another exciting morning because it was my first daily huddle at ElementIQ. As Andrea had onboarded with us about the daily huddle on day one, I was informed that each member would have to share their Wins (Highlight of the day prior) and Big Rock (One specific, actionable item of the day).

Once the round is done, we move onto Blockers (Actionable items that need support from other team members) and Chatter (Talking points). After blockers and chatter had been resolved, the person who was to host the huddle had to share a quote or anything they found valuable for the team. The huddle’s sharer was Brendan, and he had shared an ad that I found is so funny yet so true.

Best Time Ever to Get Braces Ad
Ad by Smile at the World Orthodontics

After the daily huddle, we watched a webinar “Rand Fishkin: Influencer Marketing & SEO” hosted by SharpSpring. As Rand Fishkin shared his experience and the data he had gathered, I gained a lot of knowledge and was happy that ElementIQ shared this valuable information with us.

As soon as the webinar was done, we jumped into our first training session on Teamwork with Andrea. During the training, we learned effective communication and estimation for each task are crucial to keeping the team informative on what is happening. We wouldn’t want any of our team members to fall behind on information, and this was why our first training was to learn how to use Teamwork effectively.

After a long day of training, would you think the day had ended? Last week, I was informed that ElementIQ was planning to have a rock climbing event at The Hive, and I was invited to join the team for rock climbing. I was delighted and excited to have a chance to meet the team in person, even though it is only my second day. However, with covid and everyone having to work from home remotely, how often would you have a chance to meet the team in person.

ElementIQ Team at The Hive Doing Rock Climbing

Day 3 – Busiest Day

I was the host for the daily huddle, and it was quite an exciting experience for me. With the professionalism everyone brought during the huddle, it was my time to share, and the thing I shared with the ElementIQ team was the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma.” The documentary gave me a different perspective on how I view the social network that is impacting us daily, positively and negatively.

“Social media isn’t a tool that’s waiting to be used. It has its own goals, and it has its own means of pursuing them by using your psychology against you.” – Tristan Harris, Co-Founder & President of Center for Humane Technology

After the huddle, Robert and my first training of the day was to go through the “elements” of marketing at ElementIQ with Andrea. I learned the different services ElementIQ provides for their clients, contents, development, SEO, social media, etc. I quickly learned the operation side of ElementIQ and quickly understood what to expect for my internship at ElementIQ.

After our training with Andrea, we joined Julia for our second training of the day, and learnt about lead generation for ElementIQ. The biggest lesson is building trust and being transparent with the clients, and these are the values ElementIQ cares for the most.

Lastly, we had our weekly meeting where we went over the Wins for the week, and later we shared the News and Numbers of this week to see what are positive and negative. Whether we received positive or negative news; our goal was to always learn to improve and bring success to ElementIQ. Day 3 at ElementIQ was the busiest so far, but being productive at work is always a great thing.

Desk view with calendar and desktop
Photo by Elena Kloppenburg on Unsplash

Day 4 – Be an Element

Due to Thanksgiving on Monday, we only have four days for my first week, but I felt a lot of accomplishment and acquired a lot of knowledge over the week, thanks to the team at ElementIQ.

After the huddle, Robert and I got to hear the story from the founder of the company, Sam, talking about how ElementIQ was formed. I really appreciate the time Sam had spent his time telling the story because how often would you have had a chance to hear the story from the owner directly?

In the afternoon, I got to share my experience of my first week internship with Andrea. All I can say is the positive because I can not find anything negative about this internship experience. Just within the first week, I had acquired so much information that helped me with my journey for the internship.

Next Step of Being an Element

So what is my next step?

Knowing ElementIQ had invested so much time in perfecting their internship program, I felt extremely lucky that ElementIQ had chosen me for being their intern and given me such a great internship experience.

Needing to learn is always the motivation of mine, and being able to acquire so much information just in the first week of internship, you know you land in the right place.

My journey at ElementIQ had just begun. Seeing my Teamwork and Calendar filled with learning opportunities get me excited about what comes next.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee

Exactly what Bruce Lee said. I am always ready to take on challenges and prepare to bring value to ElementIQ.

Photo of little kid ready to walk up the stair
Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Are You Ready to Become an Element?

Apply here and get ready to take on those challenges ElementIQ had prepared for you. I guarantee that you will also have a fantastic internship experience like me.

internship reflection - compass in hand

I am a firm believer in hands-on-learning so to support my education, I am always searching for experience in the ‘real world’. Over the past four months my marketing internship at ElementIQ has given me just that.

In my ‘Week of Firsts’ blog post, I spoke about the journey I was about to embark on by taking part in ElementIQ’s marketing internship program. What a journey it was!

During my time at ElementIQ I have learned how to create SEO-friendly website content; starting with the ever-important keyword research. I have managed social media content calendars for clients and been taught the ins and outs of email marketing. I even got to delve into the world of account management; something I never thought I would get the opportunity to do as a mere ‘intern’.

But that’s exactly why a marketing internship with ElementIQ is different. Instead of sitting in the background and observing, you are thrown headfirst into client work (after several weeks of training). You know you are supported by the team who are only a Slack message or quick Zoom call away for any questions you might have.

As my internship comes to an end, I’ve enjoyed having the chance to reflect on what I’ve learned over the past four months.

Here are my key takeaways from my remote marketing internship with ElementIQ:

Connecting with your team is important

I must admit, I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for remote working. Especially as someone who learns by watching and enjoys the social aspect of the office environment. However, the team at ElementIQ made sure to stay connected through short daily huddles, weekly meetings and the occasional socially distanced hang out – which included a competitive game of Piñata!

I quickly realized that you can still get a lot out of a remote internship, but you do have to put the time and effort in. Make sure to ask questions when you need to and put yourself forward to learn new things outside of your comfort zone. If you do this, you’ll get a lot from your internship.

Don’t be afraid to get it wrong

Remember that you’re an intern and the reason you’re there is to learn from some of the industry’s best. For the first couple of tasks I was assigned, I was so hung up on the idea that my work might not be good enough that I was nervous to ask for it to be reviewed.

Once you get over this, you actually realize that two brains are better than one. That means that most of the time, it’s beneficial to brainstorm with another team member or have them look over your work before it goes to client review. After all, as an intern you are there to learn and your teammates are there to support you and help you do just that.

You can never stop learning

Diving into the world of digital marketing is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I used to get overwhelmed wondering how I would ever get my break in the industry with the little knowledge I had.

After Sam and the team had taken a chance on this keen student fresh from a BrainStation crash course, I realized that this is the perfect industry if you enjoy learning. The only way you can stay on top of digital marketing trends and Google’s ever-changing algorithm (which I learned induces a lot of eye rolls in the industry) is to engage in lifelong learning.

You can do this by reading blogs, such as the ElementIQ one, joining forums, and signing up to insightful newsletters. I even had the opportunity to attend the first virtual MozCon during my internship where I learned a bunch of new tactics that I could share with the team.

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

Your ideas are valued

No matter how insignificant I thought it was, whenever I voiced my opinion on a process it was taken into account. This was something I really appreciated throughout my internship and I enjoyed helping the team improve some processes. It really made me feel as though I had an impact.

I was always treated as a peer and a part of the team. I think this is the most important thing to look for when searching for an internship. It allows you to exercise your critical thinking as well as your creativity and not be afraid to share it with your team.

So you’re thinking of applying?

There are many other aspects that made my internship at ElementIQ such a great time. Weekly dress ups, seeing my content on the world wide web and pressing send on my first email campaign to name a few.

It’s likely that you’re on this page because you’re searching for a marketing internship in Vancouver yourself. If you want to work in a place where you and your learning are supported; I can guarantee ElementIQ is the place for you.

journey of an intern first five days

Onboarding

In 2012, I had a big choice to make: head to university or move to Canada for the adventure of a lifetime. I bravely chose the latter. After some hard-work and saving in 2013, I packed my bags and said bye to my friends and family in the UK for 1 year. The original 1 year turned out to be 3 and a half and included living in and travelling to various countries.

The time I had taken away from school really allowed me to discover where my passions were and where I wanted to end up. I knew I wanted to go back to school and live in Vancouver, the rest I would figure out along the way.

A couple of months into university in 2017, I realized my dream of becoming a digital marketer. If you’re on this blog post, you’re probably considering this yourself. That means you probably know that the path to getting a career in digital marketing isn’t as simple as saying you want to do it and then getting it done.

Most entry-level positions require 1-2 years of experience and a wealth of subject knowledge. I knew to get ahead I would have to find someone willing to take a chance on this self-confessed digital marketing nerd with a desire to learn.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

 

With COVID-19 just ramping up here on the West Coast, I was just about giving up on my hopes of securing digital marketing work experience over the summer. Then stepped in Sam and the team at ElementIQ. It was late one Wednesday afternoon when I came across them on Instagram.

I immediately checked out their website and saw that they were a digital marketing agency in Vancouver, who actively hired interns. I sent a quick message asking if there were any opportunities and got invited to send an application through their website. Was this fate? Excited to find out, I eagerly sent my resume and cover letter through.

A couple of Zoom interviews later, I was invited to join ElementIQ’s small but mighty team as a remote intern, alongside another successful applicant. Here is how my first week unfolded:

Day One – My First Day

Nervous and excited to start my first remote day at ElementIQ, I logged on to Zoom at 10:00am to meet with Andrea and Patricia (the intern I would be working alongside).

The day began with Andrea introducing us to all the tools that they use to communicate and create efficiency. We set up our company emails and got acquainted with Teamwork, Slack, and general practices that the team uses to organize themselves. It’s fair to say that my head was spinning and I knew I would need to get hands-on practice to get used to these tools.

Andrea then told us that she had arranged for us to have 1 on 1’s with each team member. This was daunting at first but I quickly realized how friendly and supportive the team was. Even though we are only able to connect virtually right now, I really appreciated getting the chance to know everyone individually, as well as what makes each of them tick,

Day Two – My First Daily Huddle

Tuesday began with my first 15-minute daily huddle. Each team member takes turns to share their wins, blockers (external things that are preventing them from moving forward) and big rocks (tasks) for the day.

A team member then shares a quote or something interesting they have found and this morning was no different. Brendan shared this quote with us:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

This perfectly foreshadowed the week of learning I had ahead of me. It motivated and inspired me to begin another day of soaking all the new information in.

Photo by Bobby Burch on Unsplash

 

On Tuesday afternoon, we got to take a deeper look into how Teamwork is used effectively to organize tasks between team members. Having the hands-on practice that I had yearned for allowed me to get to grips with the system. As a lover of lists, I knew I was going to enjoy this platform and the way it allows users to organize collaborative projects.

Day Three – My First Client Introductions

By now you may have guessed that Day 3 was full of a lot of learning opportunities. Today was spent taking a deeper look into ElementIQ’s clients; from the prospecting and the initial onboarding process, right through to the creation of client strategy.

In the afternoon, we then got to dive into all the different elements of digital marketing with Andrea. We covered SEO, web development, and social media to name a few. My inner nerd took over and I was lapping up all the information with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas. We discussed how each different channel plays its part in bringing a client’s business into the forefront of their customers’ minds. We also analyzed previous campaigns allowing us to get an idea of what ElementIQ is capable of.

This was by far, one of my favourite sessions in my jam-packed week. It further reiterated my passion for the world of digital marketing and all the possibilities that lie within it.

Day Four – My First Weekly Meeting

Thursday was spent taking a first look at account management and what it takes to be a good account manager. I learned that there are certain skills that can make a good account manager a great one! Such as; communication, organization, strong industry experience, and a thirst for knowledge and new ideas. All of which I hope to build on during my internship.

Each Thursday, the ElementIQ team gets together for a weekly meeting. During the meeting, they discuss the previous week and then a team member hosts a deep dive into a topic of their choice. As this was the first weekly meeting for us new interns, the team went easy on us and we enjoyed a roundtable where each member got to sum up their 1:1 meetings and snippets they had discovered about each other.

Themed Meetings

In order to keep creativity high while working from home, the team has also implemented weekly dress up themes for the meetings. This week’s theme was ‘Unda Da Sea’ derived from characters related to Little Mermaid. I had fun raiding my closets for 15 minutes before the meeting and getting ready to showcase my new found self as Flounder. However, I was outrageously outdone by Lincoln, who had cleverly turned himself into Ariel with items he had around the house.

As a person who grew up playing competitive sports, I have a natural desire to win. I did not take this defeat lightly and I am looking forward to getting another go at claiming the title of ‘best dressed’ next week!

Zoom meets Little Mermaid

Day Five – My First Shadow

In most cases, employees longingly count the days to Friday and the beginning of their weekend. However, I’d had so much fun and enjoyed all the learning I had experienced over the last week. I can honestly say, a week has never gone faster for me.

On Day 5, our morning was spent hearing about ElementIQ’s humble beginnings from Sam. We learned how they had scored their first client and built lasting relationships with strong forces in the industry.

A solid foundation that attracts an expert team that continuously produces quality work.

In the afternoon, I had the opportunity to independently explore all the tools and processes that we had experienced throughout the week. This time was beneficial, as someone who learns by doing, I really got to hone in and practice everything we had been taught, ready for the following week.

I was also invited to my first shadow session where I got to listen in on a brainstorming session for an email campaign for a client. I really appreciated that the team had thought about how to include me and provide valuable education opportunities, even while operating remotely.

The week was wrapped up by completing a personality test. This is an enjoyable and remarkable initiative that can give greater insight into how a team can work best together. My results were ridiculously accurate. Having a better understanding of myself will allow me to work with my strengths throughout the internship.

More Firsts to Come

As an avid traveler, I am always seeking firsts. Whether that be the chance to travel to a new place for the first time or learn something new. Even just 5 days into my internship, I know this desire will be filled at ElementIQ.

Being able to score an internship where the company invests in your learning as much as you do, makes me feel incredibly lucky. The organization and commitment to adding value for interns is clear to see in just a few short days. On Teamwork, I can see the roadmap that is laid out ahead of me.

If you need me in the next couple of months, my time will be spent nerding up on SEO, graphic design, web development, analytics, and social media marketing. Oh, and trying to earn that coveted ‘best dressed’ award!

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash

 

ElementIQ custom designed banner photo

Path To ElementIQ:

Prior to beginning my internship, I worked in a variety of sales positions, from door-to-door and cold calling, all the way to B2B and in-person sales. These roles helped me build sales experience and in general provided great work experience, but I wanted to expand into the world of technology and gain new experiences. Of course, my first instinct as a sales-minded individual was to head into digital marketing. Even though digital marketing was very interesting to me, I decided to go a different direction at first.

Some research and hands on experimenting made me realize I actually was most intrigued in web and app development. My reasoning was that because I enjoy the problem solving aspect of development, I have a more analytical mindset, and I enjoy building things that can be seen and interacted with. Being a very hands on learner, I decided to take the bootcamp route at RED Academy. After finishing the full stack web and app development course, I attended the RED Academy Talent Connect event, where alumni were able to present themselves to potential employers, and vice versa. I was fortunate enough to meet Andrea, Lincoln and Sam from ElementIQ. After hearing about Sam’s presentation of values and his vision of the internship program at Element IQ, I approached them right away, following the employer presentation segment. To my suprise, they were intrigued because I had advertised myself as “Sales and Development”.

 

example of digital name tag used at talent connect

At first, I thought there was not a need for someone that could be successful at both sales and development. I started searching for jobs and talking to people at networking events and I quickly realized that I was a unique individual in the industry, which is why I decided to test the waters at the Talent Connect event and sell myself as someone that could do both.

ElementIQ had a new lead source which required a tech-minded individual with a strong sales background. That was convenient for me as I love sales, I love tech and development, and I have always been intrigued by digital marketing. They explained the internship is a very hands-on experience where I would get to gather a deep understanding of digital marketing and actually apply the skills in a work environment. Previous experience leads me to believe that hands on learning is most effective. Ultimately, everything perfectly lined up, my interview went well, and I began my first day as an ElementIQ Intern.

 

Day 1 at ElementIQ:

The reason you are reading this is probably because you are curious what your first week as an ElementIQ Intern will look like. Your first day begins at 10:00 AM where you get to meet the team, in-office and abroad. Everyone on the team is welcoming and very easy to get to know, they make you feel like you are part of the team right away. This specific intern on-boarding meeting was run a little bit different than it normally does.

After I met the team, Sam kicked off the meeting with our main value in the company – freedom. Allowing you to work while being able to travel, but still being held accountable. Sam then opened up to the team to discuss the overall value we at ElementIQ provide. Following that, Sam explained his vision and future goals for ElementIQ. Hearing this on my first day as an ElementIQ intern made me feel valued as a team member and like I was part of something bigger.

Following your first meeting with the team, you get to dive right into learning. Your first day revolves much around learning all the programs we use at ElementIQ. Especially the main one – Teamwork. Like anything new, I was lost and confused using Teamwork. All in all, I was very satisfied with my first day at ElementIQ and I was excited to learn new things.

 

artistic photo of a brain overloading with confusion

 

Day 2 at ElementIQ:

Overloaded with new knowledge and the excitement of positive change, you could probably guess I had a restless sleep. However, Day 2 was finally upon me and I was ready to go. On your 2nd day at Element IQ you begin at 9:00AM with the rest of your team at the daily huddle. This is a time where you will get to focus on your previous day’s wins, the team’s blockers, and your current day’s goals that you want to accomplish. Plus there is an extra section for chatter – just anything that needs to be addressed. To end every team huddle, there’s an interesting “share” from one of the team members which is usually a quote or something that they found valuable and would like to share with the team.

Following the daily huddle, you are fully immersed into learning digital marketing. I sat down with Lincoln for an overview of all the different marketing channels ElementIQ has and saw examples of how we can utilize them to get the best results. This is a very generalized overview, but does provide you with good enough context to understand digital marketing as a whole, and how ElementIQ does it differently.

As you know already, I was very confused when working with Teamwork. Luckily for me I was able to sit down with Andrea, who is the coordinator of the Internship program. This step would normally happen on your 1st day of the internship, but she had been away on my first day. She explained to me exactly what to focus on while using Teamwork which really gave me a clear understanding of how to properly use Teamwork to the standards expected at ElementIQ. Since Day 2 was going smoothly, I started to focus on setting myself up for success on Day 3. With freedom being the main value at ElementIQ, you get 2 days a week where you get to work from home. In my opinion, it’s the 2 days you would want to work at home; Wednesday (hump day) and Friday (weekend kick off day).

 

Day 3 at ElementIQ:

If you are like me, someone who has a short attention span, work at home days are kind of scary. At first, I was worried I would not be able to keep busy enough and might fall victim to at-home distractions. On your first at home day, you will quickly realize this is not a problem at all. You will have so many different lessons, tasks or meetings to do that you’ll never find it hard to keep busy. Believe it or not, this was one of my busiest days thus far.

Your day starts like any other with the daily huddle. Andrea does a great job at structuring your internship to surround you with skill sets early on in the internship that will help support you, as you progress into your area of specialization with the company. Since my focus is on sales my lessons today were focused around the pre-sales questionnaire with Brendan. In this meeting we dissected our current pre-sales questionnaire and the importance behind each question, which took up most of the morning.

Depending on the skill set you bring to Element IQ, the team will sometimes ask for your help on certain things. Since one of my skill sets is in WordPress development, Lincoln and Joseph scheduled a meeting with me to help fix an issue with one of the plugins we used on our client’s website. I enjoyed doing my part, and was happy that they reached out to me. After the meeting we found a resolution that seemed feasible. Then, that afternoon, I had some extra time so I began to break down my thoughts and put my vision for the sales process onto paper.

women working at home with cat laying on papers

Day 4 at ElementIQ:

At this point, you probably can guess how day 4 begins. I find it nice getting into a routine with the daily huddle. The biggest value of the daily huddle, in my opinion, is the communication factor for the team. You will find that every team member is on the same page when it comes to our clients. This is a breath of fresh air compared to previous jobs I have had.

Following the huddle, Lincoln and I discussed our current sales process and how our current revenue is being generated. At ElementIQ, your thoughts and ideas are always valued and you will never be shut down for voicing your opinion. If you decide to join the team, you will quickly notice I have lots of opinions. Some better than others, but I love how the team is open to hearing them, no matter what. That being said, I took Lincoln through the sales process idea I had written down the previous day. Lincoln seemed to really like it, and gave me some feedback on areas where I could improve it.

Knowing that communication is so important for our team, I spent some time talking to Andrea and took her through the sales process as well. Although she saw I was getting ahead of myself, she still let me finish and gave me her feedback on improvements that could be made. She then explained to me that I needed to slow down a bit because she noticed that my focus was being divided into 2 different mindsets – sales person and intern. I was feeling overwhelmed.

 

Day 5 at ElementIQ:

Week 1 of your internship will fly by. Like I said, Fridays you also get to work from home. Following our daily huddle, I got to meet with Vikram who is one of the more senior team members at ElementIQ and is also one of our team members who’s living abroad. We started off the meeting just talking about hobbies and building a relationship with each other. It was nice to get to know Vikram better. After spending some time talking, we started to discuss our “90 day plan” process, starting from the beginning where we find out our clients needs, then breaking down all the different dynamics of how the 90 day plans get created and deployed.

One of my tasks was to build a buyer persona for ElementIQ. After getting ideas of how to do a good buyer persona from Vikram, I wanted to take him through my sales process as well. He also had lots of great things to say about it and gave me spots I could improve on. I spent the rest of the day working on 3 buyer personas for Element IQ. I was fired up after our meeting and had all these ideas for the sales process that I wanted to get down over the weekend. Finding myself still getting overwhelmed, I took a step back over the weekend and began to understand Andrea’s advice about slowing things down.

 

Conclusion:

The first week at Element IQ will have you feeling excited and mostly overwhelmed, but don’t worry. After talking to the team and reading the other internship blogs you will realize that everyone’s 1st week, feels this way. I am personally excited and thankful I have this opportunity to learn digital marketing in a hands-on learning environment. I absorbed a lot of  knowledge in my first week and can’t wait to continue progressing. If freedom, trust and communication are things that you value, then your experience as an ElementIQ intern will be amazing.

elementiq brendan's internship week one

A Note About The Intern Blogs:

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a prospective applicant trying to figure out what the internship experience is like at ElementIQ, or maybe you’ve already reached the next step and now you’re just fishing for interview hints. Either way – great! It’s a sign that you’re trying to make an informed decision and you’re being strategic about solving a problem, which are both qualities that’ll serve you well if you end up as an intern here.

Before we go any further though, here’s something to keep in mind: no two interns at ElementIQ have the same experience, and I don’t mean that in the cliched “each person has different thoughts and feelings” way either. Like every intern before me, my internship experience has been shaped by the things I want to learn about, the people who have had a role in helping me learn, as well as ElementIQ’s current stage of growth. To me, that’s what sets the internship apart from what you’ll find elsewhere. There’s a flexibility here which allows you to explore what the industry is about and whether there’s a place for you in it.

So, as you read about my experiences and the experiences of other former interns here at ElementIQ, don’t make a list of all the things that we’ve done and expect to do the exact same things. Instead, reflect on our experiences and ask yourself, “If I were in those positions, what would I do? Would I be able to use this kind of environment to help myself grow as a professional and learn how to create value for clients?” Once you’ve done that, you should have a better idea of what the ElementIQ internship is all about, and whether it’s a good fit for you.

My Scouting Report:

A rendering of the proposed outdoor stadium at Simon Fraser University

Stadium Render4” by Simon Fraser University – Communications and Marketing | Licensed under CC BY 2.0

Way back when I was a naught but a young pup, I earned my BBA from Simon Fraser University, choosing to specialize in marketing and human resources. Going into university, a career in marketing was never a certainty, but it emerged as a natural fit for me since it combines qualitative and quantitative elements in a dynamic environment – basically, a bunch of things which are right up my alley.

Prior to this internship I didn’t have a ton of work experience in general, let alone relevant work experience. Having said that, the little relevant experience that I did have – a semester as an intern at another digital marketing agency – had allowed me to work with established industry players like Carl’s Jr. and Activision. As a first introduction into the world of marketing, that had really been an eye-opening learning experience, and it helped me to discover more about what kinds of work I enjoyed, and what I needed as an employee to feel fulfilled on the job.

For what it’s worth, I also represent a bit of an experiment for ElementIQ, as I’m joining the team as a client of SUCCESS’ Chance to Choose (C2C) Youth Employment Program. Like a couple of previous interns lamented, finding a digital marketing job is immensely challenging for new graduates when most employers are seemingly seeking at least a year or two of relevant work experience even for entry level positions. Unlike a lot of other places, ElementIQ is willing to take a chance on young talent, as they did when they brought me on board in November of 2019.

Day 1 – All Aboard For Onboarding

As other interns have mentioned, the first day involves a lot of new information, and my experience was no different. ElementIQ is all about iterative improvement though, so what I was expecting to be a hectic onboarding process based on prior interns’ chronicling turned out to be quite structured and logical thanks to all the hard work that Andrea and Carlos had put into refining the internship program.

Just because the information was organized, though, didn’t mean that there wasn’t still a lot of it. Looking back, I don’t think there’s really any way for a new intern to prepare for the sheer volume of details and processes they’re exposed to on day one. To put that statement into perspective, I read all the previous intern blogs, as well as the client case studies on the website, and I still felt moderately overwhelmed by the end of the day. When you’re looking at whiteboards full of organizational tasks and walls plastered with colourful arrangements of Post-It notes, it’s a lot to take in.

A group of people pickup up menus at a restaurant

Photo by Greg Ma | From ElementIQ internal resources

The whirlwind morning was capped off with a team lunch down the street at Shio Japanese Kitchen. Naturally, it was a good chance to get acquainted with individual members of the team, but it was also a chance to observe the team’s interpersonal dynamics. All-in-all, I came away feeling like the atmosphere of supportiveness and camaraderie within the team was accurately represented during the recruitment process. Chummy folks all ‘round!

To close the day, Carlos sprung a completely unanticipated task on me: a post-hiring interview. The questions were remarkably open-ended and – in some cases – considerably more cognitively intensive than the previous two recruitment interviews. As I understand it, the interview was meant to create a record of how each intern’s goals and perspectives change over the duration of the internship, but I think it was also a valuable way of prompting new interns to be introspective and reflect on both where they’re coming from and where they want the internship to take them.

Day 2 – Learning…And Getting Schooled:

As all days do at ElementIQ, my second day kicked off with a huddle. I won’t go into too much detail since other interns have written a lot about huddles, but it was novel to get a first-hand look at how remote working operates in practice.

The huddle was followed up with an insightful lesson from Lincoln about the fundamentals of digital marketing, and how ElementIQ applies those fundamentals to the different channels it operates in. It was instructive, even entertaining, to hear a few stories about his experiences with former clients, and how those experiences have shaped the way that ElementIQ chooses its clients and formulates strategies for them. Lincoln explained that business owners know that digital marketing is important and want to see return on their marketing expenditure, but a lot of them are simply too busy to take the time to sit down and understand how digital marketing activities affect their business.

There was also a little nugget of wisdom from Andrea about how, down the road, I’d have some time to go over client accounts with Vikram and Lincoln, and that I should pay careful attention to how each of them approached the process of account management. It was a small thing, but with so much new information being introduced to me, I really appreciated receiving that kind of guidance about where to direct my attention. I’ve always had the notion that some organizations pay a lot of lip service to the idea of allowing individual styles to thrive – i.e. just be yourself and let the “real” you shine through – but then immediately hammer down the first proverbial nail that sticks out. Consequently, it was encouraging to see that ElementIQ was genuine about its commitment to helping its staff thrive and leveraging their individual strengths.

Photo by Greg Ma | From ElementIQ internal resources

Afterwards, Carlos and Greg invited me for a bit of lunchtime table tennis, which was a great change of pace after being seated for most of the morning. I’d played a bit of table tennis in high school, but nevertheless promptly got my butt handed to me. I mean, just look at Carlos’ gleeful expression! That is the face of a man who knows he’s about to give nightmares to his opponent. Still – it was awesome being able to play table tennis at work, and I’m sure I’ll be back for more.

The day wound down with a photoshoot session since Greg needed to update the existing staff photos on the ElementIQ website and add me as well. It was fascinating to watch the planning and setup that went into something like a photoshoot; not only did Greg take the photographs, but he also set up his phone camera so that he’d have footage to create a time-lapse later on.

Lastly, even though it was a small thing, I’d remiss if I didn’t mention that it was gratifying having my place cemented within the team as a visible member of ElementIQ on the website. There’s just something about seeing yourself up on a professional website among other professionals – it’s a satisfying sense that, hey, maybe I’m on my way to developing a career and making all my years of education pay dividends.

Day 3 – Motivated Self-Starting 101

My first remote day! I’d worked from home in the past, but it was interesting to work within a system where everyone met face-to-face via video call in the morning just to establish their tasks for the day and make sure any pressing issues were squared away.

Post-huddle, Andrea introduced me to the process of client onboarding, which was entirely new to me. Every organization naturally puts their own spin on how they familiarize clients with their services, workflow, and relationship expectations, so it was tremendously interesting to see how ElementIQ approaches this process.

From there, I was free to chart my own path for the remainder of the day. Anyone who’s ever read a job posting is probably familiar with that tired phrase “motivated self-starter” – heck, it even says “reliable self-starter” on the CTA at the bottom of this page. Well, working from home made it immediately evident why this is a necessary quality. The distractions that are the bane of every procrastination-prone student’s existence will rear their ugly heads with a vengeance if discipline and focus aren’t present. I didn’t struggle too much with this, but I certainly could see how this might be problematic for anyone who’s easily distracted.

My “Big Rock” for the day was collecting and consolidating client information from internal documents and online sources to create unified “client profiles”. That meant not only including basic information like phone numbers and addresses, but also in-depth information about clients’ competitors and pain points. Candidly speaking, it was tedious work, but it was also an excellent way to learn more about each of ElementIQ’s clients.

Beyond that, Slack made everyone seem much more accessible than email, even if there wasn’t the expectation of an immediate response. Through a few conversations, I discovered that people don’t always follow a nine to five schedule on remote days, sometimes opting to handle other commitments during the typical nine to five while bumping their working hours later into the evening.

Day 4 – The Art Of Account Management

On my fourth day, Lincoln sat down with me again to give me an overview of the many different clients that ElementIQ collaborates with. This is a general area of business that I’d always been curious about, and I appreciated being able to draw on the insights of someone who had years of experience dealing with accounts and clients during the digital marketing industry’s fledgling years. For me, one of the biggest takeaways here was how difficult it can be to confer value to clients and to demonstrate how agency activities are indisputably contributing to positive business returns.

Since it was Thursday, we had our weekly meeting – in contrast to the “micro” nature of the items that typically come up during the daily huddles, the weekly meeting seems to deal with more “macro” level issues.

Since it was only my fourth day, a lot of what was being discussed rightfully went over my head. At one point, however, the discussion switched to the issue of local office space. As a lifelong Coquitlam resident, I was able to share my knowledge and was subsequently invited to seek out more information to guide ElementIQ’s approach towards the issue. That’s something I like to see at an organization – expertise being leveraged rather than sole reliance on seniority.

Day 5 – Channeling My Inner Picasso:

While the previous days were mostly focused on accounts, client relationships and logistics, I got to switch gears for for day five and dive into one of the more specialized areas of digital marketing: graphic design.

One of the things I’d been hoping to get out of the internship was an introduction to more of the tools that are used as part of the digital marketing process. I’ve always felt that being a complete digital marketer means understanding all the different workflows that feed into a stellar digital marketing campaign, and I think that part of that comes from recognizing the abilities and limitations of the tools that are available.

In this case, the tool was Adobe Illustrator. I’d never worked with Illustrator before, so – being completely candid – it was frustrating seeing how slow I was compared to a proficient user (and awesome teacher) like Greg. At the same time, those few short hours were enough to give me the skills I needed to start with a blank artboard and create the image at the top of this blog, so I’d say the short-lived frustration was worth it.

A group of people painting on small easels

Photo by Greg Ma | From ElementIQ internal resources

As the workday drew to a close, the flow of creative juices didn’t stop. I had the good fortune of starting my internship just before a team-building activity day. The activity? Painting! Considering that I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush in probably more than a decade, the notion of painting in front of a bunch of new colleagues didn’t sound like the most fun idea, but it ultimately was a refreshingly entertaining bonding experience. We wrapped up the day with a few orders of freshly baked, classic Neapolitan pizza, putting a savoury exclamation point on the final day of my first week at ElementIQ.

Post-Game Analysis:

A picture of a groundskeeper maintaining the pitch at FC Barcelona's Camp Nou Stadium

Photo of a Person Standing on Football Field” by Mario Cuadros | Licensed under CC0

There are a lot of entry-level positions where “learning from the bottom up” is used as an excuse to justify relegating tedium to employees lacking in seniority. In some ways, that’s fair – everyone only has so much time in a day, and senior employees may be more effective if less of their time is committed to menial tasks. At the same time, this is something that every young graduate tries their hardest to avoid, and rightly so.

Reading back through ElementIQ’s intern blog – which you should do if you haven’t already – you’ll notice there are some tedious, repetitive tasks, absolutely. For me, it was client profiles; for prior interns, it was “citation hell.” But that’s okay – ElementIQ positions its internship as the consummate learning experience, and I feel like that’s an expectation which has been met thus far. I’ve had a chance to see real-world theory put into practice; I’ve had a chance to do hands-on learning with new tools; and – perhaps most importantly – I’ve had a chance to be a genuine contributor.

To go along with ElementIQ’s sports-based theming, I’ll close by saying that, one week in, the internship’s closest sporting parallel is like a prospect’s first taste of a pro league. For any prospect, going professional is eye-opening. It’s a chance to work with pro-level talent, see how they conduct themselves, and witness the work that goes into achieving top-notch performance day-in-day-out. Sometimes you’ll have to grind, sometimes you’ll have to struggle, but those experiences are just part of the learning process. It’s the same with any sports team; if you want to make the team, you have to put in the work. The internship is ElementIQ’s investment in young talent for their team – they draft you, they surround you with support and resources, and the rest is up to you.

hand holding phone with word art illustration

Coming into the ElemenIQ Internship program I was certain I wanted to specialize in social media. I was lucky enough that at the time, ElementIQ was looking for someone to oversee social media accounts. After my first week as an intern, I started to slowly take on clients’ social media accounts.

Every week I would take on two clients and I would work on their content buckets and content calendars. Every week was a new challenge and a new opportunity to develop and strengthen my skills. After a couple of months into my internship, creating content and scheduling posts for the various accounts became something natural. However, managing social media isn’t only about creating content and scheduling posts. There are various different aspects that come into play when one wants to successfully manage social media.

At some point, most brands and inventors find it difficult to get noticed on social media.

The only way to stand out on social media is to rise above all the noise. Cutting through all the noise can certainly be overwhelming. Here are four simple ways to stand out on social media that I learned throughout my internship.

Be Unique

With so many brands on social media, it has become increasingly challenging to be unique and stand out. Ideally, your social media presence should not look like everyone else’s. This principle might initially seem simple. In reality, however, various brands fall into the trap of becoming monotonous, mainly because they want to play it safe and reduce their degree of risk. Unfortunately, playing it safe prevents a brand from standing out.

To stand out, you have to move away from posting promos and sharing links. The content that you post should be something your audience can relate to; it should include information they genuinely want to engage with.  Making your posts more targeted and personal to your intended audience will help you establish a deeper connection with them. The more your audience relates to your content, the keener they will be on sharing it with their followers, as well as liking and interacting with it.

Caring for your image and profile is part of being unique. When visiting your profile, you want users to relate and identify with it on a personal level. Having an effective biography, great profile picture, and eye-catching feed is essential to get noticed. 

In most cases, users glance through a profile for two seconds. This provides you with two precious, valuable seconds to catch their attention and cause them to want to stay and explore your brand further. The more visually pleasing your feed and profile are, the more followers and likes you will receive.

A perfect example of a visual and themed feed is @happyskinkitchen. In this case, vibrant, eye-popping colors are used in images to create a high level of visual appeal, this increases the likelihood that you’ll click and like the image.

Create Awesome Content

Creating unique content is not only about posting a high-quality picture or video; it also includes using creative visuals and compelling captions to tell a story.

Images and videos should not only be clear and of high quality but should also reflect your brand. This allows your targeted audience to relate specifically to the content and associate it directly with your brand. Combining strong visuals with creative captions will encourage your audience to engage, start conversations, and share your content. 

In order to create content that users want to interact with, you must come up with a content strategy. Without a well-established content strategy, new social media users tend to not know what to post and have a hard time adapting to social media. There are multiple ways of preparing for and creating a content strategy. However, there are four key components to every content strategy, these include

  1. Knowing your competitors and what they are posting
  2. Knowing yourself and your audience
  3. Creating content buckets
  4. Creating a content calendar

Out of the four key components, I personally have found creating content buckets to be the key determinant in content strategy success. You certainly want to know yourself and your competitors before creating content buckets. However, without awesome content buckets, it is difficult to attain social media success.

Content buckets are categories or topics that speak to different aspects of your business, they are separated into main buckets and sub-buckets. For example, at ElementIQ, main buckets include company culture, our internship program, clients, and events. Within our main culture bucket, we have sub-buckets such as agency life, retreats, meals, and the team. Having well-fleshed out content buckets will facilitate the process of creating content and scheduling posts.

Engage & Use Hashtags

Being noticed in social media is not only about content. Interacting with other brands, customers, and influencers is also a key to success. In the social media world, users appreciate ‘love’ (likes, comments, and shares). The more ‘love’ they receive from you, the more ‘love’ they are willing to give back. Remember, the core goal of social media is to be … social! 

Tagging and mentioning is the most common way of catching the attention of brands and users. By doing so, you are not only engaging with them, but also helping to amplify your content. Tagging and mentioning is a popular brand awareness strategy, mainly because brands or users can be targeted directly in order to begin a conversation.

Hashtags have become a popular exposure method across social media platforms. Different social media platforms use hashtags in their own unique ways. Despite these differences, it is clear that posts which use hashtags receive a higher level of engagement. This occurs because hashtags further expose your posts, simply by placing them in specific categories that are being searched by targeted users. Growing and creating your own hashtag, especially for small and new businesses, is a smart move from a brand awareness perspective. If done properly, over time more and more users will start using your personalized hashtag. Here are some quick tips to help you become a hashtag expert.

Remember this! Social media platforms are a playground for engaging with one another. Engaging with your customers has never been that easy and simple. Here are some additional tips to engage your audience on social media.

Be Consistent

Consistency allows you to grow your engagement and reach. This includes not only posting regularly but also using a consistent voice and posting the same type of content. Consistency in social media is all about developing your brand, which is best expressed through your social media profiles.

Ideally, you want your images and captions to always reflect who you are. Once you have nailed the language, color, and images, you can focus on posting regularly. 

Posting regularly does not mean you need to post twice each day. In the end, quality matters more than quantity. Figuring out the number of times you have to post per week, and at what time of the day, can be tricky. However, there are tools that help you identify the best times to schedule your posts across different platforms. At ElementIQ we use Sendible, a game-changer when it comes to scheduling posts, saving time, and successfully reaching target populations.

Pro tip: Try using the same handle on all social media platforms. This will make it easier for others to find you and tag you.

The Bottom Line

The world of social media is filled with competitors of all shapes and sizes. In order to consistently stand out, there are numerous strategies you can implement. First, make sure you begin by providing content. However, content is only half the battle, as you must also ensure that your content is unique and appealing enough to make users want to engage with it. In your quest for success, remember to focus on creating a specific, tailored experience for your target audience population, rather than providing a variety of general content in attempts to be the most popular brand. When in doubt, visit the ElementIQ blog for helpful tips on social media marketing, and digital marketing strategies.

 

 

 

carlos' first week at element iq

A Little Bit About Myself

Finding the right career can sometimes be frustrating. Not all of us have a clear idea of who we will become after our studies. Figuring out on what we will be working on for the rest of your life can be intimidating. How are we supposed to identify the field of our career? Are we supposed to try everything out and work in every industry?

My name is Carlos. I recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a BBA in Marketing and Design, and like most of you, I have asked all the questions above. When I started my studies at TWU I was certain I was going to become an accountant. One year later I learned about stocks and moved into finance. After completing a Summer Internship in Finance, I realized I wasn’t meant for the industry, so decided to go back to school and specialize in marketing. My first marketing class was eye-opening. I questioned myself – what I had been doing with my life? Numbers were amazing, but creating stuff was awesome. Once I discovered I was a creative person I decided to enroll myself in various design courses and learn digital design, photography, and videography. I had never felt so at home, I was extremely excited that I finally found something I felt comfortable with, but most importantly something that I love to do. From that moment on, work was never really work.

My Perspective On Internships

After graduating from TWU I went to my home country, El Salvador. During my stay, I had the opportunity to complete a three-month internship at a local dental clinic (Orthoestetic Center). The internship focused on Social Media, and I was responsible for attracting possible prospects to the clinic. Throughout my internship at Orthoestetic, I learned how to use Facebook and Instagram paid ads to generate leads, something I had never done before. Internships are all about trying out new stuff, failing, succeeding, learning from our mistakes and most importantly, learning new things.

Personally, I believe that internships are what prepare us to be great, they provide guidance and help us identify our career. After my internship at Orthoestetic, I knew social media marketing and content creation was my thing, so decided to return to Canada and look for a full-time job.

Looking For A Job & My First Week As An Intern At ElementIQ

Are you a reliable self-starter looking to kickstart your digital marketing career?

Finding your first job is certainly harder than I expected. For a moment I questioned myself if I was doing something wrong, or even if my skills were not good enough. It was frustrating to see how most “entry-level jobs” were asking for two or more years of experience. Yes… two or more years for an entry-level job. Something impossible for someone that graduated four months ago. After realizing that almost every entry-level job asked for two or more years of experience, I decided to once again, gain more experience with a second internship. This time, I had the opportunity to join an amazing team at ElementIQ. Many of you will ask, why a second internship? To be completely honest, I asked the exact question myself. However, the internship at ElementIQ wasn’t simply an internship, it was the best internship I have heard of, certainly one of a kind. Asking myself if I wanted to once again be an intern was never a question.

Day One At ElementIQ: Onboarding

My internship at ElementIQ began on April 1st of 2019 at 10:00 AM. I had never been so excited about an internship or a new job. My first day was full of meeting team members, learning about daily meetings, learning about weekly meetings, being overwhelmed, and my favorite part of the day – eating tacos for lunch. I spent most of my day with Andrea (Project Manager at ElementIQ), who introduced me to what my four months of internship were going to look like. With Andrea, I learned about time management and daily planning. Essential skills that will be useful not only throughout my internship, but my whole career. By the end of my first day, I felt excited and driven to grow while being part of an amazing team.

Day Two At ElementIQ: First Huddle Meeting

Day two of my internship was full of learning about the culture at ElementIQ. My day started off with a daily meeting at 9:08 AM. Daily meetings at ElementIQ are called Huddles and happen through a video conference. Those who are present at the agency gather around a laptop and start a live meeting with those who are working remotely.  Daily Huddles happen every day and start exactly at 9:08 AM. They exist to bring the team together and provide everyone with clear daily goals. Huddles follow a specific structure:

Wins – work-related and personal accomplishments of our previous day. Each team member shares a big win on a task they were working on the day before.

Blockers – reminders that call for immediate action on other team members that are preventing you from moving forward on a project or completing a task. Blockers are not used to call anyone out, but instead, serve as reminders to work on a task and speed up project completion.

Big Rocks – big tasks or projects you will be working on during that specific day. 

Chatter – open discussion of things happening at ElementIQ.

Share – a team member shares something with the team, usually a quote or something relevant to the agency or clients.

The rest of my day was full of meetings with different team members and learning more about their role at the agency and the roles they play with clients. Before the end of the day, I had a photoshoot with camera experts Stivian and Greg. We had lots of fun shooting and playing with lighting and cameras. Overall, an amazing day.

Day Three At ElementIQ: First Remote Day

Before joining ElementIQ, I had been working on some freelance projects where I would spend most of my time working from home. Despite the fact that I had already worked from home, my first remote day was still something new and felt somewhat different.

Remote days also start off with a Daily Huddle at 9:08 AM. To be honest, I was quite nervous for my first remote Daily Huddle. Unlike Daily Huddles at the office where all team members gather around one laptop, this time it would be more like a video conference with nine different members.

After my first remote daily Huddle, I worked on small tasks that different team members had assigned me the day before. My first remote day went really great, I had lots of fun working from home.

Day Four At ElementIQ: My First Small Project

As usual, day four started with our Daily Huddle. Team members shared their wins, blockers, big rocks and chatter. My fourth day at the agency was full of meetings with different members of the team. I met with Vikram to learn a little bit more about different accounts at the agency. I met with Joseph and learned how to properly use Teamwork, and finally, met with Stivian to work on my first small project. My first project consisted of opening social media accounts for a client and filling out the about us sections.

Getting involved with social channels for our clients was extremely exciting for me. In my interview, I mentioned I enjoyed working on social media platforms and creating content. Having the opportunity to get hands on was my highlight of the day.

Every Thursday we have a weekly meeting at the agency. Weekly meetings start at 4:00 PM and run until 5:00 PM. They are split into two main sections.

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Weekly Win – similar to wins for our Daily Huddles, we all share a big win for our week.

Numbers – We all share number-related accomplishments, such as increasing engagement by 70% on Instagram for a client.

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Deep Dive – a team member is in charge of conducting a thirty-minute presentation and activity of their liking. Ideally, both the presentation and activity should be related to improving the work we do at the agency.

Day four was really busy for me. However, right after the meeting I stayed and spent time bonding with the team and having fun playing ping pong.

Day Five At ElementIQ: Last Day Of First Week

Day five was a slower day. After our usual remote daily Huddle, I worked on adding my own tasks on Teamwork for the upcoming weeks. I also planned my meetings for the coming week and got used to using Google Calendar. After adding all my tasks and updating my calendar, I started brainstorming ideas for my first blog post. Later, I spent time getting to know more about our clients. I went over all our clients’ profiles, websites and social accounts.

My first week at ElementIQ as an intern was a unique experience. I learned lots of new things and made new friends. I am extremely excited to learn and grow with an amazing team.

Three Tips For Your Next Internship

As I mentioned before, there are countless reasons why internships are important. However, as interns, we have to be prepared to make the best out of such opportunities. After looking back over my first week as an intern, I came up with three tips that will guide and help you make the best out of your first or next internship.

Don’t Be Too Scared And Nervous

Losing sleep the day before your internship or feeling sick on your commute to your first day is unstoppable. Getting rid of such feelings is quite impossible. Sometimes, starting a new position can be intimidating and scary, making us act nervously and not think straight. The couple of hours before starting your first day will certainly be full of feelings, however, once you meet your new coworkers and settle down, you will feel more at home. Despite our nature to worry about the unknown, try not to be too nervous and too scared. Try to remain calm and confident. Remaining calm will actually help you to get to know your coworkers in a better way, and will help you to retain important information. Don’t forget to enjoy your first day, have fun and be the best you.

Make The Most Out Of Everything

Internships provide us with the opportunity to learn and grow. We can learn as much as we allow ourselves to learn. Internships will be full of challenges that push us to do things. Take on those challenges, even if you feel you aren’t fully prepared. Internships are made for us to learn from what went well or wrong. By trying, you will grow and develop new skills. Take every challenge and opportunity that comes your way, always be open minded and shine!

Be Confident In What You Have To Offer

Don’t be afraid of showing off your skills. New knowledge and skills are what agencies and companies need. Showing off your skills and contributing will make your experience better, but most importantly it will show your potential and the things you can accomplish. Feeling intimidated by the advanced skills that experienced coworkers offer is understandable. However, by not trying/failing and learning, you are limiting your learning experience. Never doubt yourself and be confident in your skills.

Conclusion

Internships are a unique learning experience. As an intern, make the most out of such learning experience. I have no words to describe my first week at ElementIQ. I was inspired to learn and grow, the culture at ElementIQ encourages me to always be my best. I am excited to be part of an amazing team and really look forward to what the future holds.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” (Anthony J. D’angelo)

man on laptop on a beach

The tech industry has been booming for the last few decades. The industry composes of a quarter of the S&P500 (CNBC), an index based on the market capitalizations of the 500 largest companies in the US stock market.

joseph crafting cocktails at prohibition at rosewood hotel georgia
My life was about crafting cocktails before crafting digital experiences.

Is A Career In Tech Right For You?

You might be asking, who am I and why should you consume anything that I say? Despite being in my twenties, I’ve explored many different careers in the past from sports, hospitality, finance before making the transition into the tech industry. I haven’t looked back since and here’s why:

work anywhere

The Criteria

After venturing different career paths, I found that a fulfilling career needs to meet the following criteria:

  • Opportunity. The career needs an opportunity for me to grow intellectually. I needed to take on more responsibilities, create value in the marketplace in order to be compensated more and eventually start my own business.
  • Freedom. Over the years, I’ve identified that my core needs are to be both emotionally and financially free. My goal is to have the freedom to do what I want without any constraints. A career in tech can provide that. I can grow within the company, start my own business, and work location-independently as all I need is an internet connection.
  • Fun. What’s What’s the point of doing anything if it’s not fun? Even though it’s a grind, you must enjoy the process. There is no exception and that applies to all aspects of life!
guy working on his computer at night
Burning the midnight oil

The Truth

It’s easy to get caught up with images on social media of people working at a beach in Thailand while sipping on coconuts. It seems too good to be true and what goes behind the scenes are often neglected. Here is some truth about working in the tech industry:

  • The Grind. Working in the tech industry is a grind. Whether you’re at an agency, a startup or an established corporate company, a heavy workload will be expected of you. But what about the table tennis, foosball and the workout rooms onsite? They are available to set your mind off work for a while so that you can get right back to it!
  • Continuously Learning. You’ll never fully master your job. Why? It’s because technology is so rapidly changing. From the tools of the trade to the user preferences, things are ever-changing and should you stop learning, you will eventually become obsolete from the workforce. Therefore, you become a lifelong learner and improve continuously.
  • You Must Deliver. Freedom comes at a cost and it is the ability to deliver and provide results. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked overtime or all weekend to solve a problem. There’s only one way to track performance and it is your ability to produce results.

Here’s How To Get Started

I hope that the last section didn’t discourage you too much because the benefits by far outweigh the costs. Wondering where to start? Here are some tips:

Are you a reliable self-starter looking to kickstart your digital marketing career?

  • Find Your Place In Tech. Whether you’re seeking a role as a Marketer, Designer, Developer, Content Writer or a Project Manager, there’s a place for you in tech. For example, I became a User Experience Designer because I was interested in human behaviour and how we interact with things. Take a crash course and find professionals that are already doing what you want to do on Linkedin and invite them out for a coffee chat! People are generally friendly and willing to help out. All you have to do is ask.
  • Education. Teaching yourself to enter the industry sounds very appealing as it doesn’t cost much. The truth is that being motivated to teach yourself to the point that an employer is willing to give you a try is very unlikely. I tried this myself by taking courses on Lynda.com and other resources like Free Code Camp and YouTube tutorials, but I was never confident enough to break into the industry.
  • What I resolved was to take a 3-month intensive bootcamp at RED Academy to become a designer. Was it expensive? Yes, but it was worth it because it shortened my learning curve to break into the industry faster than if I were to teach myself. Because it’s such a booming industry, training courses are offered everywhere from universities, private schools to online courses. Be fully intentional if you decide to enroll in these courses because it’s all about how you leverage these programs to enter the industry, not their ability to train you and get you the job. Take full responsibility for your own destiny and go for it!
  • Document And Publish. This ties into the last point about education: as you learn, you’ll be creating. Document and publish work even if it’s not complete! Get your work out there for the world to see. When you’re trying to break into the industry, most companies hire based on how ambitious you are and if it’s worth their time investing in you to learn and grow. At the very minimum, they will take the foundation of your technical skills into consideration when making the decision to hire you.

What Are You Waiting For?

Dale Carnegie once said “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” It’s so easy to get caught in your head and wonder the what if’s. Instead, try it and fail. Learn from it, try again, fail again, and you’ll eventually succeed.

I’ll end with a story of my journey into the industry to demonstrate the above paragraph. Two years ago, I quit my full-time job as a Financial Advisor to enroll in a 3-month tech bootcamp. The course was thousands of dollars and I was unemployed for the first six months coming out of the program. I was offered an internship position at ElementIQ and I was hesitant to accept the offer as I believed that I could do better. A year and a half later, I’m still with the company and learned tonnes in the process. In hindsight, I’m glad that I took action to create an opportunity and prove myself instead of passively waiting for it to happen to me.

I’m no guru and I didn’t have any design background (let alone the foundation in art) when I came into the industry. If someone like me can successfully break into the tech industry, you can too!

Want To Jumpstart Your Career In Tech?

Apply to ElementIQ’s Internship Program Today!

man sitting at laptop with headphones on

As humans, we have a limited number of hours each day to get our work done. No way around that. While we have no power over time, we do have control over how efficient we are. At ElementIQ, we work with a variety of clients in different industries, so making sure we put our best foot forward every hour is something we have to get right every time.

I sat down with our in-house Web Developer Kevin Hashimoto to discuss how he likes to tackle the challenge of maximizing your effort in a given time-frame. Take a look below.

Stivian: Hey Kevin, thanks for joining me today. You’ve had a pretty extensive post-secondary background so far, mind sharing what you’ve studied?

Kevin: I went to film school, business school and then I went into programming. I’m currently dabbling in design, so it’s been quite the range of experience.

Stivian: What do you like about development? Is it scratching that creative itch or getting to think strategically?

Kevin: A bit of both, actually. With development, it’s not so visual, but I love creating things from scratch. I’m a very do-it-yourself kind of person. If I need something and it doesn’t exist, I’ll just make it.

Stivian: Have you always had an interest in work efficiency?

Kevin: I think so. I’ve always wanted to work as efficiently as possible. It bothers me when things aren’t going as smoothly as they can be.

Stivian: Have you seen things at ElementIQ that could be more efficient?

Kevin: With ElementIQ, it’s more that everything’s always in the process of change. We’re continuously improving processes as we find them. There’s a lot to improve on, and there’s a lot that we do well.  

Stivian: What’s something you’ve seen implemented at ElementIQ that’s made a big difference in how we work?

Kevin: Me joining is one. *laughs*

I think how we structure our project management with Teamwork. Since we don’t have a dedicated project manager, getting organized with that tool has been keeping projects in order. If we misuse it, our communication gets disorganized and projects get chaotic.

On the design side, Invision has been really good. There’s a lot of tools inside of it that help with development workflows.

Stivian: How do you get ready for the day? Does your routine start in the morning or at night before work?

Kevin: I’m a night person, to be honest. I just work so much better at night. Somewhere from 10 PM to 2 AM is my sweet spot. My morning routine is pretty relaxed. I wake up and hang out for a bit until I get in the mood. I’ll eat some granola bars, drink a protein shake, check out Instagram and get to work. I’m not a morning person but I’ll get up and do what I need to do to prepare.

Stivian: There you go. I know you freelance on the side, do you find working at an agency 9 to 5 and working on the side to be difficult?

Kevin: Oh yeah, totally. Even if I were to be just freelancing full-time, it’d be really difficult because it’s so volatile and unpredictable. Juggling a full-time job at an agency and then freelancing right after that is pretty tough but I’ve got goals I want to get to, so they keep me going.

Stivian: Nice, what are some of these goals?

Kevin: I’m launching my own branding agency, and my other goal is working fully remote, preferably on a beach somewhere.

Stivian: That’s the dream. What’s the Pomodoro technique? I’ve heard you mention it before.

Kevin: It’s a technique where you work for 25 minutes at a time and take a 5-minute break, and so on. The urgency of the timer keeps you focused because you know you don’t have a lot of time. I find I’m more focused throughout the day with the 5-minute break in there. It’s a good power-hour.

Stivian: I guess you could call it a power-25. How do you like to spend your 5-minute breaks?

Kevin: I like to get up, get a glass of water and walk around a little bit. I don’t want to be in front of my computer waiting for the 5 minutes to expire, as I need to refresh my brain for the next session.

Stivian: Have you been using this technique for a while?     

Kevin: A little while, yeah. I’ve been experimenting with different times blocks, just because development has a different workflow. I tend to work for longer than 25 minutes at a time.

Stivian: What are some of the challenges with being a web developer compared to previous jobs you’ve had?

Kevin: Thinking ahead is a big one. You need to structure how you develop things ahead of time. You need to make things scalable and maintainable so you’re always considering the future when building.

Stivian: That makes sense. What does the ideal workflow set-up look like to you?

Kevin: In terms of development, I like to have the design finalized before I touch development, just in case things change because I have to go back and re-do my work. Getting everything finalized before actually building anything is ideal, and it’s what we’re in the process of standardizing here. On the design side, you want the scope of the project before you get to work. Having clear steps detailed before getting to work makes for smooth projects.

Stivian: At ElementIQ, we work two days of the week from home. How do you find remote work? Do you find yourself more productive or focused with the extra time to rest?   

Kevin: Honestly, it’s a mix. Some days I feel more productive, some less. Some, I’m more focused, others not so much. I find the flexibility to work at my own pace and catch up after 5 PM a bonus. It’s also a little more relaxing working from home. Some days I go to a café, grab a warm drink and some pastries and work from there.  

Stivian: That sounds pleasant. What do you think are your best habits that have resulted in professional success?

Kevin: Being straight to the point, and not too humble about things. When you sugarcoat some things, your points might not get across at times. I used to be pretty humble and sugarcoat everything, just because I wanted everyone to like me. The way this comes back to efficiency is if you want things to change, you can’t sugarcoat them.

Stivian: I agree. I think it’s important to acknowledge the difference between dishonest harmony and being truthful for the sake of productivity. Were you a disorganized person before? Did you have to work hard to develop good habits?

Kevin: I think I was pretty disorganized. In terms of school, I never liked it so I was disorganized from the beginning, but my accumulation of experience and experimenting with different methods has brought me to where I am today.

Stivian: Do you have any advice for people who might be disorganized and are trying to build good habits?

Kevin: Every person is different. I’d suggest exploring different methods of working and finding that zone that you’re comfortable in.

Kevin has recommended this video series from InvisionApp that goes over workflows for design teams, a must watch for anyone involved in design projects!

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