Finishing up my educational venture at Chapman wouldn’t have been complete without an internship. Luckily, over heaping cups of chili and a conversation about Chapman at Homecoming, I met an entrepreneur, Betsy Thaggard, who was looking for help with marketing and social media for her small business. Having taken Niklas Myhr’s Internet Marketing class, I knew the fast-paced and ever-expanding world of social media and digital marketing was a field I wanted to explore. After interviewing with Betsy at her office in Irvine for over two hours I accepted a position as the Social Media and Marketing Intern at B. toffee.
What’s B. toffee?
Imagine walking into work every day to the sweet and savory smells of fresh toffee being handcrafted and boxed for shipment and delivery. Basically, that was my life. But actually, behind every artfully wrapped box was a lot of work! Long before I got there in the morning, cooks were busy creating our delicious confection of butter, sugars, chocolate, and pecans. B. toffee was founded in Newport Beach by Betsy Thaggard. Having spent years perfecting her homemade toffee recipe giving it as gifts to friends and family during the holiday season, she expanded to a few local shops. From there, her toffee took off! Everyone who tasted it wanted more and Betsy used her business-minded background to help B. toffee grow into what it is now. Today, B. toffee is offered nationwide in large retailers like Williams Sonoma, Whole Foods and Dean and DeLuca. Beyond that, B. toffee provides many corporate and wedding clients with custom gifts.
Managing Social Media Accounts
Given lots of flexibility and freedom to work on what I saw best, I first focused on small tangible tasks that I could take off of Betsy’s plate. My first order of business was managing the B. toffee Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter by scheduling regular posts. This meant using ColorStory to edit pictures and scheduling posts on Hootsuite, a program B. toffee was already actively using in order to create an aesthetic on Instagram. I was also responsible for tailoring posts to fit our Facebook and Twitter feeds and maintaining an Instagram story. B. toffee had a create folder of content that I was able to pull from but having already used a lot of the content for older posts I created new content by taking pictures and pulling from fresh content we were tagged in on social media. Thanks to collaborative boards on Pinterest, B. toffee had a pretty great following, and when I had time I would pin new content and content related to our B. toffee Pinterest account as well as our LinkedIn. A good feed takes time and thought- I found that I spent about four hours a week planning and organizing our posts on Hootsuite.
My next order of business was to regularly post on our blog. Professor Myhr had indicated that regular blog posts help drive SEO traffic, especially when linked to other social media outlets. B. toffee uses WordPress as its website and blogging platform. Having learned and used WordPress throughout my experience as a Strategic and Corporate Communications student, I felt I was in familiar territory. They hadn’t been posting regularly for a while, so I made it my goal to post at least once every other week. My posts varied from the importance of planning ahead when corporate gifting to recipes and ways that B. toffee gives back to our community. I found that B. toffee does a lot for the community but doesn’t highlight all that they do, so I created another blog subcategory called “B. Giving” highlighting events that B. toffee donates to or sponsors.
In my Message Design 2 class with Dr. Sara LaBelle, I was a part of the Traditional Marketing Team for the ReThink Campaign. I can’t express how much I learned being a part of the ReThink campaign and feel that I probably learned from it more than I was able to contribute. That being said, it gave me a lot of experience in marketing tools that I was able to utilize in my internship. While I wasn’t well-versed in graphic design, with the help of Canva I was able to create a variety of marketing materials for B. toffee. These ranged from ads in magazines, client and vendor presentations, corporate fliers, informational packets and more.
While I had learned a lot about eblasts or mass emails in my Internet Marketing class, I didn’t have a lot of experience crafting and transmitting something my boss liked to call “eblasts.” After guiding me through how to use MailChimp, I was fairly quickly able to grasp the idea. During my time at B. toffee, I created and sent two eblasts with her guidance, and am now able to confidently use MailChimp.
My internship experience at B. toffee was invaluable to me and the perfect end to my educational experience at Chapman. I was able to use all that I learned from my education as a Strategic and Corporate Communication student to confidently meet each task or obstacle I encountered. From communicating with my coworkers to effectively communicating with clients and customers through various digital and traditional marketing channels, my internship was an exercise in using all that I learned and preparing me for what comes next. As echoed by previous School of Communication interns, I learned a lot about myself. I learned how to be a self-starter and how to get the job done no matter what. I created lifelong relationships with Betsy and her staff and encourage Chapman students to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org if they are looking for a great place to grow.