Hi! My name is Grace Tellers. I just finished my junior year at Chapman (yay!), and I am a Communication Studies major and Graphic Design minor. This Spring 2021 semester, I did a remote social media internship with a wedding planning company, Grace and Gold Events.
Grace and Gold is a full-service wedding coordination company based in San Marcos, California. Sarah, the owner and lead planner, does weddings all over Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Palm Springs. I got this internship with the help of my older sister, who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Hospitality. She started out as an assistant with Grace and Gold and worked her way up to a lead planner. She told me Sarah was looking for help with her social media accounts, and I immediately pitched myself for the position.
I did this internship to gain more professional experience in social media. I run my own e-commerce business using primarily Instagram, but I wanted to have the responsibility and accountability of working under someone else. Even in my first week of being an intern, I gained so much more knowledge about the industry. Because of my internship, I had access to paid analytics tools such as Tailwind and Planoly. Learning how to use these platforms is definitely a skill I could see myself using in a future career with social media.
One of my best moments during my internship was when Sarah texted me this: “So I’m not sure what you’re doing but keep doing it! I am seeing people like the photos I haven’t seen likes in A LONG TIME! And we just got an inquiry from Instagram!” It was so rewarding to know that my advisor saw results, and I felt like I was contributing something to her team. Whenever she texted me about seeing her follower count go up, receiving more likes on photos, or getting inquiries, I felt so happy. My internship allowed me to have some flexibility with social media and to learn even more. After posting every day for the past few months, I was able to gain better insight on Grace and Gold’s followers, how they interact with posts, and what they like to see. Sarah even offered me a paid opportunity to stay on her team. It was gratifying to see that the effort I was putting into my internship was being well-received and that my objectives were already being met.
The biggest revelation I had was how data-based social media could be. I consider myself to be more on the creative side, so this was difficult for me at times. I had to plan ahead, which could get tricky when I was at work or in class. The app Planoly helped me tremendously with arranging posts for the Instagram feed, and I created a Google Doc with a master list of hashtags and vendors to mention. Having as much content prepared as I could helped me be able to satisfy my secondary learning objective, which was to “analyze engagement using in-app tools to improve analytics and boost quality, not just quantity.”
The School of Communication helped prepare me for the tasks I had in this internship by teaching me about using Instagram as a business tool and written communication skills. Some classes I’ve found especially useful for this internship were SCC 329 Social Media Branding and SCC 305 Marketing through the Communicator’s Lens. I used skills from both of these classes, such as tracking engagement and writing a caption that appeals to the target audience.
The biggest challenge of my internship was having enough content to post. With the pandemic, weddings were just not happening. During the time of my internship, there were really no new weddings to share on social media. I had a Google Drive folder with photos that dated back to 2018, but most of these were already posted on Instagram. But with changing trends in the wedding industry, I wanted to be sure to post content that was relevant to Grace and Gold’s followers. I had to recycle some old images, but I tried organizing them in a different and fresh way. Each row on the Grace and Gold Instagram is a series of photos from one wedding, so I got to creatively showcase other parts of the wedding that people maybe hadn’t seen before. We also came up with solutions for new content without having weddings. Sarah went on several different venue site tours. I created Instagram stories with the photos and videos she sent me of the venue. I made sure they were on-brand and used the Grace and Gold logo, colors, and fonts. I added a description to each story as if it was getting shown to a potential client. When I could, I tagged the venue. This helped create sharable content and get Grace and Gold’s name out there.
Overall, this internship helped me hone my organizational, communication, and creative problem-solving skills. This internship has allowed me to see a different side of social media and how to use it as a strategy. Some advice I have for other students looking for an internship is don’t be afraid to pitch yourself! When I saw this opportunity, I immediately spoke with Sarah on the phone, told her my background, what I was studying, and how I could help her. I was not expecting to do an internship this semester, but I am so happy I took the chance and went for it!