Thomas Wakelin was 19 when he landed an internship at one of the most famous companies in the world. After he completed his internship and further experienced life in an agency, Microsoft offered him a full-time position as social media marketing manager for their UK subsidiary.

Thomas is now responsible for creating content and digital marketing strategies for the brand’s many UK communities and channels, assuring that it’s optimized for each platform and on-brand, while still resonating with local audiences. 

In today’s episode Shaheen Samavati sits down with Thomas to discuss the basics of social media optimization, how to create specific strategies for different platforms, and how his agency experience influences his work today in-house.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, and listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify.

Rapid-fire recs

  • Productivity hacks:
    • Creating to-do lists. “I’ve got a physical planner which has the whole week laid out over two pages. The left-hand side is always my personal tasks and the right-hand side my work tasks. I’ve always relied on a to-do list, whether it’s been digital or physical.”
    • Combining personal and professional to-do lists. “Introducing a social element to my to-do list gives me a lot more energy. Once I get off the phone after catching up with someone I’ll get right back into work and feel fresh. Taking a mini break and getting all that energy and a feel-good buzz really helps me!”
  • Favorite app: TikTok. “These days, it’s my go-to app for entertainment, especially during lockdown. I love exploring the content, finding communities and engaging. Social media has been making big changes over the last year and TikTok is certainly an example of that.”
  • Source of inspiration: My previous colleagues, such as head of social for EMEA at Garmin, Gareth Crew. “I’ve learned so much from so many different people who now work across so many different industries and different companies—I think having that external network is so important. It’s really important for our industry as a whole to share best practices, offer advice and to be there for each other.”

Check out our interview with Gareth Crew, EMEA senior social media manager at Garmin.

  • Recommended reading:
    • That Will Never Work by Marc Randolph. “It’s the story of how Netflix became a big deal.”
    • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. “It’s about how Pixar and Disney really focus on driving creativity within their teams and how they think of different solutions to storytelling.”
  • Useful resources:
    • Safe For Work podcast. “People write in seeking advice for dealing with certain situations going on in their workplace. The hosts then offer advice and it’s often quite humorous, and relatable.” 
    • Business Wars podcast. “They talk about really fascinating stories of how businesses have gone from just being an idea all the way to what they are today.”

I think creatives work best when they’re together and bouncing ideas back and forth. I don’t think there’s ever an issue with trying to include as many people as you can, especially from a creativity perspective.

Connect with Thomas and Shaheen on LinkedIn.

This post was edited by Mary Kresge.

For more insights into social media optimization:

Writing the playbook on paid social media campaigns

Leveraging social media data to make marketing decisions

12 multilingual social media tips that really work

To see the full transcript, click on page number 2 below: