Ever since I was a kid, my family has spent each summer in Ocean City, New Jersey. Those three months are always full of trips to the beach, boat outings and late night adventures on the boardwalk. As I got older these summer traditions stayed a vital part of my vacation, but I had something else on top of it all: a summer job. I have been working at a small ice cream parlor down the shore for the past several years, scooping and serving ice cream to Ocean City visitors. Throughout my time there I learned a variety of lessons, from problem-solving to customer service. With that in mind, some of the most valuable lessons I have learned at my summer job have been rooted in PR and communications. I helped run the parlor’s social media and made advertising decisions to help bring awareness to the parlor on a local level.
Through these opportunities, I learned a great deal about both social media marketing and traditional print advertising. I had to learn how to create and adhere to an online brand through the parlor’s Instagram account. It was important to stay ahead of trends and be up to speed with the latest updates to keep our content relevant and interesting. We posted pictures and boomerangs of sundaes, new flavors, ice cream cakes, events, employee news, and anything fun and interesting we wanted to add to our social media presence. In order to increase our following, we reached out to popular “down the shore” accounts and communicated with our customers in the comments. We were able to grow our Instagram following significantly over the past two years, and this summer we plan to incorporate even more fresh ideas.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to create the best content possible for your audience through the proper medium and with relevant information. We made sure our social media content was different than the ads displayed in local newspapers because we knew each audience has different needs. No matter what your brand is, it is important to be aware of who your target audience is in order to effectively reach them and keep them interested.
I have been so lucky to gain a wide array of skills from my summer job that have helped build my character and work ethic. I never expected my summer job to be so PR-focused, but am thrilled to take the skills I’ve learned over these past few summers and apply them to my professional development. Summer jobs are a great way to get experience, you just have to be willing to try new things and stay curious. Even if it’s just a customer service job there are always ways to step up and incorporate what you’ve learned in classes or internships.
This blog post was written by Account Associate Caitlin Gemmi.