UCL Career Frameworks


Social Media: Communications and Marketing Manager

Therese Johns, Communications and Marketing Manager, Faculty of Brain Sciences.

Therese Johns
I’m currently Acting Communications and Marketing Manager, Faculty of Brain Sciences. This role encompasses all of the job families to varying degrees, but I’ve made social media a particular priority.

I’m responsible for developing and implementing strategies to communicate the Faculty’s reputation and reach through a range of channels (mostly digital). I also help shape communications for the Faculty’s institutes and divisions – most of which don’t have a full-time comms lead. What interests me most is unifying our variety of departments and channels to form cohesive cross-Faculty communications. I’m particularly keen on establishing best practice standards for all kinds of digital content, to make sure that Institute/Division, Faculty, School and UCL messages are as consistent as possible.

For example, Twitter is a really important external and internal channel for us; to embed best practice, I’ve held workshops, managed our annual ‘Communication is Key’ event, and created social media guidelines. I started in the Faculty as a graduate trainee over two years ago and was made permanent as Communications Officer six months later. I began acting up as Manager about 18 months after that.

I recently finished a part-time secondment to UCL Engineering, working on student communications. Working in a different Faculty and encountering new challenges and audiences was fantastic. For the Digital Community of Practice, I recently led a successful project on ‘Smarter Social Media’ which joined up institutional UG Open Day communications.

Social media is a tricky pathway. Often, job descriptions that call for social media experience actually want digital marketing experience. It also usually forms part of a wider digital communications role, but not as a specialism.

However, your social media management reflects your wider communications management: how do you develop key messages? How do you produce and coordinate content? How do you evaluate success? Social media is a highly visible and accessible channel, so don’t underplay its importance. My main advice to colleagues is – just ask! This doesn’t always feel easy to do – but I’ve found that others are generally really willing to help out, share their expertise, or get on board with your project. Also, seize opportunities to break out of your bubble and get involved with projects and work with new colleagues across the wider university. Networks and groups like the Communities of Practice are invaluable for this!

Finally: know yourself. Recognise and address your weaknesses, but be confident in your strengths and value too.