Cool Job: Social media strategist
For Emma Zumsen, spending time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites isn't play, it's all in a day's work.
As a senior social media strategist for the New York City-based Morpheus Media, Zumsen works at the cutting-edge intersection of advertising, marketing and branding. Zumsen helps luxury brands find the right social media recipe to promote their products.
"My favorite part of my job is the pace at which social media -- its behaviors, its influencers and its data -- is changing," Zumsen says. "It's like having to learn a language that changes every day, and that is a challenge I find very fulfilling."
Keeping up with the Web
Although writing figures prominently in Zumsen's day-to-day work activities, simply finding the right words isn't enough, unless they engage her target audiences. That's where metrics--data that show user clicks and other forms of online engagement--come in. Each month, Zumsen must generate a series of reports detailing whether the clients' messages are resonating with the public.
"The Web and its ever-changing trends, technology and evolutions are the driving forces behind my job," she says. "We build our strategies and campaigns around an assortment of variables that are heavily dictated by those factors, so we need to be constantly 'in the know.'"
At the same time, Zumsen must often win over clients, who may not initially understand the benefits of a particular strategy. "It is all the more fulfilling when they do take action on our recommendations, because they usually 'get it,' and we can strengthen their approach," she says.
Deadlines are key
Not one to procrastinate when there's a deadline, Zumsen tries to pace herself with her writing chores, so she doesn't have to come up with the goods under pressure.
Besides her work for Morpheus, Zumsen also operates her own blog, The World in a Paper Cup, detailing her love of food and music. Recent posts have included her "Adventures with Sourdough" -- making crumpets -- as well as new recipes for Italian plum torte and a kale saute with runny (egg) yolks.
"My writing flow comes and goes," she says. "Sometimes I can get all my thoughts out in one sitting. Other times, I need to spend a bit more time to really perfect the output."
From pre-law to pastry chef to social media marketing
The Montana native spent her childhood in Minnesota, and then attended Carleton College, a small liberal arts institution in the southern part of the state. Intending to go to law school, she received dual degrees in political science, prelaw and studio art-photo journalism.
But the call of the oven proved too strong to resist, so she headed to the New England Culinary Institute, from which she earned a certificate in baking and pastry arts. She then worked as a sous (pastry) chef for several years.
Her career path took a turn towards her current position, when she started helping her father run a paper products company in Minneapolis. From there, she worked in a series of marketing positions, including a stint managing social media for Sailor Jerry, a lifestyle brand inspired by a legendary tattoo artist.
"I got into advertising and blogging after running a business for my father during which time I was responsible for every aspect," she says. "The marketing and communications side of it were what interested me the most, so when it was time for me to move on to pursue my own career, I decided to focus on that."
Recipe for success
Her training as a baker continues to serve Zumsen well. Not only does she bake muffins, cookies and quick breads on a weekly basis, she also applies lessons learned from having to create a finished product for a (hopefully) appreciative audience.
"When you bake and present something, you're usually thinking who will be eating it and accordingly you adapt the recipe and the presentation," she says. "With writing you must consider your audience and why they're reading your material to successfully build a relationship with them."
As much as she enjoys marketing, Zumsen sees herself one day having an even sweeter existence as the owner of a bakery.
When the time comes, it's likely that she'll know just the right way to promote her new venture on social media.
More about Emma Zumsen:
1. What did you eat for breakfast? It changes, right now I'm on a big scrambled eggs on an everything bagel kick.
2. Which day of the week is your favorite? Sunday, because it's the day my husband and I set aside to spend with each other and our families.
3. Which day of the week is your least favorite? Mondays, I still hate seeing the weekend end.
4. What was the first job you ever had? My first job that wasn't babysitting was working at a coffee shop.
5. What makes you angry? Closed-mindedness, people who don't ever open their minds to new possibilities or ideas.
6. What makes you joyful? Travel and my family.
7. If you could have any job, other than your own, what would it be? A bakery owner/pastry chef.
8. If you had the time and the money to study anything at all, what would you choose? Industrial design.
9. What did you want to be when you grew up? A pastry chef.
10. Can money bring you happiness? No, but it can definitely influence you're understanding of happiness.