An honest review of the Digital Mums course

I completed the Digital Mums Social Media Marketing Management course and thought it might be good to share the ups and downs for anyone considering it.

Why I signed up

I already had a pretty good understanding of social media,  I had a very successful Facebook page for my blog and I had run my previous businesses using Facebook as the primary marketing method.

I’d also used social media to raise over £20,000 for the adaptations we needed to make our house wheelchair accessible, and I’d even run a social enterprise, primarily via Instagram and Twitter, selling slogan tees to raise over £5k for a local charity.

More importantly, I was already working with local businesses as a social media manager, and I’d been growing my career in sales and marketing since 1998!

But despite all of that experience, I felt as though I wasn’t quite qualified enough to be doing it for a living, imposter syndrome at its finest!

I’d seen people recommending other ‘Digital Mums’ for jobs in Facebook groups and heard them mentioned on Podcasts.  It sounded like the only way to be considered a professional social media manager was to do their course, so I signed up, hoping it would fill in the gaps in my confidence.

How the course worked

As part of the Digital Mums course you had to plan and run a live campaign using your choice of social media channels.

Choosing something to grow a community around for 6 months seemed like a good idea. However, coming from a marketing background I was keen to ensure the campaign was something I could transition to be my business in the future.

My peer group, ‘The Social Seven’ (although one left part way through the course) was an integral part of my learning, and without them I probably would have jacked it in months ago out of sheer frustration with the course.

Thanks to our WhatsApp group and our weekly video hangouts we all managed to stay sane, and succeed in growing some really successful campaigns.  Over those 6 months together we went through pretty much every emotion you can imagine in our quest to become ‘Digital Mums.’

The ups and downs of training as a social media manager

Throughout the program, we faced a roller coaster of emotions.

We feared we’d picked the right campaigns, so we weren’t wasting time building an audience we wouldn’t be able to harness in the future.

Frustration, and often disappointment, about the course content itself, which was outdated and lacked the detail we needed.  Sometimes, we were angry when we expressed our disappointment and were fobbed off with excuses by Digital Mums HQ.

There was sadness when one of our peer group decided to quit part way through. 

The excitement when our influencers engaged with us, or in the case of Elizabeth when celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and John Torode engaged with her!

We were delighted when we fell in love with running our campaigns and realised that each of us had chosen the perfect one. This was not only fun but also allowed us to meet some incredible people.

Admiration at seeing all the amazing places Claire was finding to visit for her campaign.

We were surprised at the lack of direct support from the Digital Mums team and concerned when, throughout our 6 months, we only had feedback about our campaigns 3 times and had been pretty much left to our own devices the rest of the time.  The program had been sold with very different support expectations.

Admiration when Lucy was doing so much exercise for her campaign and guilt that we weren’t!

We soon realised that we’d have to look elsewhere for much of the information we needed to learn to be up-to-date and confident in offering social media services to clients.

We were always grateful whenever one of the group members found a useful source of information or advice from which we could learn more.

There was much excitement when I took on a new client during the course (despite being told not to). This was the biggest thing for me as I realised that despite the imposter syndrome, actually I was really good at this (if only I’d realised that before!)

Shock and awe when Ruth’s Facebook post about a local play area went viral in her area.

We weren’t warned of the additional costs each of us would incur from choosing our particular campaigns, including the Facebook ads budget. That would have been fine had it been expressed to us prior to the course, but we weren’t really given any warning before, during, or after the course.

None of us chose to use LinkedIn for our campaigns, which was a mistake and meant we needed to invest time building our presence there for our own business purposes.  Considering the length of the course, LinkedIn should have been a priority over Twitter, and we would have benefitted far more had the course been less platform-specific and focused more on the strategy and psychology of social media marketing.

After the program, not everyone felt job-ready despite being promised they would. We’d been taught how to grow an audience, not how to sell to them which realistically was what clients would be looking for.

I felt lucky that I’d come from a sales and marketing background and could easily transition back to that knowledge, as the course focused heavily on brand awareness, which is only a small part of social media marketing.

Some of the cohort felt confused about the practicalities of running a business, as that wasn’t included in the course.

We were hopeful that joining the DM Collective (the group for graduated Digital Mums) and the ‘Do The Hustle’ course would help fill in the gaps and boost self-esteem. But, unsurprisingly, we soon discovered it didn’t.

Despite all of that, we were all really excited about what the future held for us.  

What’s happened since I took the Digital Mums course…

Fast forward several years and things look VERY different for me.

After a lot of work on rebuilding my confidence, I realised that I actually knew more than I realised and hadn’t needed the program at all (hindsight is great eh!)

My years of sales and marketing experience stood me apart from many other social media managers and I built an incredibly successful business.

Soon, other social media managers were getting in touch to ask how I was getting clients, getting them results and building my business.

These days, along with my business partner, Laura Davis, I support freelance social media managers to start and grow their own businesses.

We took our knowledge and experiences and turned them into The Social Media Manager’s Toolkit, which helps freelancers to become profitable social media managers and provide an incredible service to their clients.

Since 2019, we’ve supported over 4000 freelancers and we’re excited to continue.

If you’d like to learn from us, our podcast is a great place to start. Tap here to listen, or search for JFDI with the two Lauras in any podcast player.

Of course, if you need help starting or growing your own business, The Social Media Manager’s Toolkit might help!

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