Mount Maunganui-based Digital Marketer Holly Shedden is passionate about Social Media Marketing. She studied NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing to strengthen her CV in a New Zealand’s “competitive” job market. It helped her land a great role at a Social Media Marketing Agency in Auckland, allowing her to work from home and deep dive into TikTok marketing.
Holly studied a Bachelor’s in Marketing and Communications at Massey in Wellington. This course didn’t give her the relevant skills needed to succeed as a social media marketer, or digital marketer.
“Back then, eight years ago, it was very much traditional marketing methods, rather than digital. Which is why I studied a Diploma in Digital Marketing at NZIE. University was quite out of touch; we studied TV and billboards, which is now a bit outdated.”
At 18, Holly moved overseas
She lived across Europe, Asia and settled in Vietnam for a while, in the beautiful cities of Hanoi and the picturesque Hoi An. In Vietnam she fell in love with Social Media Marketing after a Vietnam backpacker hostel hired her as their Social Media Marketing Manager.
Upon returning to New Zealand as she missed her country and family, Holy attempted to continue her career in digital marketing.
“I fell in love with travelling when I was in Vietnam. I worked as a travel agent for a little bit. My goal within the travel company was to start as an agent and then I wanted to eventually get into the marketing team.”
Things didn’t go to plan as COVID disrupted the travel industry, leaving Holly desperate for a job. She took a job with an insurance company, which “just wasn’t [her] passion.”
She wanted to get back to social media marketing, but knew she needed to upskill to score a job in New Zealand.
“[Digital Marketing in] New Zealand is quite competitive compared to Vietnam, I need to study and I need to further my degree. And that’s why I decided to study a Diploma in Digital Marketing at NZIE – so that I’m qualified and a standout candidate for jobs.”
Holly scored a job whilst studying
Whilst studying, Holly found a part time job at Maloney Maloney, an Auckland based Social Media Marketing Agency.
“I got lucky because they offered me a full-time job. And that’s where I am now working full time. I started working for them in December 2021 on a freelance basis. I really love it; It’s a great company. I was so lucky that as soon as I finished with NZIE I had a full-time job lined up the week after.”
Working From a Beautiful Home
She is able to work from home in her beautiful hometown of Mount Maunganui.
“That’s part of the reason why I wanted to do digital marketing. I wanted to progress my career. But I wanted do it remotely because I love living here. I do love Auckland and other big cities in New Zealand, but I’m not a huge city person.”
Her company made the role remote just for Holly, making it the perfect fit.
“I love working from home because I get so easily distracted from around people. I like being in my bubble. If someone comes and talks to me; immediately anything else I was doing goes out the window.”
She is able to work in digital marketing in Mount Maunganui, whilst looking after her cute dogs who would be difficult to accommodate in the city.
“I was very grateful when Jess – who is the owner and founder of Maloney Maloney – said that I could work from home. I still do go up to Auckland now and then. I just went up to Auckland for a few days for the opening of a new client’s restaurant and we went out there and did photo shoots. But most of the time I’m at home.”
Holly’s role started out as a social media assistant; completing community management, replying to comments and content creation. Holly quickly progressed to Social Media Manager.
“I’ve got several clients, and I manage all their social media accounts and strategies. Including ad accounts for Pinterest, TikTok, Meta, as well as doing content creation. It’s progressing very fast. But I’m so happy – I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m very grateful for it.”
Holly loves working in social media and is glad she took the risk to quit her job and study full time.
“Bettering myself by learning the skills that I wouldn’t know otherwise was so worth it. I went from assisting with social media channels to now completely managing them and strategizing.”
Digital Marketing Course Prepared Her for Role
Holly feels NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing well prepared her for her current role as Social Media Marketing Manager.
“Especially in certain aspects and fundamentals of Digital Marketing. Social media is so dynamic. You could learn things one week, and then within a month, something else has come into play, or there’s a new system. For me, the fundamentals [taught in the Diploma] is what really stood out.”
Other favourites were the Design papers, where Holly learnt Photoshop, Illustrator as well as videos in Premiere Pro. This paper helped her a lot when filming short form video content, in high demand for any social media marketer.
“Also learning about email marketing, because I had no idea about it, and at first wasn’t interested in that. I thought: Nah, that’s so old school and not for me. But it wasn’t until I did the course that I realised how important it was for marketing. That was another thing that I learned and I’m grateful for it because otherwise, I would have thought ‘No, it’s not important. It’s not relevant.’”
Challenges from the Diploma
While she learnt a lot, Holly found some aspects of the Diploma challenging:
“It was challenging. Don’t get me wrong. Although I was only working 10 to 15 hours a week, and studying full time, I didn’t have very much time at all. However, I felt I managed my time well – I was striving to do well in the course.”
She feels she struggled with the analytics paper, as her strength lies in more creative pursuits.
“I’m not a numbers person. And I struggled a little bit with SEO, to begin with. But towards the end of it, I was super confident, because started to understand it.”
Academic writing was also a challenge, although she is a self-confessed good writer, it wasn’t always easy to get her thoughts on paper.
“That’s why I liked the practical courses. I loved the design course. And the website building course. And social media course because I love getting Photoshop and Canva and like, creating things, but when it came to like the nitty gritty academic writing, I really struggled.”
More practical than University
Overall, the Diploma in Digital Marketing was more practical than Holly’s university degree.
“University was very much textbook heavy and also had exams; which I think are an unfair way of testing someone. I preferred NZIE’s Diploma, where we built a website, brand guidelines or created an academic report. We were going through ‘chipping away’ at our work and retaining the information we went. Whereas for an exam you just cram and learn as much as you can to get you by, and then you walk out of the exam, and you don’t remember anything.”
“NZIE’s Diploma in Digital Marketing course was a lot better than when I first studied at university. Due to it being more practical. I also really like studying and learning from home as I believe you get more done without distractions.”
A Major Client: RJ’s confectionery
Holly’s social media work with RJ’s confectionary is her favourite project. She also looks after some US based confectionary companies, which can be a bit of a challenge! She must pay attention to the difference in trends, plus avoid any New Zealand specific content such as native trees and flowers. Plus, a huge time difference – but they make it work.
Locally, her company works with Devils Fried Chicken on K Road, another business venture by her boss. Holly has the task of building the brand from scratch.
“We’re focusing on hitting Instagram and TikTok hard. The brand is in the early days, so we do require a lot of time to think about strategy and get content and build the audience.
Holly loves working at Maloney and Maloney because they get to choose their own clients.
“I get to work with brands that I love and that I’m passionate about. We’re going to expand in the food kind of category because it’s what we’re good at and who doesn’t like food? I feel like I am where I need to be.”
Passionate TikTok Marketer
Holly is passionate about TikTok marketing, and makes it her priority in strategy. She believes it’s better late than never with TikTok, but sees the benefit of jumping on the app early.
“It’s gotten so much harder than it was a year ago to get views or followers. So that’s what I’m focusing on now. A lot of my time is spent analysing trends and applying them to the nature of the clients. But I enjoy. TikTok is what I’m most passionate about, and what I think that I’m most skilled in.”
Video content creation is time consuming, and Holly says she could spend 20+ hours a week analysing trends, plus planning, filming and editing.
Success on TikTok
Holly has found success across TikTok for both her work and personal accounts. An Early TikTok on RJ’s account got over 90,000 views!
“It’s proven to be quite a good platform for them. I’m excited to see how we go with the other clients as well.”
She found the most success on her personal account however – with a funny video of her engagement at Cathedral Cove getting a whopping 2.5 million views!
“It just so happened that I picked the right music and video. But it just goes to show, you cannot always predict this stuff. I thought that it might get 20 likes and woke up that morning and had 1.8 million views!”
She sees TikTok as the app for making an impact with social media marketing.
“It’s the power of the internet when you get on the good side of the algorithm. I’m hoping to pull one of those through for my clients one of these days.”
Want to future-proof your career and upskill in Digital Marketing like Holly? Check out our Diploma in Digital Marketing.
Need a helping hand on TikTok? Check out our TikTok Marketing Short Course.