Careers

This is what it’s really like to make a living from social media

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Hannah Keegan
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Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Social Chain co-founder Hannah Anderson takes us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights-out. 

Hannah Anderson, 27, is the co-founder of social media marketing agency Social Chain. She lives in Manchester.

MY ALARM GOES OFF…

At 6.30am, if I go to the gym. If I don’t, as late at 8am. It doesn’t take me too long to get ready; a shower, simple make-up, jeans and a T-shirt. I’m a social media addict and Twitter is the first app I’ll open in the morning. Then I’ll check emails and reply to anything urgent. My drive to work takes around 40 minutes; I’m listening to Sam Fender’s new album at the moment. 

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I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR…

Looking after the people within Social Chain. I genuinely get a pit in my stomach when someone is feeling like they’re not cared for or valued. I’m also responsible for the business and ensuring our brands are healthy, that we’re pushing boundaries and are thriving.

I GOT THE JOB…

By using Twitter as a hobby. I was fascinated by social media while studying to be a teacher. I opened accounts about Harry Potter and The Sims and gained thousands of followers. My co-founder Dom reached out and offered £1,500 to buy them, but instead I asked how we could work together. Mum said, “Are you sure you want to go off with these strange lads from the internet?” After I finished my degree, I joined full-time and we grew really quickly. We have more than 700 employees today. 

Faces like this are a common site in the office.
Faces like this are a common site in the office.

MY TYPICAL DAY…

Starts when I get to the office at 9.30am. We wanted the space to be a place where people wanted to be: we have sleep pods, a bar, a ball pit and slide, and plenty of dogs running around. We have two divisions: the agency and the media-publishing house. At the agency, we create social strategies for brands: engaging influencers, and creating videos and graphics and community management. At the publishing house, we create our own pages and monetise through working with brands.

When Facebook starting serving ads on videos that are more than three minutes long, we had to react quickly and shift our strategy to long-form. I think, “What new processes are we going to put in place? What new hires can we bring in to capitalise on this?” I do a lot of speaking engagements, too. Next week, I’m giving a talk to Nato in Poland on how their military leaders can use social media for good. That feels insane. I tend to take breaks throughout the day rather than have one hour at lunch. In the afternoon, if I need to concentrate, I’ll take my laptop into one of the pods. I leave at around 6pm. 

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MY MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT…

Was giving a TEDx Talk this year on social media and wellbeing. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.

THE WORST PART OF MY JOB…

Is giving negative feedback. I wear my heart on my sleeve and don’t like making people feel sad, but in management you have to be honest when something isn’t good enough.

THE BEST PART OF MY JOB…

Is the people, every time. There’s not one bad egg. 

Play is important as Social Chain.
Play is important as Social Chain.

AFTER WORK…

It tends to be social. We went to a comedy club last week and Thursdays are women’s football, where I recently broke my wrist. Other nights I relax by watching Netflix or playing a game such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. I usually cook something like chicken and rice for dinner. I’m asleep by 10.30pm.

My Plan B: Teacher

I trained to be a teacher, but I think the education system is broken. We make children study subjects that don’t mean anything to them. Really young kids are tested on things like phonics, rather than exploring the world. I’d like to teach in an environment where children are put first. 

Photography: Drew Forsyth

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Hannah Keegan

Hannah Keegan is the features writer at Stylist magazine.

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