Teenagers boost company’s social media following by 600 per cent

Two teenagers have proved having fun on TikTok can be valuable and educational after using their experience in social media to boost the online following of a business by 600 per cent.
Braith Mansfield and Tahmana Rudolph have taken over the social media strategy at Elm Professional Services after a work experience placement turned into an ATAR-recognised career opportunity.
Elm Professional Services owner Mia Van Tubbergh had plenty of business smarts – but no social media know-how.
So she turned to the younger generation and took on the two high school students who knew their stuff.
Social media is foreign to many older professionals – but very important for connecting with today’s customers.
“We have this workforce sitting in schools doing this already but they’re doing it for fun,” Ms Van Tubbergh said.
Ms Van Tubbergh’s company, which helps launch products to market, took then Year 10 students Braith Mansfield and Tahmana Rudolph on for two weeks’ work experience.

She was so impressed by the quality of what they produced, their quickness to learn and their work ethic that she kept them on as school-based apprentices.
The pair work one day a week with Elm at Gosford and the rest at Kariong High School and have grown the company’s social media following by 600 per cent as they complete an ATAR recognised Certificate III in Business.

Ms Van Tubbergh said with a bit of guidance and help with spelling and presenting in a professional environment, the boys now do about 80 per cent of Elm’s social media marketing work for clients “unsupervised”.
Their duties includes stand-alone posts on social media platforms, videos, stories and website “headers”, plus pitching to brands like Chemist Warehouse, Woolworths, PopBox, Marco Polo and Liberty Loves.
They recently finished a hard copy flyer that will be rolled out into about 250 grocery stores across Australia and an animated GIF for a major retailer that will be seen by every consumer who visits the website.
Ms Van Tubbergh said Braith, 17, and Tahmana, 16, — now in Year 11 — came into the business with a lot of untapped social media experience. Working at Elm has provided them with a “digital portfolio of work that is worth its weight in gold” – a valuable resource they can show other employers when starting a full-time career.

Braith said the corporate world wasn’t too big a leap from what they started off doing themselves with their own YouTube channel and podcast.
The boys are among 42 NSW Central Coast students doing Year 11 and 12 as part of a school-based apprenticeship and Training (SBAT) program.
NSW Education SBAT strategic officer Cecile Oakes said they needed more companies like Elm to take on students and give them the benefit of real world experience.
BRAITH AND TAHMANA’S TOP FIVE SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS:1. Be engaging. Make sure you have an engaging post and relevant, engaging hashtags;
2. Make sure your username and bio resonate with your page and business;
3. Be consistent with your posts, do it at the same time every week or every day and build interest by having stories over multiple TikToks to get people hooked;
4. Know your platform. Facebook isn’t dead, it’s just for older people or older brands. Keep your professional stuff on LinkedIn while you might be more fun or less serious on TikTok or Instagram. TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform and is overtaking Google as one of the top search engines while Instagram is more engaging — up to 10 times more engaging than Facebook and 54 times more engaging than Pinterest.
5. Know when to post. Platforms, like their audiences, have preferred times for content. Braith said the best time to post on Instagram, for example, is Mondays and Thursdays between 8pm and 9pm, while the time to avoid is between 3pm and 4pm.


ATAR-recognised: study that counts towards a student’s ATAR
business smarts: skills that are needed to successfully run a business
foreign: something unknown or unfamiliar
pitching: persuading or convincing
untapped: something very valuable that isn’t yet being put to good use
digital portfolio: a digital collection of work examples
corporate world: the world of work and running businesses
resonate: to be similar to what the audience thinks and believes

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QUICK QUIZ1. Why did business owner Mia Van Tubbergh recruit two teenagers to work on the social media strategy of her business?2. By how much did the two teens boost the company’s social media following?3. What are two brands the boys pitch to as part of their role at Elm?4. What is the fastest growing social media platform?5. When is the best time to post on Instagram?

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES1. Add to the list!Add another two social media tips to Braith and Tahmana’s list.
Time: allow 15 minutes for this activityCurriculum Links: English, Digital Technologies
2. Extension “Social media is bad for kids, and it should be banned.” Use the information in the story to write convincing paragraphs that either agree or disagree with this statement.
Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activityCurriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Digital Technologies
VCOP ACTIVITYRead this!A headline on an article – or a title on your text – should capture the attention of the audience, telling them to read this now. So choosing the perfect words for a headline or title is very important.
Create three new headlines for the events that took place in this article. Remember, what you write and how you write it will set the pace for the whole text, so make sure it matches.
Read out your headlines to a partner and discuss what the article will be about based on the headline you created. Discuss the tone and mood you set in just your few, short words. Does it do the article justice? Will it capture the audience’s attention the way you hoped? Would you want to read more?
Consider how a headline or title is similar to using short, sharp sentences throughout your text. They can be just as important as complex ones. Go through the last text you wrote and highlight any short, sharp sentences that capture the audience.


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