Company profile: Digital Mums – providing flexible placements in social media for parents
With many small businesses looking to expand their digital knowledge and presence, there has been a social media boom across the UK. Yet despite an increasing number of freelancers specialising in social media and digital marketing, the availability of skilled and flexible workers at affordable rates is failing to keep up with the growing number of tech and digital startups across the South West and beyond.
“[We] realised that social media marketing could offer mums a genuine third way – family life and a career”
Digital Mums is not only tackling this by providing talent to small companies looking for freelancers, but they’re specifically training parents who often struggle to find flexible work to fit around busy parenthood – solving two problems in one.
As Nikki Cochrane, Cofounder of Digital Mums, tells us: “Myself and Kathryn Tyler (pictured right) first set up our own social media agency a few years ago and were overwhelmed with how many small businesses needed help to build and manage their social media presence.
“We knew we needed to take on more people and realised that mums would be the perfect solution as not only do they have a wealth of professional and personal experience, they actually want to work part-time and flexibly which is a perfect fit a for a small business’ marketing budget.
“Every four out of five of our graduates go on to find flexible work in digital afterwards”
“We also were both aware that maternal unemployment was a huge issue and realised that social media marketing could offer mums a genuine third way – family life and a career, rather than a compromise between them.
“So we stopped working for clients and started training up mums in social media instead.”
Work life balance
Since Digital Mums started in 2014, the organisation has worked with over 1,000 businesses and mums, improving work/life balance for parents and giving businesses access to high-quality flexible freelance talent so they can make the most of digital and social media.
“Our biggest success has been proving that you can run a successful business while empowering your staff to work on their own terms”
Kathryn adds: “We’re extremely proud of the fact that currently four out of every five of our graduates go on to find flexible work in digital afterwards.
Making the news: Digital Mums on BBC Wales
“Although we’ve won a few awards – we were named Red Women of the Year 2016 in the Startup category in October for example – probably our biggest success has been proving that you can run a successful business while empowering your staff to work on their own terms.
“We’ve grown from a team of just four to 30+ in the past two years and all of our team are empowered to work flexibly. Over 70% of our workforce are mums, and less than 20% are full-time and office-based. We want to show that this is not only possible, but actually a more efficient way of working that makes your business more successful, and your employees happier and more productive – spoiler alert, the two are linked.”
Digital Mums has two courses, both of which are six months long and focused on building market-ready social media marketing skills, so those that take part are prepared and able to move straight into paid work after finishing.
One is eligible only for mums from a marketing, PR, journalism or media background who are matched with a small business during training – like a digital work placement. They develop a social media marketing strategy and run the business’s social media platforms as part of the course.
Hear it from a Digital Mum: Victoria, a Digital Mum
‘graduate’, shares her thoughts about the course
The other is for students from any background. Rather than working with a business they create and run a live campaign on social media channels they set up, although the end result – getting job ready – is the same.
Both courses are accredited by the CPD Standards Office. So students receive certification at the end and for those that need CPD points to maintain their licence to practice or chartered status, the hours spent studying with Digital Mums count towards them.
Kathryn tells us: “We actively seek out small, growing businesses to match with our students because we know they really benefit from the support and because our students get to make a big impact on those businesses and it makes their experience in training much more memorable.
“Because they’re in training we charge a super low fee for it – £500 for six months social media support. We’re available UK-wide and we’ve had many mums and businesses join from the South West so far – the more the merrier.”
Thanks to Nikki for chatting to us about Digital Mums. To find out more about getting involved as a business or trainee, check out the Digital Mums website. You may also like to follow them on Twitter here: @DigitalMumsHQ.