Brisbane Digital Spotlight is a blog series that aims to shine light on the exceptional talent within the city’s digital community. With each post, I uncover a devoted individual within my network who I’ve recognised to be deeply engaged in the digital industry. Whether it be a Digital Marketer, a Developer, a Co-founder, a Project Manager, or even a Recruiter – my goal is to highlight the work these remarkable individuals do; day in, day out.
In this instalment, I caught up with Florent Le Mens, the social media superstar at CQUniversity Australia. Flo’s passion for the digital industry is admirable as he not only remains on the cusp of the latest trends, but also takes pride in developing his personal brand. It was a pleasure catching up with Flo to hear about his background in social media, his future predictions for the industry, and his valuable advice on building a personal brand.
Tell us about your background, how did you end up in the digital space?
I’m a digital marketing and social media specialist with eight years of experience in both digital & social media. I have worked on groundbreaking projects for innovative brands and agencies in state government and education, insurance, social media and tourism industries.
For those that don’t know or have never heard me: I’m French (I think the accent gives away). I have been living in Brisbane for the last six years. When I meet new people, they ask: ‘Why did you move to Australia?’ I say my favourite line ever: “I came here for love”.
When I came here in 2012, I had experience in large corporations more as a digital person. At the time, I thought it’d be beneficial if I specialised in the social media space. 2012 was the year Facebook introduced Instagram, a ‘tiny’ 100 million users’ platform (Instagram could hit one billion active users by the end of 2018). I noticed that Australia was behind with social media and I thought it’d be great to shape my professional career in this field.
What does your role at CQUni entail?
Since April 2015, I have been working at CQUniversity Australia where I have been responsible for developing, implementing and expanding the University’s online marketing and social media strategies. I provide advice and direction to the relevant stakeholders. I work closely with the broader University teams to manage the creation and moderation of all social media content. I oversee posts and audience interaction. I am in charge of content delivery to drive increased social engagement for the University.
In a nutshell, I see my position as a ‘social media conductor’ where I connect the dots – but also the teams. It has been challenging for me to work in the education sector with multiple audiences, with a particular need to keep your fingers on the pulse and make sure you create neat content at the right times.
What are some emerging social trends you’re noticing?
Stories are the future of social media. I did not say it, but Mark Zuckerberg did in Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings call on January 31st, 2018. “We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts and feeds as the most common way that people share across all social apps.”
Zuckerberg even shared that Stories has an impact on “how [Facebook and Instagram] build product and think about [their] business.”
I am a big fan of Instagram Stories. We also use them for CQUniversity with great success. I think they are a great connector way to connect with your audience. I think they are real, uncut content in the eyes of audiences. Brands who document their journey with Stories make their brand approachable and human.
Another area I’d like to mention is Facebook Live, but unfortunately I can’t. I think brands struggle to get the perfect Facebook Live recipes. I remember in 2017, the US airline company, Southwest Airlines experienced a massive technology failure. Their COO jumped on a Facebook Live to respond to live questions from angry customers. I thought it was the best use of Facebook Live: be human in a crisis.
What’s a brand you’ve recently noticed doing it right on Social Media?
There is a lot I can talk about. I recently heard from the Former Global Content Editor of Tourism Australia, Andrés López-Varela, at a recent conference and I have to say, Australia as a brand is pretty good on social media.
On their platforms, they post user-generated content, which encourages fans to continue sharing their own stories and experiences on an ongoing basis. Their social media team is looking for the most inspiring, engaging, spectacular, funny or eye-catching content to share with their fans.
I really liked their campaign ‘Aussie News Today’ earlier this year. Aussie News Today aims to attract more young people to Australia by capturing humorous and interesting content to be shared across Tourism Australia’s digital channels.
I know outside of your role, you’re quite passionate about building a personal brand. What are some useful measure you’re finding effective for yourself?
I genuinely believe that everyone has to build their personal brand. Everyone should cultivate their personal brand. Your personal brand should be about who you are and what you have to offer.
My personal brand helped me to get the right jobs and increase my visibility in the marketplace. In 2013, I built my website and cleaned all my social media platforms from French to English.
I also connected with everyone that could help me to learn and get my name and expertise out there. I learnt all that I could and became the expert in that area. I can never stop learning. Read, absorb, and teach.
Sharing is excellent as well. Through my blog and freelance activities, I’ve had the opportunity to teach social media strategies to brands like 7 News Queensland, Triathlon Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
I’m sure that you get asked this a lot, but do you have any helpful advice for students who are looking to enter the digital space?
The first advice I’d give is to learn from the best. Identify someone in your industry you might consider to be an expert, then follow, read and watch this influencer. YouTube is the best place to learn. 73% of millennials on YouTube use it to gain a new skill.
Another piece of advice I give a lot is to work for free. Back in 2012, I connected with people on LinkedIn and offered my services for free to help them. This is the best way to gain experience and sharpen your skills.
What’s your favourite thing about working in digital?
I think it’s the constant change, the fast-paced environment and the ongoing challenges. Facebook or Google always change the rules of the game and brands and social media marketers need to constantly adapt.
I never considered the digital industry a boring one.
I also think in today’s day and age, it’s the right industry to be in. I mean, the industry grows so fast and new specialised jobs are popping up all the time.
One job I would consider in the future: Personal Productivity Person. With many social media and technology distractions, I could analyse people’s daily lives and teach them to silence their daily distractions to work harder and smarter. I might need one right now.
What are some of your favourite things to do around sunny Brisbane when not at work?
I like bushwalking and going out to enjoy nature with my friends. I think it’s important to disconnect from my weekly social media activities. It can be challenging to let go of technology, but I try to not look at my phone too much throughout weekends and with friends (or my wife – especially my wife).
We are pretty social as well and hang out with our close friends and family. Our direct families are not in Australia but we’ve made up our ‘Australian family’, and we like spending time with them.
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I’m a twenty-two year old Digital Marketing & Conversions Specialist based in Brisbane, Australia. With a passion for all things digital and tech, I aim to connect and learn from as many like-minded digital enthusiasts as possible. If you have a passion for emerging technologies and digital practices, I’d love to connect and hear your story.