Casey Watson on Building the Bloglovin’ community

Casey Watson on building the bloglovin community
Casey Watson, the face behind the success of the Bloglovin’ community

If you are a blogger or someone who loves discovering new blogs then Bloglovin is the place for you. Bloglovin is a platform that allows users to read, organize, and discover their favourite blogs on mobile and desktop. The major reason for the growth of their brand is due to their loyal community which is built and managed by Casey Watson.

In this interview Casey shares how her career led her to Bloglovin’, the best strategies for growing an online brand and the most important things to do whilst on your career journey.

Name: Casey d. Watson
Age: 28
Location: San Francisco, CA
Current title | Company: Community + Social Media Director | Bloglovin’
Education: BA in Art History, University of Colorado, Boulder | AAS in Fashion Marketing + Merchandising, Parsons
Social media pages: @bloglovin + @cdearbornw

Can you give us a brief outline of your background, the first job you landed and how you got it?

I graduated from Boulder in 2007 and immediately moved to New York. I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to do. So, the first job I got in the city was at a restaurant called Beauty & Essex, on the Lower East Side. Till this day, I would confidently say it was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. It pushed me in ways that I hadn’t experienced and threw me out of my comfort zone, which at 22 I desperately needed.

Your bio mentions that you studied a BA in Art History, have your career goals shifted since changing this?

Yes, they definitely have shifted! While I still love art and think that art speaks to and encompasses: fashion, politics, social media, history, as well as, shapes our everyday experiences I didn’t necessarily see myself working directly in that industry. Regardless of the fact that it is a field in which I love and have great respect for, it just wasn’t the right career for me in my early twenties.

After a year of working at the restaurant, and interning at a family-friends architecture firm, I decided that it was time to go back to school, which is when I applied to Parsons. This was when my career and future really started to take shape. While at Parsons I was given the opportunity to intern at Saint Laurent + Harper’s BAZAAR. Upon my graduation, I accepted a full-time job at BAZAAR in ad sales. From there I moved to eBay, and then a few years later ended up at Bloglovin’.

It has definitely been a wild ride to get where I am today but like they say, the journey is half the fun!

How did you manage to make a career change?

Parsons! My decision to go back to school had the biggest impact on my career. It opened doors that I felt would have otherwise been shut, as well as, armed me with the tools I needed to succeed. It gave me the work ethic I never really knew I had (I wasn’t always the best student until Parsons), as well as, a sense of confidence that I could, would, do anything I set my mind to.

As cheesy as this might sound, I really have found that if you are confident in yourself, your abilities, and have the willingness to do what it takes, you can do anything to succeed at the job.

Networking and putting myself out there was also a major way I gained exposure to different industries and job opportunities. For example, my mum met my boss from eBay, Michael Moskowitz, at an event in Los Angeles. After finding this out, I emailed him on a whim (after doing a hefty amount of research) with the subject line reading “Reaching Out Per Robyn Watson (my mum)”. He responded almost right away and one month later I was working for him. Before these instances, I never fully understood the importance of networking , it totally changed everything for me!

How did you get into Social Media management at Bloglovin’?

I met the Bloglovin’ Team at a happy hour they were hosting and immediately fell in love with the people, the mission, the aesthetic and the vision! When my former boss left eBay, I had this gut feeling that I needed to move to Bloglovin’ and luckily for me they happened to be hiring. The role was a Social Media Manager, something I had never really done (except on a personal level), but I was willing to do the work/research to make myself more desirable for the job.

Were there any challenges when you first started at Bloglovin’?

When I first started there was no social media strategy in place. So we really started with the aesthetic and went from there. I will never forget posting my first Instagram image for the account, I must have refreshed the feed 100 times to make sure we were stacking up to the number of likes we normally receive. I still get excited every time I post because, as much as you plan, certain images just take off more than others. It always interests me to see what people react to, whether it be within comments or likes or in certain cases, lower engagement.

What are the secrets to having a successful brand on social media?

 It’s equal part luck, timing, engagement and consistency. The luck part was very true for us on Pinterest, and consistency is something I have been very focused on across all of our channels. Whether it be the time of day we post and/or messaging we use, even down to the smallest details of where we tag our images, I want it ALL to be cohesive.

When you first start I think it’s important to remember that social media is meant to be fun!! And that sometimes what you set-out to do may change and that’s okay.

Failure is the best way to learn. So fail fast and move on even faster!

What’s a typical day for you on the job like, how do you manage such a large community of followers?

No day is the same, which I love! Mondays are probably my most consistent because they are spent doing housekeeping, catching up on emails, planning out the week ahead for Facebook & Twitter and sourcing images for Instagram. I never schedule meetings for Mondays, because to be honest, I am not a Monday person, so I usually leave them for later in the week, when I’ve freed up more time and I’m more charming.

The rest of the week includes maintaining social share partnerships, meetings with influencers, attending any relevant events in our industry, helping with recruitment for Activate by Bloglovin’ (which if you haven’t signed up, you should), finding candidates for Instagram takeovers and coding our weekly Community Newsletters. Of course, a majority of my time is spent on Instagram, I live in 6 of our feeds and I am constantly scrollin’.

How do you keep up to date with the growing community?

Our favourite way to stay up-to-date with such a large community is to do in-person meetings. We love when our community reaches out and wants to grab a coffee or come to the office. The more we get to know you guys in person, the better. If you’re reading this and want to meet in either Sans Franciso or NYC, please send us an email.

What is your favourite social media app?

Buffer + Planoly are my go-to tools! To keep everything organised on social, I use Buffer for Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter and I have just started using Planoly for Instagram. To be honest, I’ve always been slightly protective over our IG, so I am a super late adapter to using an app to keep things organised – but let me tell you, planoly is a GAME CHANGER.

Casey Watson on building the bloglovin community

What do you love/dislike most about your job?

In an effort to not sound totally cliché I will keep this part short n’ sweet. The coolest part of my job is that I actually love my job! For starters, I absolutely adore the people I work with. We laugh a lot, we have fun together and we remember that we are always working towards a common goal. I also dig influencer marketing and it has been epic to watch it evolve over the past couple of years.

What is the future of your career?

That’s a tough question! Right now I am really happy with where I am and where my career is headed. The biggest change as of late, is that I am working remotely for the company. So, for now, I can tell you that my future lives in San Francisco and in influencer marketing and the rest is yet to be seen.

Can you share a recent success story that makes you proud?

Honestly, what makes me the proudest is when we find a new influencer, and we are able to partner with them in some way or give them recognition. These women and men work really hard and it is rewarding when their careers take-off!

If you could go back and make any changes, what would they be?

Career or in life? Haha! I wouldn’t change anything about my career path. Even though at times, it has been messy, confusing and frustrating! It has all been fulfilling.

Every job has led me to my present job, a company I love, in an industry I have fun working in every day! I never knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I think that’s something you don’t have to know, but if you don’t jump in and start trying things, you’ll never know!

After all these jobs, I am still learning how exactly I want my future to look like. I can tell you with certainty what I am willing to do and not willing to do, and that’s thanks to jumping in and trying a million different things.

What’s the most important advice you have received?

My dad gave me a piece of advice when I went for my first internship in high school, that I have carried with me ever since. He told me, “Case, be that person that the company cannot operate without.” It was such an obvious thing, but that’s my dad, he always has the perfect way of phrasing something so simple, yet so essential. So I have strived to be that person at every job. Oh, and I always bring bagels on the first day — who doesn’t like bagels?!

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

I would tell myself to trust my judgement and to just go for it. There is no reason to not go for what you want. Telling yourself you don’t deserve something or aren’t as qualified is a waste of time! Go out, get yourself the skill set you need, fake what you can, don’t be intimidated because you don’t know what someone is talking about (google it later, write it down and remember it), and be the hardest working person they can find.  Say yes, work late and be that kick ass girl you’d want to work with.

Another thing I would tell myself is to look at who you will be working for, I’ve been beyond blessed with every boss. From the early days of hostessing at Beauty&Essex to eBay and now at Bloglovin’, I have only worked for the best of the best and it hasn’t only armed me with a specific skill set, but it has allowed me to forge lasting friendships and mentorships.

Who you work for can really matter and really help you in the long run. I have entrusted my career to each one of my managers in the past and each has been there for me at every turn. A big thank you to my current boss, Morgan Kaye! She took a leap of faith when hiring me, and I couldn’t be more thankful that she did. She is the definition of a #Girlboss and absolutely kills it at her job. On top of it, she has also been the most supportive manager and friend. Morgan is responsible for building Bloglovin’s entire Community Team and it’s working with people like her that keep our influencers and co-workers so inspired!

One thing that makes you  Younique?

At this place in my life, I think what makes me “younique” is my background. It’s so fragmented yet it works, just like life. Never think that you are stuck in a job or an industry. There is always time to change!

To learn more about Bloglovin and how you can join their growing community, visit their site. 

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