I am Nigella Lawson. #WorkThatWorks as a Digital Mum

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dmI’ve been a bit quiet on here for the last few months as I have been in the final weeks of my Digital Mums Strategic Social Media Manager course. It is now over, I am free of report writing and I can step away from the biscuits and log off Moodle for good!

It’s official: I am a bona fide Digital Mum! My husband would tell you that I already was one, as I am addicted to my iPad, but I am now a fully trained iPad addict aka a Digital Mum. Since I started blogging I am even more obsessed with social media and doing the Digital Mums course made perfect sense, even if the decision to do it with a new baby might have been a bit hormone fuddled! I blogged about the course a few months ago but I have now emerged from the padded cell that is Moodle and I am set to graduate.

The course has been a real rollercoster, thought I’m sure that without a baby it would have been a relaxed stroll under some trees (or maybe not!). With Luther, especially whilst he wasn’t napping, it was really quite difficult. I had one week where I really thought I was going to pack it in but my fantastic peer group pulled me along. The course is essentially self-taught, but at a brisk pace and you have to keep up! Lessons are loaded onto Moodle, a sort of remote classroom. There is little contact with anyone at Digital Mums; there are a couple of tutor chats and questions can be posted on G+, but the real support and ‘sanity saints’ are your so-called peer group – a small group of fellow students to whom you are assigned.

I was part of the ‘Nigella Lawsons’ (a designated name rather than one of our choosing!) and there are five of us in this elite posse. We met up last weekend for a celebratory lunch (aside from one of our number who was trapped watching Peter Pan in Devon) and to actually check we were all real people! I feel really proud of us as a group. Over the six months everyone has struggled at times: meeting deadlines, coping with illness – we’ve had three trips to A&E between us! – and just keeping up with life in general.

I have worked from home for years and it can be incredibly isolating, but the peer group has given me an instant virtual office community. We notice when someone has had their hair done, or share quips about our families and have a laugh. It’s office banter. We were on WhatsApp constantly as well as having weekly Google Hangouts, and not just when work panic kicked in. I am looking forward to joining the Digital Mums alumni group on LinkedIn to keep the support going post study.

The course itself goes through busy periods then tails off and then picks up pace again. Each week that I was able to read ahead slightly I had a sense that I would make it through! I thought I was fairly social media savvy but it turns out I was wrong. Irony naturally dictates that the busiest course weeks are when a) baby won’t nap b) baby is teething c) baby will only sleep on your right arm, making it extremely difficult to use your iPad; but you get through it, and that’s the whole point of #dothehustle. You work when you can and where you can. I have to say I am extremely grateful to my husband for taking time to get my iPad set up so I could use it out and about! The freedom it’s given me! That’s what this course is about – training you up to work with a sense of freedom and not miss out on family or a career.

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I felt very excited when I signed up to the course, then named Strategic Social Media Management. As I mentioned a while back, I was partnered with a business and given the task of running a live social media campaign for them over the course of 9 weeks. Window to the Womb Surrey, based in Chessington, is a relatively new business offering baby scans.

The most challenging aspect by far was getting the work done. Seriously, I was digging time out of nowhere to meet the deadlines. Never have I been more desperate for Luther to nap. There really is nothing better than a sleeping baby when you have work to do!

Some weeks he’d decide sleeping was cheating and I’d have to work as I breastfed him, or as he pulled himself up to standing using my hair, or shoved his finger up my nose, or tried to rip my ear off. I skipped meals and lived off chocolate digestives to be able to find the time to work – it was almost impossible but I’ve managed it and I am thrilled!

I think my biggest ‘a-ha’ moment came relatively late in the campaign. To be honest, I had really lost motivation. My stats half way through were nowhere near my predicted KPIs and I felt like it had all been something of a waste of time. Then suddenly it all started to come together, I employed a few new strategies and my figures rocketed!

I think my biggest success was arranging for award-winning blogger, Fizzy Peaches, to have a 4D scan on the 3rd December and blog about WttW Surrey. This was excellent as it has been difficult to find high profile bloggers that are pregnant!

I was very pleased with my influencer engagements on Twitter. I interacted and had replies and @ mentions with top blogger Fritha Quinn aka Tigerlily Quinn, The Early Hour, Baby Björn UK, Chalk Kids, Single Slummy Mummy, Scummy Mummies and A Cornish Mum Blog.

I’d recommend the course if you love social media and have a huge amount of drive and ideally a nanny as well. I’m joking (just), but having someone that can help out when you need some time to work would be a good idea if you have little kids.

The future, I am looking for businesses that want ongoing social media support or targeted campaigns. I have my eye on a few businesses and I am busy writing pitches… wish me luck! Now that I’m a fully qualified ‘Nigella’ I’m going to go and change into a tight dress and eat pasta alluringly.

Nigella Lawson Book