Chick Chat: Meet The Woman Changing Social Media One Tweet At A Time
MEET MELISSA KIMBLE, THE SENIOR SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER FOR EBONY MAGAZINE AND CREATOR OF BLKCREATIVES
CNKDaily is back with our Chick Chat series where we sit down and to know the true Girl Bosses making things happen in their respective fields. After our first Chick Chat with Popular Demand’s Marketing Director, Monica Lin, we took it to the Windy City for a one-on-one with the Senior Social Media Director for EBONY and creator of the BlkCreatives Network, Melissa Kimble. We had a chance to discuss her upbringing, what’s next up in social media, and how it feels to run social media for a brand that’s been in business for 70+ years. Get your #Chickspiration on with our #WCW below.
HER LIFE STORY IN CLIFFSNOTES
"My mom taught me how to read at a really young age, I was like two. So, that had a huge incredible effect on me as a writer and really birthed my love for reading and just telling stories and that was really kind of the foundation of where I am. I basically come from a single parent household. It was me and my brother growing up in the early years and my mom got remarried later on in life. I was born here in Chicago, I was here until I was about 9 years old and then moved down south. So, I think being able to grow up in a little bit of [both] gave me the ability to be able to connect and built with different people from different backgrounds and different walks of life."
HOW SHE HIT THE RESET BUTTON ON HER LIFE AND MADE IT WORK
"Honestly, I would want it to be one of those stories where I just felt like it was just this thing that I had to do, but literally when I was in Atlanta I hit rock bottom financially, spiritually, emotionally and I really needed to give myself a chance to really start over and focus on what it is I really wanted to do. Really, I just got to the end of my rope. I had already left Tennessee because of some personal stuff that I didn’t want to go back into. Chicago, I had never lived here as an adult. I’d been here as a kid so I thought, why not give it a shot and see what I can pursue? It’s worked out really well, thank God, so far."
WHEN SHE DIDN'T LAND HER DREAM JOB, SHE CREATED ONE
"I really started it right after I graduated from college. I graduated in 2009, right at the peak of the recession. So, trying to get a job in media or what I originally wanted to do was just out of the question. I was working at FedEx and just needed something to kind of keep that momentum going from college so, I just decided to create my own website. It started off really as a platform for young black authors because I knew so many at that time who weren’t really getting any recognition but, as I began to really think about the platform and what it is that I wanted to do with it, it really occurred to me that I knew so many people who weren’t just writers they were also designers or in marketing or in business or some type of creative.
[What is now BlkCreatives] started off really just as a platform for women and further down the line we kind of opened up the conversation to creative men as well. I think this past year we really have shifted into more of a lifestyle brand so, while we do focus on personal and professional development we also do it from a very mission driven community focused type of perspective. We’re helping creatives build the life they see for themselves professionally which also connects to a great deal to your personal development. We also want to shift the culture to from the inside out."
SHE'S A SOCIAL MEDIA BEAST...WE'RE TALKING M'S.
"It’s a lot of fun. I think my proudest moment is when people say that they can really see a difference in the social media presence. [There’s] something to be said when working with such an iconic brand. When I got to EBONY, I really wanted to make sure that I came in and I wasn’t trying to use this position to be self-serving but to really focus on the work.
When I first came in I think Facebook was maybe [between] 96,000 and 97,000 likes. I’ve watched [Twitter] grow into over a million and 1.5 million on Facebook and [I haven’t even] been here a full year. Not only [did we] find the voice and the social presence for such an iconic brand, but [we’ve] really been able to help put the brand in a position where we are exercising our authority. So many people seem to forget that the foundation of black media really did start with EBONY and Jet Magazine decades ago. Just being able to be at the forefront with all the digital and social and being [able] to represent for an iconic brand for black America on a daily basis, I think that’s something I’m the most proud of."
...AND WHERE DOES SHE SEE SOCIAL MEDIA HEADING NEXT?
"I definitely think that a lot of social media now is very influencer driven which, I think is a smart move but in the next 5 years, I think that the way information is delivered on social is going to change. I think it’s going to be less about authority and more about influence. Eventually people will get tired of being told what to do and then they’re going to say “I just want to do it myself. I don’t need someone to tell me what to do. I just need to get a feel of how you do it.”
I think social media has always been a very consumer driven vehicle and the power will continue to stay in the hands of the consumer. I think eventually #blacktwitter and these different influencers [who] don’t get the credit they deserve for it, are going to see a shift where we control more of that narrative. We’re [going to be] able to benefit off of it as opposed to other people taking it from us so, I definitely see it heading in that direction. Less about authority and more about influence."
DON'T FORGET TO CHECK IN...
"I’ve had to learn to slow down and really check-in with myself so, I’m avid in journaling. I’ve kept a journal since I was 9. [I’ve also] really learned how to take the time to workout. I’m really a big advocate now of taking breaks. That may seem crazy in this industry, but you have to do it. You have to build in that time to just live your life and not always get so caught up in work stuff. Just take the time out to live and enjoy [life] because it is short and you only get one."
IT'S OKAY TO STEP AWAY
"It’s okay to unplug, it’s okay to step away. Just because something isn’t working, it isn’t necessarily a personal attack on me. If it’s not working, it’s just something that’s not working and I have to allow myself to be okay with that, let it go, and move onto the next thing. [ I can’t get] caught up on anything that is negative."
DEAR LADIES: KNOW YOURSELF!
"I feel as women and as girls, we have [a need] to take care of x, y, and z. At an early age, we are kind of programmed into that so, we kind of miss taking the time out to really learn who we are, but there is so much power in self-awareness. It's something I really wish I'd grasped in middle school; knowing who you are and what you stand for, what you'll tolerate and what you won't.
[That] gives you more power to create the type of experiences that you want for yourself. Take the time to explore because a lot of time we'll get messages that say "you should be doing this..." and "you're great at this and should be doing this" and you look up and you're not doing anything that you wanted to do. Learn your voice and intuition and it'll never steer you wrong."
ON #CHICKSPIRATION AND WHAT IT MEANS TO HER
"Finding inspiration from other women who are willing to share their knowledge, their journey, and the things that they’ve overcome. Really using our power as women to just come together and really build and to just help each other. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. That’s how I know Channing and CNK so, I think really just using our collective power to come together and really make a difference."
Want more from Melissa? Hit her up here and be sure to check out her amazingly inspiring self on social media via the links below.