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social media marketing in digital age

How adult learners can thrive in a tech-reliant world

social media marketing in digital ageOne of my business clients described herself as a “dumb blonde with a Smartphone.” That certainly wasn’t true, but it’s a feeling many of us Generation X-ers can relate to. We didn’t grow up in the digital age, with a phone in our pocket, a laptop on our desk, and the world at our fingertips. Some of us didn’t even take a typing class.

Dinosaur in the digital age

When I enrolled at NWTC in 2015 I was carrying a flip phone. That pretty much sums up my digital literacy at the time. To get ahead in today’s workforce, it helps to be tech savvy. It’s one of the reasons I returned to college. I wanted to feel more comfortable using the technology most people take for granted. I really challenged myself by enrolling in the Social Media Marketing program.

Marketing instructor Ronnie Coyle once told me “Age doesn’t matter.” When it comes to adapting to the digital world, what’s important is a willingness to learn, experiment, and spend time with the technology.

Learn as you go

My Microsoft Word class laid the foundation for working on posters, reports, and presentation materials. My Excel class helped me with accounting homework. Over time, using these programs became more comfortable and intuitive as I kept experimenting. Plus, I learned the power of the phrase “Just Google it.” Chances are someone has already asked your question, and someone else has answered it. I view Google as an embarrassment-free way to ask a really silly question. In my social media marketing classes I created a Twitter handle, Instagram account, and WordPress site for blogging. When I told my sisters “You should follow me on Twitter” they just laughed because they knew I was way out of my league. What they didn’t realize is that I was making progress.

Find a buddy

I know I have plenty of company when I say my kids taught me almost everything I know about using technology. My daughter was my go-to person, and she helped me take my first selfie and design my first marketing poster, created for the NWTC golf outing. After enrolling at NWTC I took the orientation course for Blackboard where I learned how to submit assignments and use the online discussion board. In my NWTC classes, I was an observer, watching and learning how to create, share, and change a Google document and answer questions in Kahoot!, an online quiz game.

Catching on

It all took patience and practice, and I’m still learning. I know NWTC has my back, with academic resources and classes to help me continue learning. If you recognize your own shortcomings while reading this article, take heart! If a dumb brunette with a flip phone can jump into the digital age, so can you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Koehne, of Abrams, is a 2017 graduate of NWTC. A former newspaper editor, she co-owns Writer to the Rescue, the content writing division of Packerland Websites.

Professional bio written by Joan as newspaper editor

3 Steps to Writing a Catchy Professional Bio

If you believe your employees are your greatest asset, then the Staff Page of your website needs to reflect this belief. The Staff Page gives you a platform to showcase the people who make your business tick. Web visitors can identify who’s who by looking at the photos of key people posted on the page. These photos build an association between the individual and the brand they represent. Each photo should be accompanied by a professional biography that is written with flair. A catchy biography keeps visitors engaged and interested in learning more about you and your brand. That interest can lead to conversion in the form of sales and brand loyalty.

Professional bios written for Packerland Websites' staff
Three members of the staff of Packerland Websites.

Professional bios are easy as 1, 2, 3

Here is the three-step process I use to write an employee bio.

  1. I begin with brainstorming. I make a list of things that are important, like job responsibilities, current and past employment, hobbies, accomplishments, and interesting facts.
  2. I narrow the list to several key ideas.
  3. I take these ideas and work some magic on them to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.

Focus on a strength

Here’s an example from my own professional bio. In the brainstorming phase, I identified writing as one of my top skills. Then I came up with the following:

“Joan Koehne has been correcting people’s grammar since she was a kid. Since then, she’s turned this annoying tendency into a career…”

Recognize your hard work

Professional bio written by Joan as newspaper editor

I used words in a creative and effective way when I worked as a newspaper editor, and I use the same skills when writing professional bios.

In the brainstorming phase, key words should pop out to describe employment, past and present. Adding employment history reveals the scope of career experience and highlights some sought-after skills.

Here’s how I wove my work experience into my bio:

Joan … now works as editor of a weekly community newspaper in Oconto Falls, where she’s a prolific writer and passionate photojournalist. Before covering this beat, she had a rewarding gig as a substitute teacher and religious education facilitator.”

Emphasize lifelong learning

Aside from work experience, education is another topic to incorporate into a bio.  Earning a degree demonstrates knowledge and proficiency in a particular subject area, so it’s important to include college studies in a bio. Formal schooling isn’t the only path to wisdom, so expertise learned in nontraditional settings should be considered, also.

Here’s my example showing how I integrated my college degree and current studies into my bio:

“Joan is a college graduate, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and recently hit the books again, this time as a social media marketing student at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.”

Professional bio includes Joan as NWTC award winner.Blow your horn

Do any awards or recognition appear on the brainstorming list? A professional bio allows employees to blow their own horn without sounding pompous.

After graduation, I added this line to my bio:

“A 2017 college graduate, Joan achieved highest honors and the Marketing Student of the Year award.”

What’s your happy place?

I add personality to casual professional bios by showing what brings the person happiness. Here I tell what a person is passionate about outside of work: hobbies, interests, community involvement.

This is how I concluded my bio:

“She’s crazy about her husband, her two kids (Can they really be that smart and be my children?), the Milwaukee Brewers and her Catholic faith.”

Match style with audience

I wrote the bio above while I was a marketing student at NWTC as a way to introduce myself to other students and to my instructor. My bio was written in a casual style to match my audience in a college setting. Once I graduated from NWTC and started a business, my professional bio needed updating.

Here’s another sample of my professional bio, written for the Staff Page of on the website of Packerland Websites and used as my blog signature:

“Once a mild-mannered reporter and editor, Joan Koehne has taken on the persona of her alter ego, Wonder Writer, and is saving the world one word at a time. In 2017 she went up, up and away to launch a writing services business, Writer to the Rescue, a division of Packerland Websites. A 2017 college graduate, Joan achieved highest honors and the Marketing Student of the Year award.”

The professional bio I send to news outlets to accompany news releases is short and formal:

“Joan Koehne is a former newspaper editor who co-owns Writer to the Rescue, a Green Bay-area writing services company that specializes in website content, blog articles and news releases. To learn more, visit”

Let’s get started

Writing professional bios is one of the services I offer clients of Writer to the Rescue, a division of Packerland Websites. Employees need professional bios that “sell” them to their audience. I can help make that happen. Contact me today to get started on a professional bio for yourself and your key employees.