Advice From the Pros

Social Media Strategist Katie Leimkuehler on Creating a Unique Entrepreneurial Path

Empowering the masses through social media

Ten years ago when Katie Leimkeuhler was graduating from college, there was no such thing as a social media strategist position. Fast forward to the present day and this journalist turned social media maven makes a living helping businesses grow through social media management.

Katie’s sharing her social media expertise as the new guest instructor of our online learning course Social Media Video Strategy.

Vital Stats

Name: Katie Leimkuehler
Company: Leimkuehler Media
Title: CEO / Social Media Strategist & Trainer
Company: University of Denver
Title: Professor
Years with Company: 3

Hometown/where are you from? Cleveland, Ohio
Present hometown/where do you live and work? Cleveland, Ohio


College: Miami University of Ohio
Major: Journalism and Creative Writing
College: Roosevelt University
Major: MFA in Fiction Writing

Social Info

Instagram: @kleimkuehler
Twitter: @kleimkuehler
LinkedIn: Katie Leimkuehler

What was your first real job? How did you get it?

My first job was as a journalist at The Chicago Tribune. I was a writer and reporter for local suburban news. I heard about the job through a family friend.

Please describe what you do in your job in 1-3 sentences.

I train [and] coach people on how to use social media to grow their brand and business. I also help companies develop their social media strategies through analyzing their industry and goals, and finally, implementing it through social media management.

Is this where you always thought you’d end up? Or has your career been a wild ride of curveballs and left turns?

Almost every job I’ve had didn’t even exist when I was in college, so it’s definitely a surprise to me where I’ve ended up, but it’s better than I could have imagined. I love creating my own path as an entrepreneur, and I love helping people achieve their marketing goals. Nothing gives me more joy in life than helping other people promote their passions.

What inspired you to break into this role?

As a journalist, I used Twitter to get story leads—it was my first real taste of social media from a business perspective—and I was hooked. After that, I learned everything I could about the field, and now I get to teach people how to build their brands online, which is very rewarding.

What about your job gets you excited to jump out of bed every morning?

I absolutely love helping people solve problems. I love coaching people on social media and empowering them to do it themselves.

How do you stay on top of trends in your field?

I am constantly reading new blog posts and podcasts on a regular basis; especially since everything in the social media field changes so quickly, it’s important to know what is changing. I also follow a lot of top influencers on Twitter to make sure I’m on top of what’s happening and [I] opt-in for Google alerts as well.

What do you want to get better at/skills you want to develop and why?

I’m always working on developing my speaking skills, so when I’m giving presentations and trainings I can have the highest impact possible.

What leaders or companies in your field do you follow? What do you like about them?

Neal Schaffer, Neil Patel, Anne Handley, Jeff Bullas, Mari Smith—they all share highly valuable content that makes them standout from the crowd.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about this field/role?

That you can post on Facebook once in a while and call it a day. Most people think just posting something on social media will get results. They forget about the “social” part—engaging with other people. If you don’t interact with your fans or followers, they probably won’t be around for very long.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to break into this field?

Teach yourself. That’s what I did. Take courses and classes on your own, attend events, masterminds and meet people doing what you want to do. There is no quicker way to get to where you want to go than by asking ten individuals who have the job you want how they got there.

There is also no guidebook for this industry since it’s still evolving, but that also means there is the opportunity to be creative and find your way in—maybe through a door you haven’t even looked at yet.

Why did you choose to become a Mediabistro instructor and why do you think it’s important for people to learn the skill you are teaching?

I chose to become an instructor because I believe in empowering other people to solve their own problems with the right tools. Creating videos on social media can really help people leverage their brand and create a solid online presence.

What tips do you have for students taking your course?

Come in with ideas, but have an open mind on the types of video marketing approaches you can take and get creative.

What are you reading and/or watching right now?

I am reading The One Thing, which is fantastic. It’s all about focusing on getting the things done that matter most.

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