Recent college graduates face a still-sluggish job market and student loan burdens that are higher than ever, but none of that fazed new Roger Williams University graduate Abby Moreau. When she didn’t get much response to the resumes she sent out, Moreau decided to skip the job hunt altogether and start her own business, a social media company called Social Gal Abby. http://www.socialgalabbyonline.com
Moreau hails from Leesburg Virginia and majored in economics at Roger Williams. Tall, dark-haired and a self-described fashion enthusiast, she seems to know just about everyone at the Roger Williams Business School.
“It’s such a small school that you know pretty much everybody,” Moreau said. “But it’s not like high school everybody, it’s like a family, so it’s really nice. I’ll miss that the most.”
Moreau may miss her friends now that she’s graduated from Roger Williams, but she is still surrounded by family. Like many new college graduates these days, Moreau has moved back home with her parents in Virginia. She is hoping the move will be a temporary while she seeks more clients for her social media consulting company.
“It can be from the local coffee shop to a huge company,” Moreau said of the type of clients she hopes to attract. The only qualification is that they take an interest in developing a presence on social media websites.
“Social media takes time and planning,” Moreau said. “I can come in as kind of like a consultant and help them learn how to leverage themselves online.”
Leveraging a company online means figuring out which social media platforms to use, and Moreau, who describes herself as an internet junkie, is familiar with all of them.
“Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest all of that,” Moreau explained, adding that she writes posts for her clients, developing a special voice for each one. “It’s really great for me because I get that creative side of it too.”
Moreau says smart companies are using sites like Facebook and Twitter to offer special discounts and get their customers to tout their products to their friends. That’s the kind of service she can offer to clients, who may be less addicted to social media than she is.
“People always are like oh, you’re always on your phone. I’m like yeah, I’m always tapped in,” Moreau said. “Do you want to get a deal for wherever we’re going? Their Twitter probably has like 20 percent off.”
The idea of checking Twitter before heading out on a shopping trip may not occur to everyone, but Moreau thinks it’s a marketing trend that will grow as companies recognize the potential to reach a large audience.
“There’s this gap of technology, or not technology but of this constant online persona that people my age are so obsessed with,” said Moreau. “You can contact so many people with one tweet and sell a product and get so many followers on there. It’s crazy to think about.”
Moreau gets excited when she describes the work she’s doing, and she’s already landed several clients. But this isn’t how she expected to launch her career. She always thought she’d put her degree in economics to work at a large company.
But new numbers out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics show an unemployment rate for young people between 20 – 24 that is nearly double the overall unemployment rate. How to kick start a career is a dilemma facing many college graduates as they try to enter a working world that has yet to emerge from the long shadow of the economic downturn.
“I think it’s on everyone’s minds,” Moreau said. “We’re a lot luckier than some people a few years ago when it was the worst.”
Even as the economy improves, Moreau is not alone in moving back into her parents’ house.
“I know a lot more people moving home with their parents and taking that year to save,” Moreau explained, adding that she never thought she would be one of them. “I always said oh god, I’m not going to move back in with my parents. I love them but I want to move! And now I’m like thank goodness I have them to fall back on.”
Abby Moreau is hoping social media will provide a new frontier in the job market, even if it means going into business for herself. And as for warnings that Facebook’s popularity is waning, especially among college students? Moreau says don’t count on it, at least not yet.