As I started my fourth semester of university, I began to think about summer jobs. During my search, I found an application for an internship.
“Basecamp is looking for interns for summer 2017”
Being so early in my degree, I definitely didn’t think I was qualified, so I sent it along to some friends who I thought were great candidates. I didn’t intend to apply, but eventually gave in to a friend who told me that I should. I was hopeful, but I wasn’t really expecting it to go any further than the application.
Two interviews and several weeks later, I somehow landed the internship.
. . .
I’m Megan and for the past twelve weeks, I have been the customer support intern at Basecamp.
Basecamp interns don’t fetch coffee. Being in a remote position would make that task pretty difficult. 😄
Instead, we work on projects that matter to us. We get to contribute real improvements to the company with guidance from our trusty mentors.
So what did I do for twelve weeks?
I worked on coming up with ways to improve the Basecamp social media presence — specifically on Instagram. Outside of Twitter, Basecamp’s social media platforms (Instagram and Facebook) lacked in content and consistency.
I decided to diverge from the traditional marketing and advertising approach that most companies use on Instagram. Instead, my main focus was on customer education. I wanted customers to look at our social media and to be able to learn things, talk to us, and to ask questions. I also wanted to make sure that Basecamp customers felt like they were talking to someone in customer support, and not to an advertising team.
How did I create a learning environment out of a platform meant for marketing?
I didn’t immediately know how I was going to approach the project. It took some trial and error before we arrived at the idea to create an educational space out of Instagram. I started out with the intention of doing the high-quality photos we typically see on Instagram, along with a few educational Instagram stories. These stories were only up for a 24 hour time period. After a few weeks of this, I began to realize the value of customer education.
With guidance from my mentors Chase and Merissa, I decided to move the educational Instagram stories to permanent posts. I also replaced my higher-end photography posts with educational posts and useful tips to help our customers get the most out of Basecamp. Instead of just liking our posts, Customers began to comment and thank us for sharing these tips. People mentioned that these posts were teaching them new things, and helping them with their work flow.
The customer education approach became the core of my internship. I thoroughly enjoyed using Instagram differently than most other companies, and it was rewarding to know that our customers were levelling up their Basecamp skills because of it.
With my internship wrapping up, my mentors and I have been preparing for my departure. I’m passing on what I’ve learned during the past few months to other team members that will be taking over Basecamp’s social media sphere. I love that the team is taking my work and applying it to how they’ll use social media in the future. It’s a reminder that my work here matters. Even though I’m only an intern, I can still make my mark on the company.
Basecamp has created an excellent program for their interns. Not once did I ever feel helpless. My mentors were readily available to answer my questions, to share ideas, and to point me in the right direction. When it was after my mentors’ work hours, I always had the option of reaching out to dozens of other team members who were always more than happy to help.
The best part of this whole experience was being able to work on a project that actually meant something to me. My project was by my design, and I was in charge of the direction it went. The company could have so easily laid out a schedule of meticulous tasks and projects for the interns to do. But instead, our mentors created a space where we could actually share our ideas and make our mark on the company. They really make you feel like you’re an important part of the team.
I have learned a lot from this experience. This internship has provided me with the tools to be confident in myself and my abilities to work in a professional environment. I’m grateful that I got to be a part of this awesome remote team. It’s been interesting to test out different social media approaches and to arrive at the educational niche that fits Basecamp so well. I’m also excited to carry on all of the things I’ve learned from this internship to my career in the years to come.
I want to thank everyone here at Basecamp, and all of the customers who I talked to along the way, for making this internship an unforgettable experience.