Sep 12, 2023

Real Career Stories: Social Media Agency Owner

Zack O'Rourke photo

byZack O'Rourke

Posted on Sep 12, 2023

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Curious to know how others got to where they are today in digital marketing? On the DMI podcast we get to chat with all sorts of digital marketing professionals - but their career journeys are all unique. 

In this clip, Zach O'Rourke tells us about how he founded and runs successful social media agency Social Directions but began his career in computer science before diverting to being a YouTuber before seeing an opportunity to help brands manage their social media. 

Listen to Will's full interview with Zach on the podcast, talking about Mental Wellness for Social Media Pros.  


Tell us what it is that you do and how you got there. 

Yeah, it's definitely not a straight path to where I'm at today. So obviously I am director of a social media agency based in Dublin and Ireland at the moment. And my journey in marketing started off really it dates back to possibly about 10 years ago when I was in college. I was studying computer science, went down that direction just because. I was told, you know, you are a computers guy, you're a techie guy, you should head into learn how to code.

So I went that direction but I certainly learned that wasn't for me. I was in college, I was possibly about three years into college, I had failed my second year, I was struggling with the passion for wanting to do computer science to be honest. I'm more of a person that I'm 100% if I enjoy it. So I was going through college and I decided to pick up a camera. Actually, I was, I was, it was around the time YouTube was super big. A lot of YouTubers were coming out there and I was quite fascinated by the fact that you could pick up a camera and create a video of your own, edit it by yourself and get it onto a platform, almost like, you know, being on TV, but without the need for the complexity.

So I started doing that, just building a YouTube channel, like dabbling with the the world of personal branding. Didn't really understand what personal branding was at the time, but I knew I could pick up a camera, I could create an idea from scratch myself. So I started doing that on the side of doing my college degree. And that got picked up. A few people started, you know, recognizing I was on YouTube, but they recognize in the way that they wanted me to film little ads for their business, you know, little walkthroughs of of a business, 30 second videos and they would pay me for this. So I was like on one side I've got this four year course in college in computing and on the other I have making videos which I actually get paid money for and I love. So I finished the course but at the same time I launched a business in video production which was very interesting business and just started working with the world of content creation.

Soon after finishing college, moved across to Canada, had to pack in the first ever business which was called Zora Productions. And sad time but just unfortunately without contacts in Canada I couldn't keep it up. And I jumped into a job, a corporate job in recruitment for two years. But about 18 months into that job I just realised that like I looked at social media and I was looking and I was thinking there's so many brands just that do it better. You know, the standard I felt was quite poor. And I said, I was just kind of struggling with working the nine to five as well. And I was like, you know, I'm going to, I'm going to try go into content creation again, but I'm going to try going in a way that I can get people onto retainers and earn some money frequently every month. And that's when I started to basically create content for brands, but also manage it in the on social media.

And the reason I was managing it further on social was just because I wanted repetitive work. It wasn't really because I wanted to, you know, I want it wasn't for the love of social. But then, you know, I over time, I just realised I really started to enjoy the process of building a brand and not just building content reserves, but actually taking that from start to finish and the idea of building a strategy. So, you know, that's a long story kind of squeezed to date and you know what that's what I've been doing for years since now is just building and building and building an agency and I think it was good timing as well because content seems to be the currency now in social media.

Yeah, more than ever. 

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Zack O'Rourke photo
Zack O'Rourke

Zack is the founder and director of Social Directions Agency, an Irish-based social media agency that uses results-driven marketing to get results for its clients. Zack and his team work with clients across multiple service and product-based industries and he believes that content is the currency is achieving your marketing goals.