Social media has become a dominant force in most of our lives, and each social media channel has taken over the digital world by storm. Currently, over 2.3 billion people worldwide use social media. What was once for fun and for online social networking has become big business and a promotional opportunity for many brands, digital media influencers and businesses.
Many years ago, social media jobs simply did not exist. Now there are plenty of social media roles in abundance. Many of these roles are concentrated in digital media hub locations – such as London and Manchester - but there are also freelance, remote and contracted positions available.
The role of social media manager (or community manager) seems like a dream for those looking to work in social and digital media. If you would like to carve out a successful career in this industry, here are some things to bear in mind.
This is an obvious one, but you need to live, eat, breathe, sleep and love social media. If you don’t love social media, then you are certainly not going to enjoy a role that heavily involves managing and marketing a client’s/brand’s/business’s social media channels. You need to understand how social media works too. If you can’t understand impressions, analytics and engagement then this is definitely not the role for you.
This is another obvious point, but - duh! - you need to at least have a presence on social media. You don’t have to dominate all the social media channels, just two or three that are important to you. In an interview (or before) an employer would probably be interested in how you use social media for yourself and/or your brand.
Whatever we post on social media leaves a digital footprint on the internet forever (or at least, you know, a long time). Tweets featuring negative rants or Facebook photos of you drunk every night just won't cut it. Social media management is about brand management too, so an employer might not want to hire you based on your social media profiles if they feel as though the content you put out could reflect negatively on their business or brand.
A clean and positive presence on social media will help you look great to potential employers. Creating a professional identity online (via a website and/or LinkedIn) shows that you can do it professionally. So lose that party-power profile pic - fast!
You'll need to possess a plethora of skills if you're going to hold down any digital media role. These include but are not limited to:
To prepare for the role of social media and community management, undertaking work placements and internships - within marketing, advertising, public relations and social media – is a great way to enhance your CV. You can offer to manage social media channels for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups in order to gain vital experience.
While there are many social media management and marketing roles available, you may be required to wear many hats. Some roles include other aspects, such as content marketing, public relations and advertising.
As a social media manager, time management is imperative. When using social media, it's so easy to become distracted and procrastinate, so you need to be able to organise your time and create a schedule.
Regardless of your existing qualifications, taking courses relevant to social and digital media would be helpful and useful so that you can acquire various skills.
A professional website or blog is a great way to show off your credentials and what you have to offer. It shows a high level of expertise in your field, which looks impressive to prospective employers.
Using social media for personal use and using social media for business are two completely different things. Social media management involves creating and implementing a social media strategy that will benefit the business or client you’re working for, and if you apply for a role in community management, chances you’ll be expected to create a strategy in your interview. Social media is all about being sociable - this isn't a role for introverts or those who shy from the limelight. You're effectively marketing a brand. If you can't stand the pressure of being a company's online 'face', you won't go far in this world.
Got your bearings? Good. Now go forth, my child, and socialise... digitally.
Chichi Ogwe writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs, visit their website.
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