By Mary Liebowitz

August 21st, 2014

“Social media” is still a hot term in job searches these days. Roles in the industry appeal to those of us who are outgoing, or great communicators, or just enjoy being in the middle of everything.

When you work in social media management, you are a part of a brand’s identity – and with a sizeable chunk of consumers using social media to research or interact with businesses, the pressure is on. Your social media audience expects you to respond quickly, handle crises with flair, and they will be ready to publicly roll you over the coals if you misspeak. This type of job goes both ways – you have to believe in the brand and the brand’s vision, and the company must impart a trust in you to carry this out well.

concentrate

IT’S BOTH A JOB, AND A SKILLSET

For many, social media is the starting point for evolving a practical set of skills that can carry you further into different aspects of a business. For others, it’s an opportunity to dive deeply into understanding social trends and behaviors, and make the tactical decisions that steer your brand’s social voice over time.

Here are some ideas to help you be great at a role in social media:

  1. Hone your writing. You might have thought “develop your social presence” would be my number 1 idea, but honestly, a good writer can wrangle their way through all kinds of difficult social media situations.
  2. Develop your social presence. Know social channels inside and out, as well as their advertising options. The best way to do this is through practice, but read up on what the experts think as well, and apply it to your work.
  3. Advance your analytical skills. You must think strategically, and understand the performance of your work. You also need the ability to align your strategy to business goals, KPIs and ROI.
  4. Attend conferences. Learn what it’s like to work in the industry from the people who do it daily. When you can’t attend in person, follow an event’s hashtag, and jump into conversations.
  5. Have a vision. Understand where you can go with a social media presence, and the steps needed to get there. Be prepared to contribute your ideas, as well as defend them.
  6. Get your long-term perspective in place. You will customarily be responsible for a budget, plan an editorial calendar months in advance, and need to handle all the moving communication pieces together with other internal teams. People often underestimate the strategic and analytical aspects of a job in social media, but in actuality, it’s far from a fluffy professional role.

I think that many times, getting a job in social media can boil down to whether you’re a good fit for the company. You can easily tick off all the right boxes, but you have to “click” with the team or hiring managers. A company will often consider your own social presence, and how your voice matches their plans for the brand. If you don’t get the job right away, it can just be a question of finding your personal niche.

If you’re looking for some guidance for your social business, our Customer Strategy team may be able to help. Looking for a job in social media? Please check out our open positions!

Social Storytelling with Harvey Nichols.

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