Eight tips to start your social media career

Social media engagement is a top priority for most companies. They want to know how best to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites to build their brand and gain market share. This increased focus often means hiring new, specialised talent to lead innovations in this space.
Given that social media as a business tool is a fairly recent development, employers may struggle to find new employees with a proven track record. We’ve found that some organisations are open to consider candidates with a generalist marketing background, with the potential and enthusiasm to succeed in a specialised social media role.
If you’re a marketer interested in getting involved in this emerging  field, read the top eight tips we’ve learned from candidates who have been successful in developing their careers in social media. 

Confirm your career choice 

Social media roles are often autonomous and can be unstructured and fluid due to the constantly changing nature of technology. If you’re after a steady job with no surprises, a career in social media may not be the best choice for you.

Get an awareness

Investigate all the popular and niche social media channels and become proficient on at least 4-5 different sites. Find out what other sorts of programs and applications could add value to your skill set (a basic knowledge of HTML, how to work with a CMS for example). Also familiarise yourself with the terms and language specific to the sector.

Educate yourself

Formal qualifications and professional exposure needn’t be a full time affair. There are several short courses offered by organisations like the IDM. Attending conferences dedicated to social media can be a great learning experience, and opportunities for networking too. If you’re able to shadow a social media expert, it’ll also give you good insight into the day-to-day remit of the role.

Learn on the job

Many social media experts have transitioned into the role from other related fields. If you already have a marketing, journalism or advertising focus (to name a few), see where you can get involved in social media initiatives in other areas of your department. 

Demonstrate your passion

Those who succeed in this emerging field have a real belief in new communication channels, technologies and ways of working. Make sure you’re a personal advocate for the value that social media can bring to an organisation – be it a small, family owned operation or a corporate blue chip.

Build your personal brand

You may have a presence on some of the more popular networking sites, but now it’s time to use them professionally. Ditch the dodgy pictures and tales of your weekend away, and showcase your expertise by creating meaningful content that gains you followers and fans.

Grow your network

What better way to cement exisiting relationships and extend your network, than connecting online? Make sure that when someone views your profile, you’re connected to industry experts and those in the know. No only will their expertise add value to your growing skill set, being well-connected is a definite advantage in the social media world. Various sites make managing these relationships more simple, but make sure you also attend events and seminars to get yourself noticed.

Offer your skills for free

Putting all the theory into practice is the most valuable way to prove your proficiency. If you’re starting out on your own, offer a free social media analysis to a couple of SMEs in your industry/region. Get involved where you can with friends’ (or your own) businesses and document the steps you’ve taken to achieve results, and your success. If you’re already part of a large marketing department, volunteer your skills and time for any internal social media initiatives that are going on.
For access to the best social media jobs or for more information about developing your career in social media, get in touch with the experts at Michael Page Marketing.