Do you check Twitter in the morning before you check the weather? Is the last thing you do before bed to catch up on Instagram? Obviously, you should pursue a social media career, right? Not so fast! With each graduating class of collegiate students it seems there are more and more young professionals with dreams of a career in social media marketing. While working in the social industry is incredibly fun and rewarding, there are a few things you don’t usually learn until you get into the nitty-gritty of the work. Here’s what to keep in mind when deciding to dive into the world of being a social media professional.
Networking is everything
See also: Internships.
Simply using social media in your personal life won’t get you that dream job. Internships, like our program at Everywhere Agency, allow you to get a glimpse at all the intense, behind-the-scenes work that goes into that Instagram post you liked, the Facebook post you shared, and that hashtag that’s everywhere all of a sudden.
Be sure to have a few internships under your belt to see which niche is most interesting to you and what area of social media you’d excel at. During these internships, build your web of connections by networking as much as possible. Take initiative by researching networking events and conferences to attend. Finding an internship that supports widening your network is even better. Don’t just collect business cards – keep in touch!
One more #protip: make sure your LinkedIn is up to date and your social profiles are cleaned up. Hiring managers are absolutely stalking you before an interview.
It takes time
See also: Social media never sleeps.
One huge difference from working in social media compared to other fields is that social media is 24/7. Be prepared to be expected to respond to Tweets or Instagram comments – even on the weekends. But let’s be real, you’re already checking those anyway. While it is a time consuming profession that doesn’t always have clearly defined 9-5 hours, it’s also a majorly rewarding profession. The perks are great, the work is creative, and you get a chance to let your personality shine. (It is SOCIAL media after all.)
Writing is crucial
See also: Yes, you still need to put pen to paper.
While writing for social is very different from writing a press release, it’s still vital that you are a phenomenal writer. Working in social media means you are creating content, and while social media allows you to write in a casual style, you still need to know how to assemble multiple thoughts in a cohesive manner, love and practice the rules of grammar, and be able to spell.
Putting words together in a creative yet digestible way is also extremely important. One day you may be writing LinkedIn copy for a mature, professional brand and the next you could be using “Mean Girls” references in an Instagram post. Each brand voice is different, messaging goals vary, and both can change depending on what social channel or platform you’re posting to.
But don’t get it twisted, long-form writing is super important too – blog posts for example. 😉 Being able to switch between a formal and informal communication style is invaluable. So while much of your day may be consumed with status updates, you still have to know how to craft a good narrative.
It’s not about you
See also: Client relations matter.
One thing that’s incredibly hard to learn in a classroom is how to build client relationships. Straddling the line of friendly and professional can be challenging. Working in social media means you are responding to a client’s demands and working within their timeline – not yours. Your number one job is to make your client’s job easier. The ultimate way to keep everyone happy? Deliver desired results and become a badass problem solver! There’s nothing we love more than creating friendships with our clients based on trust and great work.
Learning never ends
See also: The continued education is real.
In social media, the landscape is constantly changing. You never know when a new social network is going to be the “must have” app. In times like those, you’ve got to jump on it, learn what you can, and advise your clients on if it’s a good fit for them and their goals. Contrary to popular belief, clients don’t need to be on every single social platform, and each app isn’t always the next big thing.
When new user interfaces come out, it’s your job to know their ins and outs. When new algorithms are released and new data metrics become the norm, it’s your job to be able to demystify those key ideals. The good news is there are tons of courses and workshops to keep you in tip top shape.
Us cool kids in the social media world LOVE what we do, but if this is a career path you’re considering, be sure to really take a look at what goes into becoming a successful digital marketer. (I’ll give you a hint: a healthy dose of passion and a commitment to finding solutions for your clients.)