Is Twitter your number 1 news source? Do you find yourself pinning into the wee hours of the night? Are you an Instagram fiend?
Chances are, if you said yes to all of those questions, you are a social media nerd. It's okay, don't deny it.
Obviously, we are all about it (shameless plug to visit our Twitter here). It's not only the easiest way to engage with your user but it can also be the most fun way to interact with your users and drive traffic back to your site. Naturally, due to its popularity, everyone wants to get in the industry's action. So many young adults or recent graduates are looking to join a social media agency or crew and, yet, don't have the street credibility or experience to actually make it in this field.
It's not just pins and tweets; social media is a real industry, and just like any other industry, you must prove your worth to get a job in this field. When I first got started in social media, my idea of a day's work was this: Pin, Tweet, Facebook, etc. And while that is partly true, the main part of my days now are spent doing research, watching analytics, making editorial calendars, creating graphics for every channel, brainstorming future campaigns, and creating both short and long-term strategies that will effectively resonate with IFB's readers. Fun? Absolutely. But I think a lot of job seekers don't understand how much work goes into a true social media job. This isn't a place where you get paid to tweet and that's it. You are expected to meet marketing numbers and goals, create and shape a brand's voice and, most important, engage with your audience. If you want to get a job in social media, that is what your life will entail and if you want a job in this field, you better be prepared to demonstrate that you are ready for this.
Basically, this means that you, the social media job seeker, should do the following to get a job in this field:
Demonstrate your ability to channel a brand's voice across all digital platforms. This might be the most important thing you present to your future employer. As a social media strategist, you are essentially the brand's public voice. What you say, how you say it completely matters and you must show that you can be the public's voice of the brand in your interview. Provide case studies of previous professional experiences where you took on the brand's voice either though social media channels, interviews, guest posts, etc. Bottom line: when you are acting on behalf of a brand, it's not about you. at all. It's about the company and its users. Think less about you, and go bigger, broader.
Provide examples of previous strategic planning. Here's a major hint for you: almost all brands operate off of marketing strategies, especially when it comes to social media. You can't just pin for the sake of pinning. You need to provide ample reasons why you are doing what you are doing and what the end goal is. If you don't have professional experience doing it, show off your social media strategy for your own personal accounts. For instance, share your goals and measurable objectives. Then show how you achieved those goals. You will not only impress your future job employer but you will demonstrate your ability to take the lead by creating and executing strategies.
Network and make valuable, meaningful connections. It's not just digital relationships either; making face-time with those companies or influencers is key. Go to events, send professional emails, just get your name out there to the leaders who know someone who know someone. Make friends with fellow bloggers, start conversations with brands or PR people and show off your expertise to those interested parties. We can't even begin to tell you how many of our colleagues got their social media jobs because they had a contact who heard someone was looking and they made the introduction, allowing you access to those hiring managers. Don't know where to start? We have an easy networking guide for both events and conferences that really work.
Keep it classy. What does classy have to do with it? Well, social media isn't a sales field. Chances are if you are shamelessly self-promoting yourself on public platforms, you might leave a sour taste in your employer's mouth. Don't overdo it. Also, monitor what you say on your social media channels. Think about it, you are applying to work for a social media job. Your employer will do a search and if something distasteful pops up, your resume will be tossed in the garbage.
Create a resume that has relevant experience to the job you are applying for. In social media, no one cares that you worked at a restaurant or that you held down a babysitting job. Sorry, guys but it is true. Don't stuff your resume with irrelevant experience because you will be detracting from the good stuff, the actual experience that demonstrates your social media skills. Don't just breeze over those skills too. Instead, give concise but clear details about what you actually did. The more information, the better your hiring manager will understand that you are right for the job.
Get skilled in every social media platform. Yes, we said very platform. This is not a joke; you need to know the details on every platform. In fact, in your interview, your potential employer will definitely ask which platform you like the most and which one needs more help. You should be able to provide detailed reasons and share your thoughts on why you prefer one. At this point, it would be extremely smart to mention which platform you've had professional success on as well. Give examples, be thorough and speak eloquently.
Become a multitasking machine. You get bonus points if you can prove that you are a pro at multitasking. Social media isn't easy; in fact, there are countless times when we find ourselves drowning in open tabs, editorial calendars and tech updates. It's going to happen at some point in your career and you better be prepared. Learn how to stay organized and tell your future employer how you juggle multiple duties at one time. He/she will be impressed and will breathe easier knowing you can handle the job.
Remember, the competition is stiff out there right now in social media. Many people are presenting themselves as “social media gurus or experts” and it's up to you to differentiate yourself form the crowd. Start networking, get your resume in order, brush up on all platforms and smile. Seriously, this is fun and if you can make it, you will love every second of it.
Do you have any questions about getting a job in social media? Do you need help with your resume? Share your questions in the comments section and we will help out.