If you’re considering a social media career, or are currently in a related entry-level position, it’s helpful to know which types of positions are out there to pursue.
What you’ll find as you search around, however, is that every company has its own unique approach to managing social media.
In job listings, you’re going to find a broad spectrum of job titles for the same job role or similar job roles. The way that each company delegates tasks within each job role is going to vary as well.
In smaller companies, you may find that you’ll wear every single hat related to social media – basically, one or two people do it all. In larger companies, you’ll probably find that there are more specialized roles.
Because of this, there is no standard career path in this field.
The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with the skills that will make you invaluable to any social media marketing department.
Skill #1: Social Media Analytics (Learn how to measure the unmeasurable)
Working in social media, you are responsible for spreading brand awareness and bringing leads into the funnel.
How do you demonstrate your success when leads from social media do not always take a direct path to conversion, but instead take a few side roads before getting there?
The answer is: you do the best with what you have.
You can get a sense of how well you are spreading brand awareness by measuring your engagement and reach. Tracking these will also guide you in your social media strategy.
It will tell you how well your current strategy is doing and where you need to make changes.
To track reach and engagement metrics, become very familiar with the analytics and insights areas of such channels as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
There are also many tools available out there, both free and paid, that you can use to make your life a bit easier with tracking metrics from all of your channels.
For more information on measuring reach and engagement, please see How to Increase Conversions With Your Social Media Strategy.
Every company will also want to know how well you are bringing leads into the funnel.
You’ll want to become an expert in Google Analytics to track traffic to your website from social media channels. If your specific goals are trial sign ups, subscriptions, or purchases, you can track if that lead came from a social channel as well.
Become very good at presenting this information. Your manager and CEO will want to know that you are not wasting company dollars by spending needless time on social media.
You’ll not only need to be able to track social media metrics, but you’ll also need to be able to digest and present this information in a way that makes sense.
This means brushing up on your excel and presentation skills!
With these metrics, you must be able to show how what you’re doing is effective and what you will be doing to make improvements.
Skill #2: Learn To Love Writing
A huge part of any social media strategy is having great content to share. Jay Baer put it perfectly when he said “Content is fire. Social Media is gasoline”.
Both content and social media go hand in hand. As a social media marketer, you’re like a busy bee, sharing your content pollination with a field of interested flowers.
If you just waited for the wind to blow for pollination to happen, then you’d be waiting a long time. The busy bee expedites the entire process.
While you’re expediting the awareness of your content, you’re also in touch with what people are engaging with. This gives you great insight into the types of content you should be producing.
If you can produce and post your own content, that makes you even more valuable to any company.
You’ll need the ability to research things quickly and produce insight on your research. You’ll also need to be able to communicate your words clearly, and in a way that engages people.
Consider taking some writing classes. Writing is, after all, a muscle that needs to be strengthened.
Skill #3: Break Out Your Inner Artist With Image Design
You won’t need to wait for your graphic designer or web developer to create an image for you if you know how to do this yourself.
You’ll need images to make your social media posts more interesting and to add visual elements to your blog articles.
With tools like Canva and Piktochart, it’s not very difficult at all these days for beginners to create pretty decent images. They are extremely easy to use and don’t take too long to figure out.
If you’ve also got PhotoShop skills under your belt, well then you’re basically a recruiter’s dream.
Skill #4: Put On Your Sherlock Hat And Search Engine Optimize
As a social media marketer, spreading awareness is one of your daily tasks. Search Engine Optimization is really just another way to help your brand to grab attention.
Anything that improves your Google Rank will increase the likelihood that someone will visit and explore your website.
AdWords is going to become one of your close friends. You’ll need to know the keywords your company will be going after. After all, Google uses tweets to help it index articles.
This makes the word choice in your headlines extremely important.
Also, content that gets shared on social media will rank higher on Google in general. As a social media marketer, you will be helping your company’s search engine optimization simply by posting.
If you have any other SEO expertise to help boost content and/or website pages, then that’s another hat for you to wear that your company will thank you for.
Skill #5: Get Your Point Across To Your Persona
To figure out what to post and how to communicate, you’ll need to know your core audience and be in touch with what interests them. This will drive them to engage with you more.
Translating your audience segment into a persona can be extremely helpful in establishing what and how to communicate.
At SurveyGizmo, we use personas to help us write our email, blog, and social media content.
As we mention in What are Personas And How Every Marketing Department Can Use Them, “It’s easy to write Tweets that Jamaal would want to click on; it’s harder to make an infographic for “young professional males in an urban environment.”
It is a skill to not only understand who your persona is but to also understand what engages your particular persona.
Skill #6: Sift Through The Noise Quickly
There’s going to be a great deal of fluff to sift through. You’ll need to be able to judge quickly whether something is valuable.
Knowing the key influencers in your industry will help to guide you toward meaningful, relevant content to share.
You’re also going to need to learn quickly and be flexible. When you see people engaging with one type of post more than others, shift your approach to include more of that type of post.
Skill #7: Customer Service Representative
You’ll be interacting with potential and existing customers. Having any customer service experience would only help you in this field.
Some customers will be extremely excited about your product, others will be less than thrilled.
You need to be able to communicate both effectively and in a way that best represents your company.
You’ll also want to continue to engage the customers you have in a way that adds value to their lives. This takes creativity to continue to come up with ideas.
You might try contests, quizzes, or help your customers to connect with each other by starting a discussion.
Skill #8: Public Relations & Networking
Social Media Marketing is the new Public Relations! Since you will be interacting with both potential and existing customers, you’ll need to be mindful that you are representing your brand.
It will be your job to make connections with influencers (Those who have a huge following in your market) so that you can extend your reach through them and ultimately bring in more leads. For more information on influencer marketing, you can reference: We Investigate The Pros And Cons Of Influencer Marketing So You Don’t Have To.
When making connections with influencers, it’s important to build an actual relationship. These relationships can often lead to possible partnerships with your company.
Staying connected with influencers will also help you to stay up to date on the latest and most insightful information related to your industry.
Another good PR tip is to be a good member of the social media gift economy. Many people think that social media is a platform for them to say “Look at me!”.
Those who do well in this field recognize and promote the work of others. This is also a great way to start developing relationships.
Skill #9: Audio & Video Production
Podcasts and Videos are becoming increasingly important in social media. Companies are using this to share industry knowledge, product information, and even company culture.
If you have skills in Audio/Video production, then you’re going to help your team to get these out efficiently.
Much like blog content, you’ll know what types of audio and video your audience is consuming since you’ll be at the forefront of the social media universe.
You’ll be able to not only drive the direction of these projects, but you’ll have your hand in carrying them out.
If you need help getting started, here’s a great resource: Getting Started With Video Marketing For Under $200.
Skill #10: Keep Up To Date On Industry Knowledge
The worlds of both social media and marketing itself are always changing. It’s vital to stay on top of changes in your industry so that you can constantly make adjustments and create new strategies.
Keep tabs on the industry and make time to do so often.
You can emulate those who are doing well to save you the hassle of navigating on your own.
Victor Pineiro is the Vice President of Social Media at Big Spaceship (@victorpineiro). When he started his career at Big Spaceship, he was a copywriter and social strategist for Skittles.
He grew the Skittles Facebook audience from 3.5 million to 20 million.
Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) is the Chief Evangelist of Canva and author of thirteen books. He was previously the advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple.
He is an absolute master of social media. However, you’ll need to keep in mind that many people know who Guy is. This means that he has more free rein as to the subject matter of his tweets.
You will not want to emulate everything he does at the early stages of your company’s social media strategy, but there are many questions you can get from Guy. He gives a lot of great information in his book “The Art of Social Media”.
Skill #11: Understand How to Package Content For Each Platform
Every social media platform is different. There are differences in how you communicate and the types of content that you post. LinkedIn has a professional tone and you’ll only want to post original, industry-related content.
Twitter is a bit more casual and you’ll want to post both curated and original content. Some photos are okay. It does not have to be strictly industry related posts, but again you’ll want to make sure that your posts will be interesting to your audience.
Facebook is extremely photo-centric and you’ll want to post more about company culture here than anything. Videos are also very welcome.
There are many more social media channels. You’re going to be feel pulled to make your presence known on every channel you can get your hands on.
The reality is, you’re not going to have the time or the energy to be able to do all of them well. You’ll also be wasting your time on some of them.
You only need to be where your core audience is. Find their channels and follow them there.
Skill #12: Learn As Many Related Skills As You Can
The ability to learn new skills is a skill in itself. If you’re looking to progress in this field, you’ll need to gain as many related skills as you can.
Your head may feel a bit heavy at first with all of the hats you’ll be wearing, but companies like hats, and it will only make you more appealing and more valuable.
Arming yourself with these skills will also empower you for when changes occur in your industry. Remember, changes are inevitable. Do not pigeonhole yourself in one area.
Marketing is fast-paced and constantly evolving. Prepare yourself for the jobs that are in demand now, and retain the awareness that you will probably need to continue adding skills to your toolbelt.
What’s the upside of all this? Social Media Marketing Jobs are never boring. If you’re the creative/social type and you enjoy learning new skills, then this job is the perfect fit for you.