So you want a career in social media?

The Art of Social Media by mkhmarketing on Flickr

CC-BY  The Art of Social Media by mkhmarketing on Flickr

Last week Lisa Jones of Barclay Jones delivered a really insightful session for students interested in careers in social media.  Lisa shared her experiences of recruiting recent graduates to social media roles as well as some great tips and advice for those interested in this career area.

  1. Sort yourself out online

If you are serious about working in social media, then you need to have a good online presence yourself.  Make yourself accessible and approachable in the places recruiters will likely be looking for the ‘professional’ you, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter. Plus bear in mind that many recruiters will check applicants out online.  Lisa referenced one study in which 82% of employers last year admitted to checking out online profiles before making a hiring decision. To quote Lisa

“Before I meet them (job applicant) I look them up on LinkedIn.  If they’re not on it, I won’t go any further – I won’t even look at Facebook and Twitter”

Lisa suggests ‘locking down’ Facebook but remembering that privacy doesn’t really exist; use the motto of not posting anything online which anyone might construe as disrespectful or offensive.

  1. Think strategically, not just tactically

Lisa discussed the fact that often (but not always) when organisations are recruiting people to do ‘social media’ that the organisation, or individuals involved in the recruitment, may not know much about social media or even what they hope to achieve through using it.  Social media does not make money, but is a tool that can help businesses achieve their goals.

Knowing the difference between strategy (the ‘what’ you want to achieve) and tactics (the ‘how’ you’re going to achieve it) is crucial.  Ask the organisation questions about their goals. Doing this, alongside having a good knowledge of key social platforms, will enable you to explain social media in a way that’s relevant to them and to show them what value you will bring in the role.  To quote Lisa again;

“What I’m looking for is expertise in social media that’s going to be relevant to me and help my business goals”

Metrics are really important; i.e. how would you measure the success of your strategy? Make sure you are familiar with some of the key tools and platforms for social media metrics (see ‘Tools to help you’ section below)

  1. Be focused

Social media is disruptive; it is constant and always ‘on’. Because of this it is easy to get distracted or to waste time without actually achieving goals or tasks.  Have a routine checker to help ensure you are achieving the things you need to.  Lisa described a tool her employees use which lists all the regular and minimum ‘to-dos’ for their various platforms. Once these are done, then her employees can get creative.

Lisa’s top tips:

  • Get on LinkedIn and Twitter and use them – engage with people, participate in discussions, update both regularly and make them lively and engaging
  • Ask the organisation about their business goals and then explain how you would use social media to help them achieve these
  • Analyse their presence on social media (in addition to general research about the organisation). Identify areas of strength and/ or weakness and how you would address these
  • Analyse their competitors on social media; particularly what they are doing well
  • Identify influencers in their industry and look at what they’re doing or be prepared to discuss how you would engage those influencers to help their business
  • Take any experience you can of managing social media for an organisation – using it professionally is very different to using it personally

Tools to help you

BufferIs a really useful social media management tool allowing you to schedule tweets and access analytics.  Hootsuite and Tweetdeck have similar functionality but Lisa prefers Buffer

Followerwonk – enables you to search bios to find people of interest/ influence, analyse and compare followers of twitter accounts (your own or any other twitter account)

Keyhole  – Allows you to search Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for keywords, hashtags etc.  This could be related to your sector of interest, the company name, or anything else.  This allows you to track what’s being said, identify key influencers or competitors and accounts talking about it, associated keywords/ hashtags etc.

Remember, we are here to help you with everything from career choice, to job seeking, applications and beyond. Take a look at how we can help you

1 Comment

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One response to “So you want a career in social media?

  1. Pingback: Careers in the digital industry: Not just about the tech | University of Leeds Careers Centre Blog

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