Social Media Career Guide: What You Can Do And Where You Can Do It.

Demand for employees with social media skills has increased with many new possibilities. A McKinley Marketing Partners survey found the top in-demand skill is digital marketing including social media and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased social spending. The CMO Survey reports as a percent of marketing budget social media increased from 13% to 23% and that increase will remain over the next year.

Social Media Jobs Are Growing
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Social media has gone from one person’s side job to full-time and specialized positions within companies and in marketing communications firms. Below is a guide to help you consider the different roles that may match your interest and skills and work environment you prefer.

Social Media Strategy Jobs

Social media strategists plan a social media strategy, ensuring it connects to larger objectives and integrates marketing, advertising, and public relations. Strategists utilize tools like social media audits to improve social media content and measure performance to report results to management. Social media marketing managers are more action oriented with creating and executing social media strategy for overall brand presence and specific campaigns. At larger organizations people under them help with implementation and day-to-day tasks. At smaller organizations social media managers may also implement the strategy they manage.

Social Media Engagement Jobs

Some roles are more on the front lines of social media. Social media community managers foster social media communities built around a brand. They monitor and respond to conversations across social media platforms or are assigned to specific social networks. Social media coordinators plan, implement, and monitor a brand’s social media strategy working with content creators, internal departments, and external partners to measure and improve performance. Social media specialists focus on implementation of social media strategy, writing copy for social posts, scheduling social content, and tracking KPIs while staying up to date on the latest trends.

Social Media Content Creation Jobs

Other social media roles are focused on creating social content. Social media copywriters plan, create, and analyze channel-specific brand social media written content, build content calendars, write brand guidelines, and find internal and external sources for content. Social media graphic designers create and maintain visual brand assets and find and create appropriate images and graphics for various social media channels. Social media video specialist capture, edit, and produce videos for brand assets and specific social media channels.

Social Media Specialists Jobs

Some social media roles are oriented toward more specialized areas. Influencer relations managers identify, build, and manage relationships with celebrity, macro, and micro influencers to create and share brand social media content. Social media analysts focus on social media measurement developing systems, processes, and reporting to gather and analyze social metrics to make better decisions and optimize strategies, tactics, and content. A journalist social media content developer uses journalism skills to promote news brands or create news-style content for corporate brands in social media.

Besides specific social media roles, there are various types of organizations within which social media professionals can work. The CMO Survey reports that three-fourths of social media activities are performed inside a company and one-fourth performed by outside agencies. What are the options for outside agencies?

Marketing Communications Firms

Many marketers and brand managers hire outside communications firms to create and execute their integrated marketing communications campaigns. Some firms have changed over the years to call themselves integrated marketing communications agencies. Yet, they traditionally have come from companies focused on advertising and public relations. Both disciplines and agencies have increased their social media services over the years and thus require social media specialists.

Advertising agencies are hired by marketers to create, produce, and manage paid commercial messages through TV, outdoor, ratio, print, digital, and social marketing to promote products and services. Ad agencies can be hired to produce a single ad campaign or may be agency of record for a brand, providing multiple integrated services in an ongoing relationship. As a brand partner they provide strategy, implementation, and measurement. Today, any position in an advertising agency is required to have digital and social media knowledge and there are many specific social media positions.

Public relations agencies are hired by marketers to create, produce, and manage unpaid messages to the public through media to change public actions by influencing opinions. PR agencies often provide services to their clients such as strategy development, messaging, media relations, content marketing, social media marketing, event planning, crisis communication, and influencer relations. Today, social media is seen as the number one skill required for public relations new hires.

Specialized Agencies

In 2019 digital media ad spending surpassed traditional media for the first time. With digital representing 54% of all US ad spending the growth in digital marketing specialized agencies as followed suit. There are digital marketing agencies that include social media services and social media agencies that focus on social media strategy and implementation.

Digital marketing agencies are hired by marketers to create, produce, and manage brands through digital media including website, mobile, and digital ads to promote products and services. Digital agencies often focus on services such as website design and development, apps, search engine optimization, search and display advertising, social media and email marketing, content creation, online lead generation, plus mobile apps and campaigns. With the increase in social media spending digital agencies are increasing their social media services and hiring more social media specific roles.

Social media agencies are hired by marketers to create, produce, and manage the presence of a brand through social media channels such as social networks, messaging apps, blogs and forums, podcasts, ratings, and reviews. Social media agencies focus on social media strategy, content creation, community management, paid social advertising, influencer engagement, social listening, measurement and monitoring, promotions, and crisis management. They have grown into significant companies with many employees in physical offices or through virtual collaboration.

Social Media Self Employment

There is also a growing option where social media professionals work for themselves. Social media freelancers provide the services of specific social media roles on a project or campaign rather than as a full-time employee. This could also be called a social media solopreneur. A solopreneur is an entrepreneur who runs a business without full-time employees. This often means working virtually from home with more flexibility in your schedule.

Companies or Organizations

Many social media positions today are hired in-house at the company or organization, working directly in or with the marketing department. The marketing department in an organization promotes the business and drives sales of products and services. This could be a separate social media role or within an in-house marketing communications department. A social media professional at a company could also be housed in the corporate communications department which manages a company’s reputation and develops communications plans with stakeholders.

Some companies create a separate social media department that works with other departments including marketing, communications, sales, customer service, and human resources to plan and implement cross-discipline social media strategies. Finally, journalists could be hired for social media content developer roles for news organizations.

The great opportunity with social media positions within companies or organizations is to marry your social media skills with your passion for another field. Perhaps you love sports. You could look for social media jobs at sports teams, leagues, college athletic departments, or e-sports brands. Or perhaps you are into fashion. You could look for social media positions at fashion brands or fashion retailers. No matter your interest, from cars and tech to health and nonprofit causes, brands in that field need social media professionals.

Which position and type of organization are you best suited for?

To get better idea of specific responsibilities and opportunities search job databases for “social media” and read the listings. Find your dream job and have the skills? Apply! Still need some skills? Find an undergraduate or graduate program that teaches them, read social media books, consider Social Media And Digital Marketing Certifications, and Create A Social Media Plan For Your Personal Brand. If you are the company trying to attract employees consider Employer Branding In Social Media.

Best Practices For Social Media Content That’ll Improve Your Writing And Design

An analysis of job listings shows the most in demand skill for content marking is social media content creation. After social media strategy content creation is what social pros spend much of their time on. While results vary based on target, brand, and social platform there are best practices to follow when writing and designing any social media post that will lead to more interesting and engaging brand posts.

Social Media is the most Requested Skill in Content Marketing

Write in Active Voice and Second Person. 

Most experts agree active voice creates more engaging social media copy with clear, concise, action-oriented sentences. In active voice the subject performs an action by directly using a verb to show the action versus passive voice where the action verb or object is emphasized over its subject. For example, the second version of the following post copy would grab more attention with active voice.

  • Passive Voice: The 2 hour marathon barrier was broken by team Nike!
  • Active Voice: Team Nike broke the 2 hour marathon barrier!

These posts can be improved further with point of view and benefit. Instead of using first person “I” or “we,” or third person “he,” “she,” “it,” “they,” or “name” use second person “you.” Using “you” draws  attention focusing the message on the audience. Conveying the message as a benefit to them will also draw interest. The example post has now been written in first person, third person, then improved with second person written as a benefit to the audience.

  • First Person: We made the Vaporfly shoes that broke the 2 hour marathon!
  • Third Person: Nike Vaporfly shoes were used to break the 2 hour marathon!
  • Second Person: You can run in the Nike Vaporfly’s that broke the 2 hour marathon!

Consider Audience Interests, Brand Voice and Tone

Write messages your audience will want to share because it is something their friends will like, it shows appreciation, or it is about beliefs or causes they support. And don’t stop the message at the post. When sharing a link match post message and link destination. Sending them to a home page or unrelated page causes confusion and lost sales or leads. Keep interest going with a distinct landing page that delivers your message benefit and focuses on what you want them to do. The example post above should interest a target audience of runners and their running friends and then send them to a page about the shoes and the record attempt not the Nike home page.

  • Home Page Link: Nike.com
  • Landing Page Link: Nike.com/Sub2Vaporfly

Keep brand voice and tone in mind. What is the personality of your brand – bold rebellious, modern cool, or serious classic? Write like you talk as if the brand was a person talking out loud to another person. Skip jargon and avoid boastful claims such as “top,” “best,” or “only.” Be genuine fun and helpful. Be consistent but change tone with the situation. Even a fun, casual brand should take a more serious tone with an upset customer or in a crisis. For example, during the Boston Marathon bombing releasing a post celebrating a marathon record would come across as tone death as seen below.

  • Original Tone: You can run in the Nike Vaporfly’s that broke the 2 hour marathon!
  • Modified Tone: You can support Boston marathon victims. We’ll match your donation.

Create Good Brand Design and Aha Moments.

Keep text to a minimum ensuring it is large enough to view on mobile. Use unique fonts for emphasize but limit total fonts in a single post. Ensure good contrast with text over images so they can be seen. Don’t overcrowd the layout or image with too much text making it feel overwhelming and busy. Change individual messages but be consistent in overall message including brand keywords, taglines and hashtags. Follow brand standards for colors, logos and fonts. With the example post you would follow Nike brand guidelines not Wendy’s.

  • Wendy’s Brand Voice: Witty and Sassy.
  • Nike’s Brand Voice: Powerful and Inspiring.

It’s easy to grab a generic stock or product image, but a unique image that compliments the text draws interest. Creatively connect text and image inviting the viewer to fill a gap for an “aha” moment they’ll want to share. A simple image of running shoes would be the easy to include with the post text above. Instead consider something unexpected like a back of the pack amateur runner photoshopped into the finish line scene of Eliud Kipchoge’s record breaking run.

  • Generic Image: (Product Image of Nike’s new Vaporfly shoes) – You can run in the Nike Vaporfly’s that broke the 2 hour marathon!
  • “Aha” Image: (Kipchoge’s record finish with amateur runner) – Break your own records in Nike Vaporfly’s!

Follow Rule of Thirds and Rules of Social Platforms

Good images and layouts follow the rule of thirds. This principle divides a space into thirds horizontally and vertically to place elements in a more appealing balanced way. Research shows that people’s eyes focus on one of the intersection points rather than the center where most amateurs place the subject of their image or design. Instead place the subject in one of the intersecting points to create a more dynamic, natural, and interesting visual. Also leave room for white space or negative space. This is the area between design elements that helps them stand out.

Third-Rule Rule of Thirds for Good Social Media Post Design

Wide White Space Logo - Use white space and negative space for good social media post design

Each social media platform has different design standards and requirements. Refer to each size by pixels, file size, image type and other submission requirements. Many design tools include templates for the most popular platforms such as Canva or Adobe Spark and built in tools such as Facebook Creative Hub and Snapchat Instant Create. Most also have options to create mock ups for social media plans and presentations.

Social Media Post Template Created by FreepikBusiness psd created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Finally consider post schedule. The time of week and time of day matter and can vary increase or decrease engagement based on the social media platform. To plan your social media content calendar and schedule you posts Sprout Social provides a report on best times to post from their customer base.

Best practices are a great place to start, but keep in mind that the best content is created to be unique to each platform customized to the environment and brand community. Test posts times and variations in designs and copy to optimize as you go. This can be done with simple A/B split tests. This will keep posts fresh to avoid ad fatigue.

With this improved content do you have the right strategy?

For more insight to improve content performance ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Social Media Strategy.