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Social Media industry
careers guide

Fancy a career in the social media industry? We have all the knowledge and tips to help you become a social media pro.




"Online platforms which allow for a vast transfer of information."

As of January 2016 it is estimated that there are 2.3 billion active social media users, just under a third of the entire global population. On average 12 new mobile social media users are added every second… that’s 1 million new users every day. Facebook accounts for over 1 billion active daily users and is now the fifth most valuable brand in the world, having had a 44% increase in value since 2015. Evidently an enormous sector, social media is rapidly growing and expanding, offering businesses new and exciting opportunities… But what exactly is social media?

At its essence, social media is a broad term which is given for online tools and platforms which allow users to interact with each other and transfer all types of information and media. Since the inception of Six Degrees, a social networking site founded in 1997, through the invention of online blogging sites and video sharing platforms, all the way to recent dating apps, social media has been at the forefront of the Internet revolution.

Social media allows businesses to connect directly, and more personally, with customers. Having an online social media presence is pretty much a requirement for any business now, meaning there are plenty of job opportunities for people with social media experience (most young people!). Looking after a brand’s social media presence is a challenging and multi-faceted role which is constantly changing with the advance of technology.

Most brands have a social media presence which may include, but is not limited to, an official Facebook page, a Twitter feed and an Instagram profile. Given the vast numbers of social media users globally, brands know that social media platforms are one of the most direct forms of contact between themselves and customers. It is up to certain individuals to look after the brand’s social presence and form those connections with customers.

Social media personnel may well fall under the umbrella of the marketing department given the proximity needed between both departments. Due to the evolving nature of advertising, with more work being integrated and campaigns being transmitted via multiple channels, social media operators work closely with the marketing team to ensure that the social media is up-to-date and working effectively. Social media allows for brands to have a constant dialogue with customers, meaning that whoever is in charge of it must be well-versed in the brand identity in order to capture the desired message to customers.

As with most of the creative industries, social media is developing at a rapid speed as technologies evolve and grow, offering brands and customers new opportunities. A social media manager will be someone who has a knack for writing, an eye for design and a creative mind and is willing to develop and change as new social media opportunities arise.

Social media analytics is an area which requires strong analytic skills, working knowledge of analytic software and a strong eye for trends and opportunities. Analysis covers engagement on social media platforms, for example how many likes, shares or retweets a certain post has got. Collecting this data is important in order to meet business goals and see how effective the current strategy is. Websites such as Keyhole, AgoraPulse and BrandWatch offer businesses the means to monitor their social media presence. In the advertising business, impressions, is the key word which analysts are monitoring. Impressions refer to the point where an ad is viewed once by a visitor and allows businesses to reflect on the reach of its advertising.

In social media, influencers can have a huge impact for businesses, especially smaller companies. Influencers are certain people who have achieved a notoriety with their social media presence, be it an Instagram page with thousands of followers, a YouTube channel with millions of subscribers or even a celebrity fan page within a hundred million fans (Cristiano Ronaldo we’re looking at you). Having your brand or product promoted by an influencer on social media can potentially have huge benefits for your business. Certain agencies specialise in this field, such as Frukt Fixers, Influencer and Collectively. Thinking of celebrity/influencer partnerships will fall into the marketing strategy of a business, but they may seek the help of agencies to forge the partnerships. Certain brands, such as Nespresso, have created partnerships with leading celebrities (in this case, George Clooney) which have become so strong that many people will struggle to think of Nespresso without associating it with Clooney. It is important to find the correct partnership to promote and grow a business, not just anybody!




Social media examples

  • #ShareYourEars
    Make-A-Wish Foundation & Disney, 2016 (Campaign)

  • Coke Zero - Drinkable Advertising
    Coke Zero & Ogilvy & Mather, 2015 (Campaign)

  • #OptOutside
    REI & Venables Bell and Partners, 2016 (Campaign)

Jobs in social media

Just like jobs in the other creative industries, jobs in social media are varied. Essentially there is the main difference between analysis and content creation, and within those separate roles there is more variety. On the content side the name given to the role differs, with some companies labelling them social media officers, whilst some may call them them co-ordinators, executives or content writers.

Analysis

As an analyst you will most likely be working in the research department as social media provides an excellent source for market research. Analysts spend time scrutinising data from social media channels and drawing out key statistics and insights. Analysts will often offer recommendations based on their insights, so this role is suited to a creative person with analytical skills.

Skills required:

  • SEO Knowledge
  • Use of analytic tools
  • Research
  • Identifying trends
  • Understanding data

Roles:

  • Social media analyst
    £20k to £30k


Content

Looking after the social media channel(s) of a brand requires you to communicate clearly with the marketing team and have a confident and creative approach. In order to succeed in this job you must have strong verbal and written communication skills and a desire to keep up with the latest technologies and integrate them with social media channels.

Skills required:

  • Written communication
  • Idea generation
  • Idea creation
  • Social media knowledge
  • Identifying trends

Roles:

  • Social media officer/writer
    £20k to £25k


Influencer

Having a strong social media presence can now be enough to earn you a living! Having a large social media presence (the company Influencer suggests 10,000 followers as the minimum) can lead to financial opportunities by promoting products and brands. Being an influencer can come off the back of having a successful blog in a certain field or acquiring popularity on traditional social media sites via continual posting and funny/engaging content. For more information check out this Tumblr site which is devoted to how much influencers get paid! (http://whopaysinfluencers.com/)

Skills required:

  • Strong social media presence
  • Communication
  • Engaging
  • Brand awareness

Roles:

  • Influencer
    0 to £100K+



Social media companies

There is an unbelievable amount of social media sites and they vary hugely. The classic social networking sites, such as Facebook, Google+ and Flickr, are surrounded by a host of other social media platforms which may focus on picture sharing, live video streaming or even dating! There are hundreds of social media sites, and deciding which ones are best suited to your business is a big part in realising the potential benefits of having a good social media presence. Companies such as We Are Social (http://wearesocial.com/uk/), Primehead (http://primehead.com/) and Born Social (http://www.bornsocial.co.uk/) are industry leaders in social media communications and marketing.

Social media sites

  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Periscope
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr
  • Google+



  • “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini
  • “Grouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web” by Paul Adams
  • “Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing” by Rob Garner
  • “Likeable Social Media” by Dave Kerpen
  • “The Art of Social Media” by Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick
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