Job market

Starting a career in social media

Would you like to turn your favourite pastime into a professional career? Well, maybe a career in the social media space beckons. Find out more in our guest post, contributed by Danielle Birch, Content and Online Manager, writing on behalf of Jigsaw.

Despite the economic downturn, the digital industry is growing and providing new jobs on a daily basis for enthusiastic, passionate individuals. Looking specifically at online marketing, this term covers a wide range of different specialities, including search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC), web design and online PR. Another area which is becoming an intrinsic part of an online marketing strategy is social media.

When people think about social media, the first thing that comes to mind personal use, but in commercial terms its importance has moved way beyond tweeting lunchtime favourites. Over the past 5 years, it has become an essential part of marketing strategies in businesses across the globe. It’s an industry that is growing and evolving and is a great career path for a graduate to pursue.

What sort of roles are available in this industry?

Social media offers a wide range of roles varying from a social media copywriter where creativity and writing skills are essential, to a social media marketing manager whereby analytical and strategic skills are necessary to succeed. Often though, both skills sets are required if you want to enter the online marketing and social media industry, in order to combine great content with effective, analytical strategies. To find out exactly what social media roles entail, we interviewed Sarah-Louise Marks, Social Media Co-ordinator at fashion label Jigsaw:

How long have you worked at Jigsaw?
Eight months.

How did you end up working as a Social Media Co-ordinator?
I worked in Fashion PR for a year and a half whilst at the same time writing a personal fashion blog. After being approached by various retailers and realising I had a passion for social media and copywriting, I decided to go freelance as a full-time blogger and social media content editor. One year later, here I am!

What do your day-to-day tasks include?

  • Monitoring and updating our social media channels.
  • Identifying stories, researching and creating exciting and original content for our blog.
  • Liaising with the store staff to feature in-store events
  • Writing engaging copy for our social media channels, customer emails and homepage
  • Interviewing exciting and creative people

What skills do you need to be successful as a Social Media Co-ordinator?
A great creative eye for beautiful imagery, a passion for writing and photography skills. You also need to understand social media for business, online marketing and how it differs to personal use. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working at such an amazing company, the creative freedom and the variation. Every day is different and you get to meet lots of wonderful people.

Is this the right career for you?

A role in social media requires many different strengths, and for graduates with a broad skill set it can offer a varied and fulfilling career. The potential will only increase as the digital industry continues to grow. If you want a career in social media, work experience or an internship with an online marketing department will give you a good grounding.

The transferable skills you’ve acquired through your time at university will be a great start, especially if you have a combination of analytical and creative abilities. Such skills are particularly useful to this market, and prospective employers will be looking for evidence, so show them!  Setting up and writing your own blog like Sarah did can help you get experience in your own time and provides a showcase for your work. Networking is essential, so consider your online profile as the important first step in building and extending your professional network.

You will also need to be a consummate multi-tasker, proficient across all social channels and comfortable with new and emerging platforms.

How to keep updated with the industry

The industry itself is always evolving. It’s very fast paced so you’ll need to keep up to date with new developments. Read the Guardian’s Technology section and Econsultancy for general themes. For more sector specific news, Internet Retailing has regular updates from the world of eCommerce whereas The Drum features news specifically about digital marketing and social media. Before you even start applying for jobs in this sector, brush up on your industry knowledge and draw this out in your applications and interviews.

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