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7 skills you need for a career in social media

7 skills you need for a career in social media

This piece was written by freelancer Stephanie Braganza

From social media executives to digital marketers and many roles in between, hiring people with great social media skills is top of the list for many HR departments. So what can you do right now to ensure that you’ve got the skills employers want? Start with these seven tips (trust me, I work in social media)…

BE ABLE TO TRACK THE TRENDS

It’s good to know what’s trending daily, but what about the things that will hit in the next week or month? Being in the know about these is crucial so you can be all over it as soon as it drops but don’t spend ages trawling social media hoping to find them – instead, sign up for newsletters that will let you know of new channels, features, national days to mark as well as the anticipated trends. Social Media Week and We Are Social Media are just two you should get familiar with.

BE FUTURE-THINKING

First it was MySpace, then Facebook, Instagram and now Snapchat – but then what? Spending time looking at how social channels are evolving will help you to look ahead and think about what the future may hold. How can this help you at interviews? Being forward-thinking will show potential employers that not only do you know your stuff currently, but you’re aware of how the landscape may change and will be able to help the company prepare for, and take advantage of such changes.

BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA…

… in the right way. You’ve probably heard it a hundred times before but let’s make that a hundred and one – if you wouldn’t want your Gran to see it, don’t post it. Another great way to make sure that potential (snooping) employers like what they see is to make your Facebook settings super private and post industry news on Twitter and LinkedIn. Impress them before you even get to the interview stages.

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UNDERSTAND THE ADVERTISING SIDE

As a social media user, advertisements can be boring, unwelcoming and distracting, but when you work in social media it’ll be all about the adverts, so prepare yourself, even if it’s just familiarising yourself with how important they are for businesses. For example, Facebook want Pages with big followings to pay to get their content seen (after all, it’s how Facebook makes their money), so when they post organic content, Facebook makes sure it reaches less people so they’ll pay to get into the timelines of more of their audience.

KNOW ABOUT DATA

Maths was never my strongest subject and if you aren’t a fan of numbers either don’t despair at the words ‘data’ or ‘analytics’. They are a crucial element to a job in social media, but it’s usually just a case of knowing where to find the numbers (for example, on Facebook’s Insights tab for Pages) and using them to tell the success of a campaign. There are online tutorials for using Google Analytics too, so if you have little experience using these tools or want to brush up on your skills, watch a video or take a free course so you know what to expect in the role and can be prepared for any interview questions.

GET COMFORTABLE AROUND PEOPLE (AND IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA)

If you work in social media, you need to either have confidence, or fake having confidence, because you’ll need to be hands on when it comes to getting people on board with campaigns, especially if they’re internal, and the internet loves silly stuff, so there’ll probably be dressing up involved. And one day you may even end up fronting something, whether it’s a photo shoot, or hosting a Facebook Live session and you need to be ready to get stuck in. I once ended up presenting a Facebook Live that lasted for over an hour…

GET USED TO BRAINSTORMING

Constantly thinking creatively can be a challenge, so practice by thinking about creative ways you’d promote a brand, product or service on social media. You can do this anywhere – at the bus stop, having your lunch – with anything. Let your imagination run wild for a short time then think about how you’d practically implement your campaign. Would it suit a Snapchat Story or a video series for YouTube? How would you measure the success? (This is where data comes into play – think about views, app downloads, screengrabs etc.) The more you get used to thinking outside of the box when it comes to social media campaigns, the easier you’ll find it when you get the job!

 

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