This feature was written by Aspel Brown while on work experience at GoThinkBig.

Who doesn’t want to tweet from their desk and not get a telling-off from the boss? You may think your tweets are as cool as Kanye’s, or get hundreds of likes on Instagram, but how can you actually land a job in social media, and then do it well? We decided to find out.

We recently teamed up with our mates at Think Big, to bring you Think Big Digital Week, an entire week jam packed with events to inspire and inform you lot about jobs in digital. On Twitter Tuesday, we invited O2’s Social Media Manager Jonny Excell, the National Youth Agency’s Communications Manager Daisy Powell, and GoThinkBig’s very own Content Coordinator Emily Mitchinson to share their advice on social media careers and campaigns (if you missed the panel discussion, you can check it out on Facebook here). Take a look at their top tips below…

1. Be involved and in the know

If you want to be in the know about social media, you have to try it out, Jonny told us. He emphasized the importance of “living across all the different social channels and knowing the ins and outs of what people are talking about.”

“Whether you want to get into things like football, music or fashion, you can start to understand conversations that people are having” using social media. That way, he told us, “when you go into a work environment you’re not so removed from trying to figure out what people react to in a positive way, or what you should or shouldn’t say.”

“Even just figuring out how the different channels work will give you a head start with somebody trying to get into social media as a career,” he added.

Remember, though, things are always changing. “Keep an eye on the changes and trends in social media,” recommended Daisy. “People are showing preference for certain things and different audiences use certain social channels more than others. It’s important to have a good grasp of who’s following what and what the emerging trends are.”

2. Think creatively

Which brands’ social media channels stand out to you? The ones tweeting the same old customer service messages every day like robots, or the ones who tap into what the nation is talking about, or make you laugh?

“Don’t use words you’d never say out loud,” Jonny advised anyone representing their brand on social media. “The most interesting accounts are the ones that say things a little bit differently and use more natural language. Not LOLs and emojis, but people who just come across as a bit more human. You’ve all got personalities that need to come out.”

The panel made clear that anyone can send a tweet, it’s the content you’re putting out there that’s the challenging part of the job. “Be creative,” said Emily. “When you know how to send a tweet it’s super easy. Think of innovative ways to use your platforms that aren’t generic.”

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3. Don’t be afraid of online networking

Let’s face it, everyone loves a good Facebook stalk once in a while. But our panel said that reaching out on social media can also help you get ahead while job hunting.

“Tracking people down on LinkedIn, finding out who they are and then following them or keeping an eye on what they’re saying or trying to interact with them is always a good idea,” said Daisy. “It doesn’t seem spooky, it is worthwhile!”

“The more you tweet and the more you interact, the more people will interact with you,” she added.

So when it comes to making connections, how do you make the leap online? “If you’re actively using Twitter or any social media channel, speak to people within your communities. Use  hashtags!” suggested Emily. “If you like someone’s blog post, tweet them and say so. If someone did that to you, it’d probably make your day!” she added.

“If you reach out to someone and say you liked something they did, that’s a really cool way to form a connection,” she added.

Emily told us that chatting with people on Twitter is a life saver when it comes to awkward networking or industry events too. “You might be speaking to someone over Twitter and then meet them at an event, and then you already know something about them,” she said. No small talk needed.

4. Set Manageable Targets

“No one expects you to juggle it all,” Daisy told us. She reminded the audience that not all social platforms are appropriate for all brands, so pick the channels that work best for what you’re trying to do, rather than attempting to have everything covered.

“Focusing on a small, manageable number of channels, where you know who you’re trying to reach and what you’re trying to say, who is following you and what your relationship is about,” is pretty important according to Daisy. She recommending picking out a few social channels and using those really effectively, “rather than just trying to open as many as you can, juggle them all and keep them all going using the same content everywhere.”

Social media isn’t a 9 to 5 job. The panel discussed that the best accounts and brands are the ones who are reactive to trends and discussions, even if it’s not during the working day. But when it comes to staying sane, Emily warned: “Know when to switch off. Obviously, you want to be responsive but find a balance.”

5. Think before you tweet

Don’t feed the trolls after midnight!

What you post online may attract the attention of people from across the globe and, sadly, not everyone is going to respond in the way you want.

Daisy has dealt with a fair few trolls online. “If you personally get abuse, I would immediately report it,” she advised.

As for brands, she suggested thinking carefully before responding to trolls. “You’re not just responding to a troll, you’ve got to think about how it looks to the wider community,” she said. “You can try humour or offer them something to engage with them.”

Don’t take what a troll says to heart, advised the panel. Jonny recommended: “take a second to think about what the person is going through on the other side of the screen.”

Looking for a job in social media? O2 are looking Social Media and Digital Marketing apprentices. Apply here!

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