School’s Out: How to Start a Career in Social Media

11 Mar

University of Hartford Social MediaLast week I greeted 50+ eager-eyed students at my alma matar, the University of Hartford at the School of Communication alumni meet and greet.  I was one of thirteen alumni, working in a variety of communication and media fields, amongst television producers and directors, web editors, journalists, advertising and public relations specialists, human resources professionals and more.

I shared my story about how I started at 21 as an innocent little project coordinator at NYC’s HUGE. From there, I’ve evolved my agency career to eventually transition to social media, my current passion and love, as community content manager at Radian6.

When students received the green light to approach the alumni upon the conclusion of our speeches, it was like a fast-moving thunderstorm, raining questions and life stories down on us in thick sheets. In that hour-long moment, I listened and shared, relating to students’ wonders and woes.

I had assumed most would be interested in my advertising experience. After all, that’s what they’re learning in school. Many are getting advertising degrees. Oftentimes social media classes are few and far between on a communication curriculum.

But I was wrong.

Students wanted to know about social media and how to break into the field. What positions could they apply for? What experience do they need? What should their resume look like?

I was excited.

There was a real interest in this field from the future workforce. I was talking to potential community managers, social media managers, and social entrepreneurs. There was an opportunity to further excite and educate this crowd.

So I had advice for these kids. A lot of it. I’ll be doing a series of posts over the next few weeks providing that info. Starting today, here’s my first tidbit.

Know the Job Positions

Some social media jobs don’t even have the words “social media” in the titles. Jobs like social strategist and community manager are well-versed, social media-focused positions. Since it may not be easy to find, here’s what to look for:

  • Social media manager assistant – common for brands and agencies, social media managers work with the marketing team to develop campaigns or projects that incorporate social media. They often need assistants or a team of people to execute their strategies.
  • Jr community manager – as the social media virus spreads, more and more brands need community managers to handle the loads of social media mentions. CM’s are engaging behind the brand’s Twitter handle and Facebook page, creating content such as blogs and infographics and ensuring their efforts are always on strategy. Junior community managers are right there helping to manage this load.
  • Assistant to the social strategist – Social media strategists see social media campaigns from 30,000 feet and make recommendations and proposals for brands and agencies. They can be consultants or work for an agency. They need assistants for researching, creating content, working on plans and executing strategies.
  • Jr project manager – there are many interactive agencies or full service agencies with an interactive arm. The day-to-day workload is managed by project managers and jr project managers and they’re doing everything from managing websites to online ads to paid search campaigns. Today, social media is falling into their laps as well.
  • Associate media buyer – Media buyers are still purchasing traditional media such as television, radio and outdoor, but more and more, the purchasing of Facebook ads and promoted tweets are entering the mix. As an associate, you’ll make smaller buys and assist more experienced media buyers.
  • Social media internships – Agencies and brands hire marketing and communications interns for a number of reasons and sometimes there are social media-specific opportunities. Know going in that you will be wearing a lot of hats as you assist with social media and other forms of media as well.

There are plenty more – check Social Media Jobs.

Next week I’ll discuss the importance of getting social in social media, beyond your own Facebook page and Pinterest boards.

I want to thank the University of Hartford for having me and the students for making me so excited about their interest and love for social media.

What other social media positions have you heard of? Are you in any positions that would appeal to these students? Share your thoughts here and maybe we can make some connections!

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4 Responses to “School’s Out: How to Start a Career in Social Media”

  1. Randy Jacobs March 12, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    You’re awesome Amanda. Always so generous with your time. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with our current students. Can’t tell you how proud I am of you and all you’re achieved professionally.

    • Amanda Nelson March 13, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Thanks Dr. Jacobs. I love being inspired – it makes writing so much easier! I’ll continue to share this series as I hope it will be as helpful to the students as they were to me. You’ve been an amazing mentor and coach you’re the main reason I give my time. :)

  2. This is the right site for anyone who really wants to understand this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic which has been written about for decades. Excellent stuff, just great!

    • Amanda Nelson June 26, 2012 at 7:12 am #

      Thanks for the nice comment and glad you enjoyed it. Means a lot coming from you! Having a job in social media is so much fun and exciting – this industry changes everyday!

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