If you’re looking toward a career in social media management, it’s best to start building your bridges as early as you can.
“A digital marketing background is a great place to start,” says Ryerson University professor Dr. Donna Smith, an instructor for the Retail Management program.
Patrick Tackney, a Social Media Manager at one of Canada’s largest retail clothing companies, advises getting a part-time student job, internship, co-op or summer job with a company you plan to apply for later. This will help you get a feel for the organization’s corporate culture and really understand what the brand stands for.
Toan Dinh, Director of Marketing and Solutions for corporate disclosure filings research provider DisclosureNet, adds that adapting to the fast-paced, demanding and ever-changing environment of social media is another thing that all potential candidates have to face.
Want to get a head start on a social media management career? Here are Toan’s suggestions for greatness:
Strengthen your communication skills
Formally and informally. As an official representative of a brand, a Social Media Manager has to have clarity, accuracy and tact in communicating with customers, co-workers and the media. Focus on learning to say more with less.
Build your own personal social media channels
So that you can be immersed in the industry while looking for that next opportunity. Meeting the top players before you even enter the field shows you’re serious about forging a career path in the industry. Create strong connections by expressing a sincere, earnest and can-do attitude, and you’ll have better chances of getting your foot in the door.
For a local non-profit organization that provide social media management opportunities. Apart from gaining valuable networking opportunities and offering your time to a worthy cause, volunteering as a Social Media Manager will give you a feel for how the job actually works, with much less of the pressure.
Learn more about marketing strategies in your industry
Read books, articles and reports that explain how social media fits into corporate marketing strategies in your industry, or pick the brains of people in the know, like professionals or university instructors. Knowing as much as you can about marketing can help you gauge the role social media plays within the “big picture” so you’ll be ready once an interview comes around.
Pursue a communications-type marketing position
Even if social media roles aren’t immediately available. This can potentially open the door to a full-time social media role when the company is ready to take their marketing strategy to the next level, which happens quite often.
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