10 Ways To Get Your Ideal Social Media Job (From The People Who Know)

Written by: Andy Vale — Content Manager at AudienseCo.

In a consistently growing field (CMOs are looking to increase social media spending to 21.4% of the marketing budgets), it’s important for recruiters to know what to look out for when hiring for their social team. Equally, people going for those roles need to know what’s expected of them, what they can add to their repertoire to boost their chances, and how they can put their best foot forward.

One of the core aspects of our content at Audiense is that we get leading social and digital marketing professionals to give us insights about their work in our blogs, eBooks, and social media interviews. They’re creating campaigns every day at brands, companies, and organisations that many people want to work with, or emulate, so it only makes sense to us to hear what they have to say.

So from time to time we ask leading brands and organisations what a social professional needs, and here are 10 of the best answers we’ve had:

Demonstrate An Understanding Of The Bigger Picture

Being able to take great pictures, write witty Tweets, and be an expert at jumping on trends are all great skills. But if you can’t see the bigger picture in terms of how the channels work and how they’ll benefit the company then you may be usurped by someone who can.

I would stress that in most corporations, social is expected to drive business results just as much as other marketing vehicles. Great social media managers understand that it’s critical to have an overarching strategy for all platforms, and a voice for each of your channels so that social can make great contributions to your business.
Mary-Irene Marek, Social Media Manager, Toys “R” Us

Bring Ideas, And How To Implement Them

There’s no point hiring an applicant who has no fresh thoughts on what the company could be doing. So you need to come up with what the company could do on social, and have a solid grasp on what’s required to activate the results of these creative bursts.

“When I hire for a social role at Airbnb, I’m looking for; Creativity, so when there is a new project or technology they can spin up 50 ideas in 5 mins. Entrepreneurship; so they test and learn what works and have a passion for making their ideas reality. And finally Storytelling; because everything we do is about understanding people, building human relationships and expressing emotions — all of which need a brilliant storyteller to capture attention for the right reasons.”
Holly Clarke, EMEA Marketing Manager, Airbnb

Create Your Own Content

One of the best ways to show that you’re interested in using social media to drive business and marketing metrics is by actually making something to demonstrate your work with.

The best bit of experience that I got before working in social media was to start a blog — it’s now died, but having to constantly update a social channel, think of new and engaging ways to chat to an audience and then reactively look after all of the comments, taught me the basics before I even realised that social media was a profession.
Sedge Beswick, Global Senior Social Media Manager, ASOS

Get Some Social Media Marketing Experience

Why would an aspirational billion-dollar brand hire you for social if you’ve shown no previous aptitude or obvious interest in it? Take opportunities to develop your skills and strategic thinking by helping out smaller businesses or brands.

The best way to prepare for a social media role is to execute on strategies for your own personal blog or friends’ small business. Through a successful personal Twitter account or promotion of a small business, you can demonstrate social media strategies and explain how you chose that strategy. Another alternative is to volunteer to support social media and internet / search marketing for a variety of local charities.This allows you to test marketing strategies and help your community at the same time. Even if the small business or charity has minimal or no budget for paid media, it’s a great investment to buy some Google, Bing, Twitter, or Facebook ads to test demographic targeting and conversions. Social media and internet marketing both offer easy routes to gain experience on your own. Passion for a topic or small business will help you to maximize your impact, gain real-life experience, and demonstrate results.

Andrew Davis, Social Media Reactive Team Lead, Xbox

Know The Platforms, Know The Differences

The distinctions between social platforms are rapidly becoming a key factor in how brand messages and content are communicated. Social professionals need to know how to optimise their posts to fit the platform.

When looking for anyone to join my digital communications team, a successful candidate will have a strong grasp of digital video and understand how it should be packaged and tailored to suit different platforms and social networks. They must also love sport and understand that brands must have different tones of voice across various platforms (including social networks) to ensure they connect with the different audiences who use them. It is old-fashioned and frankly lazy to always put the same content in exactly the same form on all your social channels. You must tailor your content to suit the platform and audiences engaging with them.
Mark Gilbert, Head of Digital Communications, The Football Association

Don’t Think In A Silo

Every company has its stories, and a social media professional won’t find them without establishing a solid understanding of the wider company. Demonstrating that this is something you’re aware of, or even highlighting previous stories and ideas to communicate them, will show that you’re thinking about social’s role with other areas of the business.

“For social media pros in the corporate space, the most important skill to have is the ability to work across the business. Keep up to speed on everything that might be going on and to ensure that all the buried stories that will exist are allowed to come to the fore using your social channels or advocacy programme.”
Keith Lewis, Social Media Manager, Zurich

Want The Right Social Media Job? Get The Right Attitude

Technical skill is important, but there will be some companies that can hone those skills and provide training. The ideal applicant will bring personal traits that can’t be taught.

At Social Chain, we look for passionate, bright, enthusiastic people. It’s all about attitude and commitment to our cause over knowledge and experience. We’re in an ever changing landscape; there’s always a new update, platform or trend, so the right attitude is essential. We can teach you the rest.
Lucy Clarke, Marketing Director, Social Chain

Keep Building Your Skill Set

As a mature medium of communication, social media roles encompass a wide mix of skills, and will likely continue to grow in that respect for the foreseeable future. Don’t sit on the skills you have, building them now will prepare you for your next role.

The ability to wear many hats is of vital importance. The days when you specialised in one area for many professions are over, and nowhere is this more evident than in the social world. A social role will require you to be many things. Be willing to embrace this and see it is an opportunity to acquire new skills.
Lisa Maynard-Atem, Social Media Manager, Harrods

Network

If you can’t strike up a conversation with someone in the industry, why would a brand let you loose on their millions of followers? Seek out the professionals, go to events, make a good impression, and learn as much from them as possible. Who knows what might come of it?

It’s a tough industry to get into but persistence will get you everywhere, speak to as many industry professionals as you can find and, more than anything, try to enjoy learning about the weird and wonderful world of social media.
Tim Love, Social Media Manager, Pizza Express

That’s a lot of advice to take on board, but it will all help to put you in a position where you’re the right person for the job you want. If you’re already in a full-time social media role, what do you think was the most helpful thing for you getting that job?

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