In my last role, I spent a lot of time helping clients create and implement digital strategies, with a strong focus on social media. I also hired many social superstars. From my time in the industry, I can say that there are a whole load of social media job myths floating about out there.
So, if you're new to the industry and eager to find yourself a social media job, take note of the myths I've highlighted below...
Myth 1. You don't need to know anything about marketing to be a social media manager
There's a big difference between populating a social media page and implementing a strategy that contributes to the achievement of a business' goals. Social media marketing ismarketing (hence the inclusion of the word marketing right there at the end!); the people out there doing amazing things in the field know and respect this fact.
So is it the end of the world if you don't have a marketing degree? No. I mean, it helps, but relevant experience and a thirst for knowledge can provide you with a great foundation to build on. That said, if you're reading this as a school leaver who's keen to make their mark in the field, be sure to look into marketing!
Myth 2: As long as you know how to post on every single social network, everything will be okay.
No. Just no. A social media superstar will be aware of how every single network 'works' and how (or if) it fits into the brand's 'bigger picture'. They'll also be able to use their knowledge of marketing to create a truly amazing strategy, ensuring that they're targeting the right people, in the right place at the right time, and regularly reviewing performance.
Experience in other areas of digital and offline marketing (SEO and PR to name but a few), and an understanding of how each channel reinforces the other, is great too. Why? Well, a wider understanding of it all helps you add real value for your fans and followers as well as for the company overall. It also makes you a much easier person to work with when it comes to collaborating with other departments ...
Myth 3: having a kick-a** social media presence across your personal profiles means that you're ready to take over a brand's social activity.
Whoa, hold on there! There's a difference between looking after your own accounts and taking responsibility for an entire brand's social strategy.
Business accounts offer a whole host of different features, and you'll need to use a variety of tactics to help you achieve specific goals. Everything you do needs to be well thought out, with its performance reviewed - from content creation, brand associations and tone of voice to paid promotion, KPIs, outreach, and more ...
Myth 4: working in customer service gives you all the skills you need to work in social
Sure, experience in customer service is great for social media, but it's definitely not everything. Social media goes waaay beyond customer service. To avoid repeating myself here, see myths 1 - 3. And to this, add PR experience and awareness too.
Social media is always played out in real-time, often in front of your audience - and anyone else who wants to watch (or laugh / goad / share ... or worse). It's not always confined to a single moment in time; one comment can spark a (very viral) social riot. And yeah, you're right - you can delete posts ... but who knows who will have seen (and shared) them before they're gone? And what if deleting something makes the situation even worse? Yikes!
At the end of the day, you become the face of the brand when you take on the role of social media manager, and this in itself is a massive responsibility. If a brand related riot does kick off somewhere on the internet, it could partially be your fault, it could be completely out of your control - it might not even start on your social page (but that's no excuse for it not being on your radar) ...
Myth 5: if it ain't broke, don't fix it
Now, social media doesn't 'break', but it does change. A whole lot. Blink and you'll miss new features (or fail to realise that old features are being removed). Your competitors are (usually) always changing and improving. What worked once on your page can suddenly be left for dead due to fast growth or algorithm changes... In fact, entire social networks can change dramatically (err, Google+) or appear and, in a short space of time, die out (Bebo, anyone?).
A social media job isn't an opportunity that you should jump on simply because it looks easy and you like spending time on Snapchat. True success as a social media champion comes from a love of continual learning, bucket-loads of curiosity and an undying passion for the specialism and the pace with which is moves. This, my friends, isn't something that you can learn. You either have it, or you don't.
Wait, there's more!
That's right. Take a look at part 2 of social media job myths...