Sunday, December 25, 2011

Breaking in to a Social Media Career

Ever since MySpace and Facebook emerged onto the scene, it’s become very apparent that social media is a force to be reckoned with. But unlike in the early days of social media, you’ll find that more companies, from large brands to small businesses, are making their presence felt in this arena. What does that mean for you? Well, it could potentially mean a career. If you searched for the term “social media” on five years ago, you wouldn’t have seen many jobs. Do the same thing today and you’ll see that you’ve got a lot of options. So, how do you position yourself as an expert in this field? Be prepared to show the fruits of your labor.

It’s not enough to say “I have Facebook and Twitter accounts.” Um yeah, who doesn’t? Do a Google search for your name and see what comes up. Your Facebook and Twitter (and Google + and LinkedIn and any other social networking sites you may frequent) pages should be on the first page of search results. For most people, this will happen pretty naturally. You just need to setup the accounts with your name and use them. For those with common names or celebrity names, this might be a little challenging.  For example, if your name happens to be Barack Obama, well, you might have to find another way to show results.

Make sure your social networking accounts are impressive. It’s okay if you use Facebook for personal interactions. You don’t have to include it as long as you have other social networking sites that are impressive. If you want a career in social networking, you should have a Twitter account with at least one thousand followers. More is better, but quality counts too. You should also tweet daily and interact with your followers. This will give you a Klout or Kred score to be proud of. Feel free to mention your score to potential employers, but they’ll probably check anyway. Just keep in mind that this advice works best when you’re looking for a career in social media or marketing. If you’re looking for a job as a tattoo artist, your employer will care more about your work portfolio than your Kred score.

Share your social media stats with any potential employer. There are apps that will monitor your accounts and present you with charts that detail how influential you really are online (in greater detail than Klout or Kred). Most apps track twitter, but there are some that will track your other interactions too. Such an app might tell you how likely your tweets are to be retweeted or replied to. They might also tell you how often people click on links that you’ve posted. Your potential employer will want to know that you are actually influencing others online about topics related to their company. Treat this like any other job application and show them what they want to see. The greater your online presence, the greater chance you’ll have of being hired. 

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