10 Things To Know Before Taking That Social Media Job

flickr: Jorge Quinteros

This guest post was written by Jessica Malnik an Interactive Marketing Coordinator by day, Generation Y blogger, videographer, social media enthusiast and web designer by night. For her social media, public relations, technology, and workplace ramblings, please visit her blog.

There’s no doubt that 2009 and 2010 were the years social media just exploded. Everyone was on it, and with that a lot of people thought they were instant experts. This is not the case at all. I’ll break down the top ten things you need to know before you take or even apply for that social media job.

10. It’s not an excuse to get paid to play Farmville, Mafia Wars, or (insert social game of choice).

Now, I admit this should be obvious. But, I still hear this reasoning in some way, shape or form too much. Just because you work in social media, does not mean that you get to play online all day. There is a lot of hard work that goes into it.

9. Be prepared for little, to no, divide between personal and professional life.

When you take over a company social media account, you are now an official brand advocate. Everything you tweet or post is public. That goes for your personal accounts too. You really need to watch everything you tweet.

8. Social media makes you a de facto “public figure”.

This goes on the same lines as the last point. Just like in a court of law, everything you tweet can be used against you. So tweet with caution. As as Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) would say, think of social media posts like a giant billboard. Don’t post anything on them that don’t want your mom, your boss or your grandma to see while driving on the highway.

7. No matter how hard you try, online “trolls” will come after you.

Online trolls are not a new phenomenon. They used to hang out back in the day in those sketchy AOL chat rooms and ask you for way too much information, such as your address. Nowadays, they just spam you or write negative or very random comments on your blog and social media sites. The trick is to ignore them. Trolls are NOT worth your time and energy ever.

6. There is no “on” or “off” switch in social media. Social media is 24/7.

Social media is a constant. It doesn’t turn on at 9 a.m. and off at 5 p.m. You can’t just schedule posts on evenings, weekends, and holidays and turn a blind eye. You need to be monitoring those accounts daily. You never know when a social media crisis will strike, and it can explode in a matter of minutes.

5. Social media professionals must be great listeners.

Social media is just another form of communication. Because of this, actively listening is often more important than crafting messages. As a social media professional, you are responsible to know what people are saying about your brand all the time. The only way you can do this effectively is to use listening tools- a.k.a. platforms like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Radian 6 and/or Mediafeedia.

4.  Exceptional writing is paramount for success in social media.

Brevity is everything in social media. You have to be a concise and creative writer to convey your message to your audience. Period.

3. You have to be “a fighter” and “a diplomat.”

Be prepared to stand your ground, show the ROI of your social media efforts and   explain to your boss(es) that what you are doing are helping the bottom line.

2. Innovation is key!

Social media changes quickly. A site can be in one day and then out the next. Just take a look at Myspace. They were the dominant site until Facebook came in and essentially annihilated them. Now, the only people still on Myspace are high school students, musicians and perverts.

1. Social media jobs are 95% research, 5% execution.

This is probably the most important thing to understand about social media jobs. Be prepared to spend countless hours reading articles/blog posts and educating yourself on fast moving trends. The minute you fall behind, that’s when your career will plummet.

View more Top 10 in 2010 series.

5 thoughts on “10 Things To Know Before Taking That Social Media Job

  1. Great advice Jessica! And while I agree that it’s not just about playing online, I find the easiest way to explain my job to most people is to say “I play on the internet all day… although I play with a purpose.”

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  2. while I consider what I do for work to be fun I’m not sure I’d go with the “play on the internet” description myself. cc: @jessicamalnik

Comments are closed.