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This article was published on September 13, 2014

What it’s really like to work in social media

What it’s really like to work in social media

Leah Pope is the VP of Global Marketing of Synthesio.

In today’s market, social media is no longer simply about Facebook ‘Likes’ and tweets; rather it has become a key tool for any business. That is why social media is one of the most interesting and exciting industries to work in, especially since there are so many different companies that fall under the umbrella title of being a “social media company.”

Community Managers, Web Consultants and Online Customer Service Agents are just a few of the new roles in modern online customer service teams, and are increasingly present in a range of businesses. So what does it take to get a job like that?

I could write an entire book answering that question. Instead, here’s a break down of some of the most crucial things that someone who works with social media must do.

Think like a CEO

So you want to be the person behind the social media accounts of a brand? That is great, however, it also means that there is an incredible amount of pressure and importance to your job.

You are responsible for speaking in real-time with millions of customers and potential consumers. This means that you must understand each and every aspect of the company, and you must be able to speak about the company with the same expertise and ability as the CEO and senior executives that have been involved in every decision that has ever been made around the brand.

Social media is a real-time interactive platform, so always expect the unexpected.

Be a strategic thinker

innovation light bulb idea

Many people think that working in social media is easy. All you do is think of creative and engaging content to post on Facebook to get Likes and on Twitter to get retweets. A funny tweet here and a click-baiting Facebook status there, and your day is over.

This common misconception fails to understand how social media has moved from being a tool to simply connect and engage with friends and family, to fundamentally changing the way brands and customers interact with each other.

Companies have an incredible ability to broadcast their messaging directly to their customers, and customers have the ability, and the right, to let a business know exactly how they feel. Therefore, it is an absolute necessity that you are fully prepared when you are posting for a company. 

Before a business is ready to start posting to social media, it is crucial that it formulates a strategy. Going back to our metaphor from earlier, before you start a scientific experiment you must have a proper roadmap that will guide you through the process. This strategy will also help you understand what you are trying to achieve and what roadblocks may lay ahead of you.

This level of thought and planning must go into your brand’s social media strategy. Every post must have a purpose and that purpose should be understood and decided long before you go live. Putting this level of thought behind each post will help prevent you from posting regrettable tweets like many brands have done that lead to backlash from its consumers.

Be flexible

Now that you have your strategic plan in place and you are ready to carefully and meticulously implement the plan, you can get ready to throw that plan out the window.

Inevitably, something unexpected will come up and it will drastically alter your plans. Like a scientist who accidentally discovers something completely unexpected in an experiment, you must be able to adapt and allow your platform to evolve naturally. 

Be able to process and understand data

The ability to ensure that you stay on point with your messaging while allowing your platform to change as it grows goes hand-in-hand with your ability to understand and process social analytics. Being able to monitor its social reputation and know how to react is the true measure of a successful and prepared Social Scientist.

It is your job to take this data and understand how you need to modify your approach and adapt to what your customers are saying, while still making sure that you are delivering the proper messaging for your brand. 

Looking ahead

Now that you know what it takes to make it in social media, it is important to understand where the industry is heading. Social marketing as a discipline is maturing and therefore it is creating more specialized roles for those who work in the industry.

With new developments rapidly coming down the track, there is a big opportunity for people to embark on an exciting career within social media in any one of these new roles.

Read next: Don’t leave money on the table: How to negotiate your next community job offer


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