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Social Media

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Since inception in 2004, Facebook has changed the way we interact with others and the world at large. The explosion of social media has created a vast and dynamic field of opportunities for those with the vision, creativity, and the technical skills to harness the power of this new form of communication. Businesses of all shapes and sizes, as well as non-profits, government agencies, and individuals are finding that having a website is no longer enough. In order to capitalize on the opportunity to reach and engage their target audience, as well as to shape the way consumers interact with their brand, they need and want a dynamic social media presence.

Advertising, marketing and PR firms were quick to find innovative ways to capitalize on social media, and remain a dominant force in helping companies and individuals promote themselves and build their brand on the many social media outlets. Businesses and non-profits also employ social media professionals in house, often times as part of their marketing divisions. Government agencies at all levels, from local to federal, as well as political candidates, are also maintaining a presence on social media outlets. New social media platforms are constantly being created, and established platforms are enhancing their current service and working hard to retain and grow their user groups, making room for new hires that bring fresh ideas, perspectives and talents to the companies developing and running these platforms.  

When considering a career in social media, you should first ask yourself where you want to focus your search. Are you interested in being a part of the social media companies themselves, growing established sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or perhaps working for a start-up that is hoping to build the next major social media site? Would you rather work for an advertising, marketing or PR firm that is assisting their clients with building and monitoring their social media presence? Would you prefer to work for a nonprofit or within government, maybe directly for a political candidate? You could also focus your search on businesses or corporations in industries that appeal to you, such as fashion, technology or consumer products. There are many possibilities, focusing your search on one or two areas can make this process more manageable.

Things to Consider

Having a robust, yet professional, online presence on social media sites is a must for anyone looking to work in this area. Potential employers will want to see that candidates maintain an active online presence for themselves, are able to effectively establish and build their own brand, and are comfortable with mainstream and emerging social media platforms. Review the information on establishing a professional online identity for more information on building and maintaining a professional image on social media.

Many companies, agencies, and nonprofits offer social media internships. Depending on the opportunity, these could include establishing or maintaining a social media presence, promoting a new social media platform, analyzing data to understand who and how consumers are interacting with brands on social media, or for those with strong technical skills, helping to build a new platform or features.

The networking relationships developed through internships can help you as you approach your full-time job search. For full-time opportunities, networking and interacting with companies online is essential, as is staying up to date with the latest trends. For summer internships, employers will typically hire between January and April; full-time hiring is more unpredictable. Opportunities become available when someone leaves, when the company begins to expand, when funding becomes available, all of which happen at varying times. Building relationships early through internships and networking can help you position yourself to find out about full-time opportunities before they get advertised.

Some common job titles include: Social Media Strategist; SEO Associate; Online Community Manager; Social Media Developer; Online Video Producer; Blogger/Social Media Copywriter.

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