What is social media and is it a career for you?

Inspiring Interns has placed many graduates in social media roles. If you have a flair for words you might be considering a job in copywriting or journalism, dismissing social media as a serious career option. In the past 24 months, this has all changed. Brands are crying out for talented, web-literate graduates with an innate understanding of social media.

The essence of SM is engaging and connecting with others- your peers, your friends, brands, communities, and celebrities. It allows you to share photos (Flikr/Twitpic), conversations (Twitter/chat rooms), your life (Facebook), knowledge (Wikipedia), videos (Youtube), your CV (LinkedIn) and your views (WordPress/Blogger). Social media is powerful. Facebook has 500 million active users and could hypothetically form the third largest country in the world. In May 2010, FB overtook Google as the most used website in the US.  FB captures an intricate insight into users’ views and interests, and its ads are therefore highly targeted and relevant.

Dell is a classic social media success story. They’ve used social media to engage with their customers, improve their products and improve brand loyalty. Their Twitter page has been used to provide immediate online support for their customers. Their acclaimed blog IdeaStorm has their customers sharing ideas and feedback on their products, which effectively helps Dell improve their designs for free. Dell’s SM has resulted in a significant increase in its sales.

Careers in SM vary widely. Every brand wants to harness the power of the masses. It’s cheap and it can be hugely effective if done right. Good social media managers are like gold dust and the industry is mushrooming.  SMPs can work in-house for a company/brand, as part of an in-house marketing team or for a specialist social media agency such as Alterian.

Social media professionals write blog posts, analyse audience’s reactions and act accordingly. SMPs need to be able to think on their feet, as timely responses are an imperative. You need rock-solid written and oral communications skills.  Because things are changing so rapidly in the ‘real’ world and online, you’ll need to be able to challenge thinking and create new solutions.  If you can create order from chaos and find clear pathways through disparate ideas, then social media might be up your street. It’s important that you have an inquisitive mind- that you are curious about the world around you and the social media industry as a whole.

Because social media is so popular with companies and graduates, it is usually quite difficult to secure a job with little experience. They usually hire interns or give the job to people who are already working in the company. Inspiring Interns can provide the perfect gateway into this industry, finding meaningful three month internships in social media roles that lead to full-time employment.