So you want a job working in social media huh? Living the dream. Playing on Facebook all day and getting paid to do it, tweeting for fun and profit, working from your laptop in exotic locations around the world while you give inspiring speeches at marketing conventions and advise multinational corporations on influencer strategy. Maybe you’re a closet YouTube sensation waiting to happen. Maybe one day your number of Twitter followers will be greater than the number of people you’ve actually met. Maybe one day you’ll find the digerati holy grail and one of your ideas will go… viral.
If you’ve got social media career aspirations, here’s where you could end up, and more importantly, how to get there.
Director of online interactive relationshipmentarianism at a multinational corporation
Job Description: This is it. The biggest, bestest, buzz job in town. Pepsi has one, Coke has one, Ford has one. The CEO and CMO love you because your very existence makes them look cool and you oversee a crack team of minions made up of handfuls of the people on the list below. You spend your days counting your Twitter followers and quoting passages from The Cluetrain Manifesto, which you read and/or wrote 10 years ago before social media was even invented.
How to get this job: Work in marketing for a decade and write a blog that begs attention and belief. Schmooze, arse-kiss, network, know the CEO and be in the right place at the right time. Master the Powerpoint ‘wow factor’ to help you justify social media ROI in your slides. A postgraduate degree from an Ivy League college, a famous white paper and well-connected parents certainly won’t hurt your chances either.
Freelance social media consultant who is a New York Times Best Seller
Job description: These are rock stars of the social media world. Luminaries include Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, and of course, Seth ‘God’ Godin. You won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 and you won’t appear via webcam at a marketing conference for less than $100K. You get mobbed by random social media strategists on the street and people make t-shirts with your name on them. You have more than a million Twitter followers and you run two separate Facebook accounts, one for the thousands of fans and one for both of your actual real-life friends. (Real-life, not second life; they’re different).
How to get this job: Work at a successful dot com company and write an original self-help business book about the experience. You only need one good one, then you can re-work your ideas for the next 20 and just change the cover artwork.
Freelance social media consultant who is not a New York Times Best Seller but has read the New York Times a couple of times, but only the online version, and only to admire the Apple ads
Job Description: You’ve got a blog and you’re not afraid to use it! Everyone, like EVERYONE, like every, like blogger in your city knows who you are and you know heaps about social media and you’ve got lots of opinions and stuff. You’re listed on all the top lists of top bloggers and tweeters and you did some work once with an actual company and you helped them understand that the old ways were gone and different and social media is the new way!
How to get this job: Figure out how to install WordPress.
Social media manager
Job Description: Like a director of online interactive telationshipmentarianism at a multinational corporation, you’re at the pointy end of the career path, but you’re probably a bit younger, the company you work for is slightly smaller and your office, if you have one of your own, doesn’t have a view. Still, you were high school captain, you’re getting paid $90K a year, you’re at a company everyone has heard of and you’re probably kicking some goals and getting some credit for changing the way things are done. You were most likely a marketing manager in the UK in a former life until you were fired for spending too much time on Facebook. You cover this up by telling people it was the GFC (Global Financial Crisis, and/or Geelong Football Club, pick one) that forced you back to Sydney or Melbourne and everyone nods empathetically.
How to get this job: Get a job in marketing in an ASX200 company. Shine. Be the one who knows everything there is to know about social media. Convince the powers that be that that position should be created. Wait for the position to be created. Bang.
Marketing manager who loves social media
Job Description: You saw the writing on the wall years ago when traditional advertising didn’t really seem to be doing anything, nothing you could prove anyway, and you knew this whole social media thing could be an answer. You read Seth Godin every morning with your skinny-latte, you go to every seminar you can find on using Twitter for business and you’ve been blogging since 2008. Most of your day is taken up with charts and meetings and that boring stuff, but you dedicate quite a few hours to the company Facebook page and you wet your pants when you saw this presentation on convincing your boss that social media ROI is about more than tracking impressions.
How to get this job: Graduate top of your class at uni. Score the best internships. Start out as a marketing coordinator, blog a lot. Wait for the marketing manager to get fired or move to London (or hack their Facebook account). Step up a rung. Convince the boss that social media will work. Write blog posts for him. Tweet a lot.
Social media strategist
Job Description: You come up with social media strategies for clients of the agency you work in. Deep down you know they don’t really make any money for the client, but you suspect that one day they might and that helps you sleep at night. If anyone asks any tricky questions you just mumble something about communities and multiply the number of followers your second cousin’s Twitter followers have to create impressive looking reach diagrams.
How to get this job: Be particularly smart, savvy and hassle the right people. Keep a case study on hand at all times and spend at least five hours a day socially networking.
Seek.com.au Job Description: “Exciting new company seeks motive web guru to manage our fantasmic online community of incredibly interesting people who do wonderfully fantastic things. Marketing nous essential and copywriting skills a bonus. You know who you are!”
Actual Job Description: “Company built on venture capital with virtually no chance of actual profitability this side of 2060 seeks redundant marketing/advertising/sales/IT person desperate enough to work for share options and cold Moccona. Tasks include spam management, writing articles that match our list of SEO keywords, getting coffee for the ‘CEO’ before he plays golf (there’s only four employees in the company but he still chooses CEO as his job title of course), selling ads, cleaning, phone-answering and spam management.
Social media intern
Job description: Advising older people on Twitter and MSN lingo. Checking Facebook. Updating Facebook stati. Attending meetings. LOL’ing. Day dreaming. ROFL’ing. Explaining what is and is not cool with the youth market. Blogging. Checking Facebook. Exploring cheap lunch options nearby. Writing a uni assignment on how social media is, like, heaps good. Defending Generation Y’s work ethic by simultaneously arguing about it and changing your Facebook status.
How to get this job: Have some sort of documentation that shows you attend a university every now and then. Point out that the fail you got in marketing strategy doesn’t count because you have a blog. Repeatedly ask nicely until someone caves in.
Social media work experience student
Job Description: Lurk. Smile hopefully and nonchalantly whenever someone comes near you. Practice your ‘I’m so, like, really busy over here’ face while you read B&T and wonder what all the big words mean and what the B and the T mean. Lurk some more. Dream about boys. Update the company Twitter page.
How to get this job: Make sure your dad knows/is someone.