A recent Forrester Research report suggests that career opportunities in Internet and Social Media Marketing could be opening up in the next few years. With job opportunities opening up and with people in need of work, we thought we’d take the time to highlight how to get your own job in the social media space.
With Forrester’s 5-year forecast predicting that B2B interactive marketing budgets are expected to reach nearly US$5B in 2014, that suggests a near-500% increase in social media spending. While that only amounts to a bit under $55M — which seems a bit small if you’re considering a career in SMM — there are other areas in Internet marketing that will enjoy increased spending. This includes the Mobile, Email, Display, SEO, and Paid Search niches. If you’re interested in a career in Social Media Marketing — aka SMM — here are some tips that might help you.
- Take your network pick. Choose which social networks to use. You do not have to use every single social network. Pick a few that are suited to your objectives. For example, I focus on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, though I used to have small but thriving networks in the social sharing (voting/ bookmarking) space (e.g., Sphinn, Digg, Stumbleupon, Propeller, Mixx, etc.). Social networks and social sharing have two different purposes, of course. I don’t use my MySpace account, but that may or may not change. For some of my new objectives, I’ll be expanding my LinkedIn and Facebook networks — though my Twitter network grows the fastest.
- Keep networking. Constantly network, online and offline, to build your online social networks. While just having a big following on, say, Twitter, isn’t necessarily proof of expertise. But it might be, if you can leverage it as necessary for your work.
- Build your expertise. It may not bring you overnight success, but New Media School, has a social media marketing program that might help you on your way to becoming an expert.
- Keep up. To continue being an expert, you have to stay on top of the industry – probably not just for SMM but for Internet Marketing in general. There are many dozens of great blogs to read and important conferences to attend. It gets increasingly hard to read all the posts, and expensive to attend the conferences, but you have to do what you can. For reading websites and blogs, some people prefer tools such as RSS feed readers, though I prefer AllTop and YourVersion. (Disclosure: I’m an unpaid tech evangelist for YourVersion.) If you’re self-employed, you can write off some or all of the costs. If you’re a salaried employee, make a case for why your employer should send you. What’s their bottom line?
- Share for free. Share your knowledge on your own website/ blog. Publish regular articles, give away ebooks, and encourage others to republish on their sites (your link & copyright will be present). What does this do? If what you offer is valuable content to enough people, you might get asked to share your knowledge for pay.
- Share for pay. Share your knowledge and get paid for it, in the form of articles, blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, reports. The latter three can be particularly lucrative, if you have a head for research and skills for presentation. Do workshops or conferences. If you establish your name as an “expert” in SMM, then it’s easier to pay for all those conferences by giving talks. You might receive comp tickets, get your expenses paid for, and possibly a speaking fee.
- Don’t focus on just SMM consulting. There numerous areas in Internet Marketing, as mentioned above, that you can be involed in to supplement your career. Just don’t pick too many niches and be mediocre in all of them.
- Go wider. Consider tangential careers, such as in Social Science combined with media. A family friend of mine — a professor at UCLA – studies and talks about the intersection of ethnography and technology. This allows him to get grants and travel to many exotic destinations, talk to tribes people and holy men who carry cellphones, and more.
- Eat your own social media dog food. You’re not just going to tell everyone else how to use social media, you’re going to have to use it too.
- Use LinkedIn to make connections and expand your potential client/ employer base. Get recommended for a job by someone who knows someone who knows …
- Follow people on Twitter who are in the SMM space, and Internet Marketing in general. Build your connections there. You never when you’ll get business leads — or a spark of inspiration — from someone’s tweet. Get people to follow you back by retweeting them and responding sincerely to their words.
- Facebook doesn’t have to be just for personal friends. I use it for professional connections whom I’ve sustained some sort of online or offline relationship with, beyond a single email or encounter. Use the “Friend list” feature to partition your connections into logical groups so that you can easily control who sees what of your Wall, photos, etc.
- Promote yourself. Have a social resume and publish it on your website, whether as media-rich web pages or a downloadable PDF document. Every time you do something significant in your career, update your social resume.
Have some tips for getting a career in the social media space? Feel free to share them here.