Careers: Social Media Specialist

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Careers
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Have you ever wondered what you are going to do with the education that you are acquiring in school? Do you know what types of jobs even exist out there that you might be interested in pursuing? And what are the education and skills needed to get hired in these job fields, anyway? btw’s new, recurring feature CAREERS can help give you some answers to these questions.

Chances are, you spend a lot of time on social media. What if you could translate your social media experience into a paying career? This week, btw examines the job of social media specialist.

What Is It?

Social media specialists communicate with the public using social media resources such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They work toward sparking public interest in a company and building its reputation online.  Social media specialists often work with other communications specialists, such as marketers and publicists. They can promote special events, and also tie in current events to keep a company’s message timely and relevant.

Flat design modern vector illustration concept of social media icons: kasiaa/Shutterstock

Credit: kasiaa/Shutterstock

Educational Experience

A social media specialist usually has a bachelor’s degree in a field such as public relations, communications, or business. In addition, he or she must have ample experience using social media platforms and networking tools. Someone working in this field must be creative and excellent at communicating. He or she must have a sense of what current trends and issues are, and be able to use this knowledge to keep a company’s image relevant to the public. To stand out to future employers, students should consider pursuing an internship focusing on developing their leadership, writing, or social media skills.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which groups social media coordinators with other types of public relations professionals, there were almost 219,000 jobs in this field in 2015. This number is projected to grow 4 percent between now and 2024, which will result in about 27,000 new jobs. In 2015, the average wage for a full-time public relations specialist was $56,770. It’s important to note that self-employed, freelance, part-time, and contracted workers are not included in these estimates.

Pros and Cons

Aside from being paid to use social media, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of career? Keeping up with current events all of the time can be very time-consuming, which can be challenging for your personal life. Also, your job will require you to maintain constant contact with the public, and respond to both positive feedback and criticism: an advantage for some people, and a disadvantage for others.

Because more and more businesses are using social media as a way to communicate with the public, social media specialist is considered a fast-growing field. However, because this kind of work is so popular, job candidates often face a lot of stiff competition. Staying current on trends, following your favorite companies online, and constantly working to improve your own writing and communication skills are all great ways to keep yourself competitive in this exciting new field.

Dig Deeper: Think of two or three companies whose products you use regularly, and then investigate those companies’ online presence. Do they use social media to promote their products or image? If yes, then in your opinion, do they utilize these online tools effectively? If not, how could their methods be improved? And if the company does not have a social media presence, do you think they would benefit from establishing one?