By Request: Resources For Aspiring Social Media Professionals
Posted on April 24, 2016
I often get emails from students, young professionals, and career changers asking for advice on how to break into the field of social media. This post gathers all the resources for social media professionals I recommend and the advice I provide. This list is not specific to higher education social media marketers (I’ll write another post gathering those resources!). If anyone asks you similar questions, feel free to direct them to this post.
Resources for Social Media Professionals
The quality of some social-medial related resources vary over time. The resources I recommend have remained relevant for over three years.
Social Media Books
The following books are a great introduction to the concepts of using social media to inform, influence, or sell. Some of them are a few years old, but if so they cover concepts that stand the test of time.
- Youtility by Jay Baer
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck (I reviewed these two books)
- Audience by Jeffrey Rohrs
- Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer
If you are running a social media program for your business, you must read Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard. This book was my bible when starting the social media program at Great Lakes, and it’s the textbook I use for my Social Media Measurement for Higher Ed course.
Social Media Blogs and Podcasts
Add the following blogs (and associated podcasts) to your RSS reader. Many of these companies/organizations also offer excellent conferences and events.
- Ben Donker’s blog (focus on social listening and social media analytics)
- Brandwatch Blog
- Convince and Convert (the Social Pros podcast is excellent)
- Jon Loomer (focus on Facebook marketing)
- Social Fresh
- Social Media Examiner (lots of tactics, very little strategy)
- Sprout Social Insights
Social Media Twitter Chats
Twitter chats can be a great way to not only learn more about social media marketing, but also to connect with people that do it for a living. The quality and participation of the chat may vary from week to week.
- #GetRealChat (about “social business, technology, entrepreneurship, marketing, commerce, life and much more”)
- #CMGRchat (for community managers)
Typical Duties of a Social Media Professional
Of course, these may vary based on industry and position type, but if someone says they work in social media, I expect them to know how to perform the following job functions.
- Monitor online conversation (using software) for mentions of the company and respond or forward to the appropriate person as appropriate.
- Curate content from the industry (blogs, news articles, videos, etc) to share on social media.
- Write original content for social media channels.
- Plan content calendars in advance, seek approvals, and schedule for posting.
- Respond to questions and comments on a variety of social platforms in a timely fashion.
- Report on social listening, reach, and engagement activity on a regular basis.
- Research new trends and adapt our tactics and strategies appropriately.
- Plan special campaigns (sweepstakes, promotions) using social media.
- Work with other areas of the company to help them understand how to incorporate social media into their messaging.
Future Outlook for Social Media Professionals
I actually don’t get asked about this very often, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Currently, some companies have a social media department. Within the next 5-10 years, I expect departments like that to disappear. The need to know how to use social media to achieve your business goals (marketing, engagement, customer care, reputation management, recruiting, etc) will be an expectation of a variety of job roles, both within and outside the marketing department. A forward-looking professional will learn how to explain the value of social media skills in terms of business goals, and likely will not apply for many more “social media positions” after 2020. Rather, a marketer, writer, HR professional, brand strategist, or customer care professional will be of higher quality because he/she/ze understands the role that social media plays in their industry.
What Would You Add?
I purposely kept this list short so it was not overwhelming. If you have suggestions of resources for social media professionals that aren’t specific to a particular industry, please add them to the comments.