The term social media refers to the various communication platforms available on the Internet, such as Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Linked In. These platforms enable people to form digital communities in which individuals create and share content and with which other users interact. Social media has revolutionized how members of society interact with one another; on any given day, people are able to communicate instantly on a global scale. Furthermore, social media has created a prodigious growth in the job market for social media related tasks. Some of these new jobs include: bloggers, online community managers, and social media strategists, search engine optimization specialists, and media planners.
Social media introduces a new element to online rhetoric that influences the writing- the ability for the audience to respond. The communication channels opened up by the author-to-audience interactive relationship helps strengthen social ties. The author-to-audience relationship also effects audience analysis. For example, an author will shape the content of the writing when taking into consideration their intended audience and expected feedback. Conversations through websites such as these lead to discussion threads which resemble original rhetorical forums similar to those in the Greek tradition. Authors today must use the rhetorical idea of kairos to “assess their audience and adapt their tone and technique to best get their point across” (Thompson). The style of the blogs and LinkedIn sites helps to promote electronic rhetoric and maintain relationships through writing on the web.
Contrary to popular belief, social media was not simultaneously created with Facebook and Twitter, but rather, it has been in existence since the late 1970s when Ward Christensen and Randy Suess created the computerized bulletin board system (BBS). The roots of social media can be traced back to the advent of the Internet, starting with the use of email, the first platform by which users could digitally communicate. In this initial stage, digital conversation was strictly bidirectional; only two users were able to interact at any one moment. Eventually, this evolved into stable platforms, such as web pages, with which multiple users could engage at the same time. Today, these forums have further expanded into highly advanced networks, that allow for multiple types of content and interaction, such as Facebook and Twitter, on which users can instantly chat, post text, photos, videos, and other media.
Professional bloggers must be experienced writers who have voice and can communicate well with a diverse audience and know how to capture anyone’s interest. A blogger writes articles and blogs on the web as well as maintaining a website’s attractive appearance through pictures, videos, templates, or links. They must also make sure that every link is up to date. Since technology is always changing, they must keep up with easier and most recent ways to improve their blogging. There are popular websites designed for blogging, such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com
Online Community Manager
Online community managers communicate directly with their audience about their company. In doing this, they answer emails, add comments, and have online conversations about issues or questions a person may have about a product. They should find solutions to these problems through research and good verbal and written communication skills. They will also engage in discussions and create web feeds to promote and keep the audience’s interest in the product or company as well as collecting feedback from users. They should be organized by maintaining live chats and answering questions and must show excellent customer service. They should also monitor user satisfaction and research for more ways to improve their company’s image. They must also be up to date on the latest communication trends and applications.
Social Media Strategist
A social media strategist develops and maintains a social media strategy and marketing techniques that promote a company’s brands. They must constantly find new ways to increase business enterprise though monitoring and reporting social media performance of customers. Some other tasks for a social media strategist include integrating social media to business campaigns, guiding communication/management professionals on maintaining strong management and organization in content developments for networks, and working with executive level management on certain projects. They also research the latest trends and make sure that their company follows it. A social media strategist must have good oral and written communication skills. They must also know how to work with a team and independently. They should also know how to do graphic design.
Search Engine Optimization Specialist
A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist reviews and analyzes their company’s or client’s site to make improvements or edit. They also do keyword analysis and research, looking for popular keywords that people may use in search engines to have a better chance of accessing the client’s site. A SEO specialist must know where to put the copy and the keyword so that it gets the most search engine traffic possible. They must know how to write effective headlines or call-to-action statements for search engines. Also, they are in charge of distributing content on their client’s site as well as using “coding” such as HTML header tags, which will link to search engines, classifying a topic on the client’s website. They must also follow the Search Engine Guidelines. SEO specialists must have good written and verbal communication skills, be good analytical thinkers, and self-starters.
Media planners work with digital advertisers. They must do research and collect data to figure out who their target audience is and when and what they watch, while getting to know the kind of character the target audience is. They must know what the best timings are to schedule the client’s advertisement while also recognizing patterns about the audience. They try to come up with creative media proposals that suggest what they should be doing with their budgets, and how they can better obtain their target audience. They must constantly monitor advertising ratings and how effective their client’s campaign has been. They also advise other teams working with the client about what they should be doing to increase the ratings. They must have good research skills, work well as a team, have good interpersonal skills, and be good negotiators.
Knowledge, Skills, and Experience Required for Jobs in Social Media
No particular major is important to a job in social media; however, some of the skills necessary to a career in social media are acquired and improved in some majors, such ranging from communication to Internet knowledge. These skills can be acquired in different majors such as Marketing or Computer Science but are not exclusive to these majors and can be acquired by working and getting experience. In fact, contrary to other careers, a bachelor’s degree is not necessary to pursue a career in social media. It is important to remember that a job in social media relies on initiative and imagination, and the other skills necessary can be acquired on the job.
Tips for Creating and Maintaining your own Professional Social Media Presence
If you want to have a career in social media, here are some tips:
- Have social media accounts on multiple networks and make sure that they are all current, appealing, and busy. Having different sites shows your knowledge in social media networks and gives your employers more information as well.
- Make sure that your profile is public and easy to access.
- Avoid nicknames that sound unprofessional.
- Delete or un-tag any picture that can be seen as unprofessional or irresponsible to employers and make sure that your profile picture shows you in a respectable and professional way.
- Add your interests to your social media site and post links to these interests so your employer can get to know you better. Avoid unprofessional interests or “likes.”
- Keep your profile updated and delete unnecessary information.