Did you know that more than nine out of ten US-based companies with at least 100 employees rely heavily – if not entirely – on social media to market their products and services? When you take that into account, it’s no surprise that the social media specialist role has seen such an enormous increase in demand in recent years.
But just what is a social media specialist? And how do you go about landing a social media specialist job in such a clearly competitive landscape?
In this post we’ll answer those questions and give you a foundation for how to become a social media specialist – whether you’re just starting your career, or switching to social media marketing from another sector entirely.
What is a social media specialist?
Often referred to as a social media marketing specialist, this line of work requires a keen understanding of digital marketing techniques and tools. A social media specialist’s main accountability is to raise brand awareness through social media channels by making sure their company’s products and services reach not just as many people as possible, but also the right kind of people – those most likely to engage with the brand, create positive conversation around its content, and ultimately convert into loyal long-term customers.
Social media specialist jobs come with a long list of responsibilities, but also a high degree of agency to shape a brand’s social presence. Some of the most common tasks include:
- Managing social channels: This requires knowledge of the different portals and their audiences, from Facebook to TikTok and Instagram to LinkedIn.
- Creating and curating content: Ensuring that whatever you come up with is relevant, professional and feels a good fit for your brand.
- Community management: Engaging with your channels’ audience to answer queries and strengthen the brand’s following.
- Monitoring and insights: Using tools to track conversations about your company’s products and services and using it to improve future marketing communications.
- Campaign management: Developing a strategy around regular, robust social campaigns, including planning ahead and executing them in a timely and professional manner.
- Reporting: Using analytics tools to collate data and create in-depth reports that can inform future digital marketing activities.
- Creating content: Social media specialists are often multi-skilled creatives, adept at delivering copywriting, graphic design and video editing to a sufficient standard.
- Evolving the channel: Taking all of the insights and analytics mentioned above to understand what works well, what can be improved, and to constantly evolve the identity and offering behind each social channel you manage – while also maximizing the different strengths of each social platform.
Key skills and experience
If you’re seriously considering a social media marketing specialist position, there are some specific skills it will be incredibly helpful to build. Before you even think of applying, target getting experience in each of these areas:
- Understanding of digital marketing trends: Working a social media specialist job means being immersed in, and passionate about, the world of digital marketing.
- Clear and empathetic communication: Social media specialists need to engage with everyone from customers to internal stakeholders and those in other businesses. You’ll need to be able to show you care about other people’s points of view, and build professional rapport while solving their problems accordingly.
- Marketing strategy and planning skills: The ability to coordinate integrated campaigns across multiple channels, from the first brainstorm through launch to continual management.
- Time management: Being able to manage your own time as well as the project’s timelines alongside factoring in the time of those you’ll need to work with to make your campaign a success.
- Copy and content writing: Being able to write copy that can persuade, entertain and inform people depending on the needs of each individual marketing commonucation.
- Creativity: To be a successful social media specialist you’ll need to be able to think on your feet, innovate, and constantly surprise your followers in order to keep them engaged with your channels and your brand.
- Visual design: As a social media marketing specialist you’ll not only be a competent creative writer, you’ll also be able to turn your hand to graphic design, animation, and more – all in a bid to continually deliver compelling social content to your would-be customers.
- Sales knowledge: Using social channels to convert readers into paying customers, and customers into brand evangelists.
- Analytical mindset: Despite being creative, a social media specialist also needs to have a head for numbers and be able to interpret analytics data in order to make key decisions that can impact the effectiveness of social campaigns. This includes developing expert knowledge of Google Analytics and other similar online tools.
- Customer service: Social media marketing isn’t just about creating content and managing campaigns; there’s also a reactive element, too. As a social media specialist you’ll need to have the calm head, communication skills, and general knowhow to handle customer queries and concerns directed to you through your managed social channels – all in a professional way that’s befitting the brand you’re in charge of.
- Mastery of social media tools: An innate understanding of which social media management tools to use for which platforms and a never-ending zeal to learn more about them in order to optimize your campaigns and maximize your channels’ reach.
How to become a social media specialist
Immerse yourself in the digital world and learn all you can
While the first obvious port of call for many professions is earning a college degree, that’s not necessarily the case for budding social media specialists. Admittedly you can learn much of what’s needed on a modern marketing degree, but you can also go the route of teaching yourself using a variety of online resources. There are plenty of blogs, YouTube channels and podcasts out there that are dedicated to teaching people how to level up their social media game, and many social media management tools are free to download and master at your own pace – including Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and many more.
Create your own social media content and measure its effectiveness
Building a portfolio is essential to breaking into a role that has a creative component, and that’s just what you should be doing as an aspiring social media specialist. First take time to understand your audience, then devise social marketing strategies, create social marketing communications, measure your campaign’s effectiveness, alter your approach to improve your results, and present your biggest successes in an online portfolio that you can speak to during interviews. Which brings us to…
Land an entry-level digital marketing role
With the requisite skills and experience in the bag and a portfolio to be proud of, you’ll be well placed to be taken seriously for a junior digital marketing role. First, make sure your CV presents those qualities as concisely and impactfully as possible, while giving tangible examples of your successes from your portfolio. Then all you need to do is research the market to find the perfect junior position – ideally one in social media marketing, like a paid intern or social media assistant opening.
Add accredited marketing qualifications on your climb up the career ladder
Landing social media specialist job is only one step on the social media career ladder. With the right attitude and application, in the space of a few years you can feasibly climb to become a social media manager, or even move into other areas like content management or marketing directorship. Whatever your preferred career path, constantly adding official marketing accreditations will stand you in good stead for a long and rewarding career that has social media as a key professional pillar.
Looking to land a job in digital marketing?
We’re always looking for people who can take our marketing to the next level. Learn about life in the marketing team here at Church & Dwight by reading about our marketing careers and life in our marketing team. Ready to join us? See our open roles.