The social media industry is fast-paced, exciting, evolving every day – and increasingly difficult to break into! It can be hard to know where to start if you’re trying to find a role with a brand, an agency or work as a freelance social media consultant.
Digital Gurus’ social media and marketing team recently attended and spoke at a panel event titled How To Land Your Perfect Career In Social Media.
Organised by Avocado Social, the event featured expert advice from: Alison Battisby – CEO & Founder of Avocado Social, Keri Hudson – Freelance Social Media Consultant, Drew Benvie – Founder of Battenhall Digital Agency, and our very own Jennifer Nadeau.
Here’s how to land your perfect career in social media!
1. Start somewhere less glamorous
It could be difficult to make an impact if your first social media role is with a big agency or company that has already established a strategy and knows what works for them.
Finding somewhere that will let you run wild with ideas and experiment could prove to be more beneficial than aiming to work for larger, more popular brands.
Your ability to produce engaging social media content and campaigns for less glamorous industries and companies early on in your career will really impress potential employers – especially when you have enough experience to aim for your dream social media job!
2. Be curious and develop different skills
It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd when applying for social media roles. This is largely because almost every member of the millennial generation has some level of experience using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Skill diversity is sought-after, so developing other related areas that you might need as part of a marketing department (or even that you’re just curious about) will give you a much better shot at landing a social media role.
Take online courses, download software trials, watch YouTube tutorials and attend industry events so you can learn how to edit images, use scheduling platforms and gain an understanding of paid social advertising.
Alison from Avocado Social encouraged the audience to learn from colleagues and contacts who work with graphic design, UX, research and other more technical areas – as she still uses the knowledge she’s gained from doing so today!
3. Get a creative hobby
The easiest way to showcase existing skills is through a creative hobby that allows you to demonstrate your genuine interest in social media.
If you’re a keen photographer – dedicate an Instagram account to curating your best shots and try to build an organic following. If you watch a lot of sport – start live-tweeting during events and contribute to relevant websites looking for user-generated content.
Love live music? Write short reviews of each gig on Facebook. And use Instagram stories to document your adventures if you travel a lot!
Posting regular, unique updates will show that you understand the value of consistency and original branding in social media marketing.
4. Build a digital portfolio
While a fine-tuned CV can help your search for a new social media job by telling potential employers that you could be a good fit for their company, an online portfolio will show them, with evidence and examples of your most impressive work.
Your portfolio is another opportunity to show your personality and prove that you’re a social media extraordinaire! You can curate your content into specific categories to highlight that you understand the importance of producing for a specific audience (in this case, your dream employer or client).
5. Apply with creativity
If you want to join a creative social media marketing agency or company, you should try applying in ways that mirror their style, tone and culture.
Drew from Battenhall summed this point up nicely by saying, “apply with what you’re looking for.” He suggested producing video applications or building interactive websites to really capture the imagination of brands and agencies you want to work for!
Tips for freelance social media consultants
Keri Hudson’s tips for freelance social media consultants included:
- Preview your ideas to potential clients to give them a sample of your skills
- Attend networking events and follow up with invitations to go for coffee
- Speak at/be vocal at events – whether that’s as a member of a panel, a presenter or an audience member during Q&A sessions
- Use productivity tools to keep track of meetings, to-do lists and for monitoring your time
- Extend your network to people you can “piggyback off” (who can you help with their own projects that might require social media consultation?)
- Become known as someone with an opinion
Ready to land your perfect career in social media?
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About The Speakers
Alison Battisby – Social Media Consultant & Founder | Avocado Social
Alison Battisby founded Avocado Social, having worked in the social media marketing industry since 2008. Alison has been involved in some groundbreaking social media projects for brands including Nokia, Tesco and Pringles as well as a range of UK start-ups and growing enterprises. Alison has been praised for her friendly manner and professional approach, which suits all levels of knowledge and understanding. She has plenty of experience training top UK brands including BBC, Debenhams and Neal’s Yard Cosmetic.
Keri Hudson – Social Media Consultant | Event Organiser | Glug Bristol Host
Keri is a social media specialist with a wealth of experience spanning entertainment, charity, travel and lifestyle. She’s managed communities and developed strategies for clients including Cancer Research UK, The BFI, Universal, STA Travel, Nokia and HBO, and has also provided social media training for small businesses. After spending six years working with some of London’s best agencies, Keri took the leap into freelancing – and hasn’t looked back!
Drew Benvie – Founder | Battenhall
I’m Drew Benvie and I am founder of Battenhall, the multi award winning communications agency. Since launching Battenhall in 2013, I have built it up to be the UK’s top social media agency, best specialist agency in the UK, best large social media agency, best PR agency, and PRCA agency of the future. I am based in London and spend my time building a business and a team and working with a bunch of lovely clients. Previously I was CEO of a large PR agency, and spent my career working in comms both in-house and consultancy side.