If you work in social media, or if your job has anything to do with creating or posting content to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the rest, you’re probably feeling a little worn out. (Social media never sleeps!) And you’re probably wondering what next step to take in your career.
Fear not. With a little analysis of your skill set, some creativity and lots of initiative, you could be on your way to the next step in your career.
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Where Does Social Fit?
The biggest complaint from social-media professionals is the absence of defined careers paths as most organizations still haven’t figured out how social fits into their corporate hierarchy.
“Social teams can get lost in the shuffle in terms of promotion cycles, raises and career planning,” says Matthew Knell, VP of social media and platform partnerships at About.com, who spoke on the topic of social media career development at SXSW in March.
Knell points to a recent survey he worked on of 150 social-media experts that found when it comes to career growth within social media, 30 percent feel they’ve topped out their skills, 22 percent feel their department is too small to foster growth and 15 percent feel they lack resources to advance their career.
And on top of growing pains, social-media experts simply feel underappreciated: “Social can be a very hard job that doesn’t always get recognition or support from executives who often don’t understand how hard it is,” says Knell.
Build Your Skills
To make a move out of social and into something with a more defined trajectory, you’ll need to build up your skill set, taking what you’ve gained from the world of social media and making it marketable to new areas.
“Media professionals can move lots of places within an organization,” says Knell. “Many are primed as quick learners and super passionate folks.”
Let’s take a look at some skills you might want to consider adding to your repertoire, as well as what career doors they can open.
Social media is one aspect of a larger digital marketing campaign. If you’re looking to transition into a more general digital-marketing role, you must understand how to manage and strategize the big picture—integrating digital marketing into your brand’s strategy, establishing objectives and KPIs, developing a content strategy and more.
Good roles to try are digital-marketing coordinator or marketing specialist; if you come from a senior-level position, you may be able to transition into a marketing-manager role.
If you’re a seasoned social-media vet, chances are you’ve managed a crisis or two in your day. Take this skill and expand upon it, developing yourself into someone who can manage crises by drafting press releases and dispersing them to the proper media channels.
Developing skills in crisis management can prepare you for a career in public relations as well as corporate communications.
You’re already skilled at communicating messages to your social audiences. Now up that skill by learning to communicate key messaging to stakeholders, company employees and the public.
Being able to effectively communicate messaging is not only a great skill for a social media pro looking to make a move, it can also eventually lead to jobs such as corporate writer to director of strategic communications.
Yes, you’re already a content creator. But hiring managers will see social media and think short-form copy and clickable links. Show companies you can also develop long-form, compelling and useful content for blogs, email campaigns and eBooks by developing skills in content creation.
Right now, content is a rapidly growing field with careers in content marketing, development and strategy.
You’ve lead social-media campaigns before, so you’re no stranger to managing projects, but learning how to manage larger technical projects, determining the best approach, developing timelines and budgets and finding workarounds for trouble spots will make you stand apart from the competition.
Coupling your knowledge of social media and project management can land you project-manager positions at a variety of digital media companies.