During my freshman year of college, I remember having a lot of anxiety over the fact that I didn't know what kind of career I wanted, and I was afraid that I would graduate with a degree in a field that wasn't going to make me happy. Around that time was also when Instagram launched, and I became obsessed with the app – seriously, I hadn't been this obsessed since the MySpace days!
Fast forward to today and I actually get paid to go on social media and create content for companies. It's crazy how a career in social media didn't exist a few years ago, but has now become an essential part of many businesses. Whenever I tell people that I work as a social media specialist, they'll say things like "that sounds like a dream job!" or "that's actually a career?!" Either way, people think that it's an easy job and doesn't require a lot of work. Here's what being a social media specialist is really like:
1. It's a lot harder than it looks
Working in the social media industry requires having multiple skills in areas other than social media. A lot of times you need to be good at photography, copywriting, storytelling, design, and even having good manners! Social media is the "face and voice" of the company and you need to not only make it look good but establish a good message and talk to followers in the right way in order to keep them coming back for more. It can be a lot of pressure (especially if you're the only one working on social media at your company) and one little mistake can potentially turn into a PR crisis and ruin the reputation of the company.
2. There's no such thing as a typical day
One of the things that I love about working in this industry is how every day can be so different, and it's never monotonous. Some days I come in and it's a quiet day spent monitoring our followers, coming up with new ideas for a future campaign, and collaborating on future posts with photographers and graphic designers. Then there are the chaotic days that are spent with changing deadlines, coming up with new content last minute, or even live-tweeting at an event filled with thousands of people.
3. Creativity is key
While I've never been the kind of person that struggles when it comes to creativity, I'll admit I find it tough to be creative 24/7 but that's what working in this industry requires! Everyday deadlines can change quickly, and you realize you need to think of something new fast. While it's challenging, I've learned that's what makes it so exciting because you're constantly pushing your own limit and being surprised with your own abilities.
4. If you're not a good planner, then this isn't for you
I think what shocks people is how organized and good at planning social media specialists really are. Most companies will ask you to create a social media campaign and you're going to have to decide how long it should be, what kinds of content it should involve, how frequently to post, how to measure, and what should happen in case it's not successful. You're constantly thinking about the future while simultaneously things are changing in the social media world and you have to keep up with that.
5. There's a lot of cool press
Okay, enough of the serious stuff. Being a social media specialist is an awesome title and you get tons of cool perks from it, such as trying out new products before release to the public, being able to attend events for free, using the latest technology, being able to meet incredible people, and lots more depending on the company that you work for.
While a career in social media is still considered a "new" thing, it's a lot of fun and excitement, yet a rewarding career that gives you so many different skills.
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