A Definitive (and Completely Subjective) Top 5 List for How to Get Into the Social Media Biz
In fancy, corporate terms, I'm a Digital Content Strategist — a gig I couldn't have thought up 11 years ago when I was still in undergrad. Yet here I am, strategizing and being rad and stuff. *And this list, I hope, will answer the often-asked question(s): How did you get that? How can I get that? The * I'm just one girl, and this is just one list.
- •Creative WritingI find there's little that informs my career in social media more than my B.A. in English and Creative Writing. Why? Because being effective in the digital space (especially in a traditional newsroom) means breaking form and being human. A degree in the creative arts teaches you how to think without bounds, how to use language without style limitations, so you can get people's attention wherever/whenever they're scrolling. (GIF SPEAK: Creative Writing helps you be the pool.)
- •Become fluentEvery social media platform has its own personality and its own culture. How you interact on Reddit is not how you would on Facebook (or it shouldn't be anyway), how you participate on Inatagram is different than on Twitter or Pinterest. If you want to see the full, digital landscape in enough minute detail that someone would pay you for your vision, you have to become a native speaker of individual platforms. (GIF SPEAK: Being authentic, honest and understood takes time and participation.)
- •Small stepsDon't knock your first break. For me, what started as a sort of mundane, entry-level web production gig quickly became this very abstract career as digital content strategy. Mind you, digital content wasn't even a thing for me beyond BlackPlanet and Myspace back in the day. But once the door opened, small steps became big steps and big steps, huge steps. Even if you start with your own accounts or your mom's business page, those are the exact steps that you need. (GIF SPEAK: Small steps count.)
- •Read. A LOTWhat's the saying? "Good poets borrow, great poets steal." Yeah, I think that's it. And when it comes to social media, it's just as true. A large part of my job is reading, studying, watching what others are doing... Learning from them via articles, stories, actual posts. I make a genuine effort everyday to think like a journalist but read, engage, and create like a user, like a participant of this digital age.
- •Pivot fastTo make a living as a social media expert, you have to, if not be comfortable with change, at least be able to take it head on and without anxiety or bitterness. Social Media is a vast landscape that is always changing. If you can't think on your feet, move with the times, or pivot quickly from one platform to another, then pursuing a gig in digital strategy, digital content, digital anything might give you an ulcer or something.