In 2013, about 86% of marketers in mid-size to large companies expected to use social media in their marketing strategies. By 2021, that percentage had jumped to nearly 92%.* Clearly, social media is becoming increasingly important in the United States economy, and jobs in social media are in high demand.
If you use social media in your personal life, you might think you’ve already got what it takes to become a social media specialist at a marketing department or agency. Yet, there’s quite a lot more to it than you may realize. Personal use of social media is dramatically different from its professional applications. There are lots of jobs in social media to consider pursuing, but first, you’ll want to consider earning a specialized social media degree.
Jobs in Social Media: Content Creation
One social media job that might interest you is that of content creator. Social media content creators are known by many names, including social media specialist, social media content strategist, content coordinator and even social media brand evangelist.
No matter their title, these content creation professionals have the same overall goal: to increase their company’s revenue by attracting new customers and retaining current customers. They accomplish this goal by developing social media posts across a variety of digital platforms that draw attention to their brand’s products or services.
However, it’s rarely enough to post content about what a brand can do for its customers. Such openly sales-oriented posts won’t attract much engagement from the target audience. Instead, social media content creators must create posts that are informative or entertaining to build a loyal base of readers.
Let’s explore a hypothetical case study. Meredith is the social media content specialist for a professional baseball team called the Florida Figs. During one series, the Figs hit several home runs. Meredith posts videos highlighting these feats and incorporating clever wordplay on the players’ names.
Meredith’s video tributes to the Figs’ home runs help generate enthusiasm for the team and loyalty among its fans. However, social media content creators must become even more creative when their brand is going through a tough time.
For example, during a five-game losing streak, Meredith continues to highlight positive aspects of the Figs by posting a replay of a smart defensive play and sharing words of encouragement from the skipper. Her social media posts help keep the fans engaged even during a scoring drought.
Careers in Social Media: Data Analytics
In addition to content creation, jobs in social media can involve data and analytics. The job of a social media data analyst involves a great deal of research. This makes it an ideal role for people who enjoy thinking both analytically and creatively. Data analytics in this field involves the collection and analysis of raw data using various data analytics tools followed by the application of the findings to support the brand’s overall marketing strategy.
A social media data analyst may take a broad look at what people are saying about the brand on social media or do a targeted evaluation of a particular aspect of the brand. Data analysts evaluate multiple business metrics, tracking customer engagement and conducting sentiment analysis and reputation monitoring.
As a hypothetical example, let’s say Diego is a social media data analyst for Pickled, a new meal kit delivery company. Diego knows that although the company has had a boom in customer sign-ups over the past month, the customer retention rate has been poor.
Diego uses his social media analytics tools to assess the common pain points of dissatisfied customers. He discovers that a large percentage of customers who cancel their Pickled memberships are unhappy about paying for shipping. As a result, Diego asks Pickled’s social media manager to focus on posts that highlight their free shipping offer for orders over a certain dollar amount.
Thanks to Diego’s data analysis and the content creator’s posts, Pickled sees an increase in high-value orders that qualify for free shipping, along with a drop in membership cancellations. Although this example and company are fictitious, social media experts perform similar tasks every day to help their brands thrive.
Data analysis careers require individuals who are good with numbers and computers. However, the most successful data analysts see beyond the raw data to identify the reasons for the trends they observe. In essence, this career path is a multidisciplinary one that combines elements of psychology and human behavior with data analytics.
Social Media Graphic Designer
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the value of great content paired with a striking image? Social media posts are significantly enhanced by eye-catching visual elements. Graphics boost user engagement and encourage post sharing and retweeting.
Companies understand this and consequently they expect their social media profiles to contain an optimal balance of text and visual elements. At some companies, a social media specialist or content creator is expected to possess basic photo editing skills such as overlaying text onto a graphic to create a catchy meme. Other companies, however, may hire their own dedicated social media graphic designer.
If you’re passionate about both social media and graphic design, this hybrid role might be the perfect fit for you. This begs the question: Should you still earn a social media degree if you’re thinking of specializing in graphic design, or should you earn a graphic design degree?
The answer depends on the school you choose. At some schools with dedicated social media degree programs, the curriculum may feature design classes for a comprehensive education. If you choose one of these schools, it’s best to opt for the social media degree, since a graphic design degree program may not include social media at all.
What to Expect When Earning Your Social Media Degree
When you enroll in a social media degree program, you can expect to take a certain number of core classes, just as you would with any other bachelor’s degree. These typically help develop communication and critical thinking skills, along with a broadened, global perspective that will benefit you no matter where your path takes you. However, your focus will be on knowledge and skills specific to social media.
The curriculum varies from one school to the next. You should expect a blend of classes on topics as diverse as social media content creation, the fundamentals of graphic design and social media data and analytics. Your well-rounded education will arm you with the knowledge you’ll need to help companies engage with their customers. Some specific topics you might study include the following:
- Best practices in modern multi-media journalism
- Reputation management theories and applications, including monitoring brand mentions and developing escalation policies
- Social media campaign strategy development in general and for specific industries
- The creation of compelling stories through photographic and video-based content
- The development of marketing messages across digital platforms
In addition, you may have the opportunity to complete a capstone project, which will help you develop a professional portfolio. Your portfolio will prove invaluable after graduation as you begin to apply for jobs in social media.
You can leverage your passion for social media and lay the foundation for a rewarding career when you earn a social media degree at Grand Canyon University. The College of Fine Arts and Production is pleased to offer the Bachelor of Arts in Social Media degree program, which prepares students to excel in this growing field. Explore the fundamentals of digital communication, production methods, social media for specific industries and much more as you take a deep dive into this exciting 21st-century field. Click on Request Info at the top of your screen to learn more about earning a social media degree online or on campus at GCU.
*Retrieved from: Statista, Marketing, Social media marketing usage rate in the United States from 2013 to 2022 in May 2021
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.