Social Media Job Roles in Public and Private Organizations

By Brooks Briz, David Rose

Both public and private organizations hire social media professionals. If you’re hoping to get your foot in the door, it’s a good idea to know what your job options are.

  • Public organizations have shareholders that invest money; public organizations are publicly traded on the NYSE, NASDAQ, or AMEX markets. Public sector organizations can include government and educational institutions such as state‐run universities.

  • Private organizations can be for‐profit, nonprofit, governmental agencies, and educational institutions. Private, for‐profit companies are not traded on the stock exchange and all nongovernmental organizations (NGO) are private institutions. All governmental and educational entities will clearly state whether they’re supported by the government or independently operated.

Both public and private entities typically have the same departments: marketing, information technology, human resources, and executive management.

Though social media positions often cross into different departments or functional teams, here are some of the most common.

Marketing

Social media marketing is currently one of the most desired skills.

A social media marketing job might take form as a community manager, social media strategist, or a social media manager. Marketing departments typically rely on social media professionals to perform the following tasks:

  • Social media management. You create content, figure out communication strategies, and respond to any social media users contacting the brand and social media as a whole.

  • Community management. The building, growth, and management of a brand and a cause’s online community. For example, responding to anyone who directly talks to a brand or tags the brand in a social media post.

  • Social media metrics. You show, with criteria, social media’s reach and impact

    • Impressions

    • Cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM)

    • Click‐through rate (CTR)

    • Website clicks

    • Mentions

    • Overall social reach

  • Social media advertising. The marketing department creates and manages advertisements. These ads include graphics, sales copy, and targeting of consumer demographics and interests. Social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube offer ads.

Targeting is why social media ads are so effective. Platforms gather data based on what the users interact with and the demographic data that they provide.

Information technology (IT)

Social media integration requires top‐notch IT professionals that specialize in different social media aspects. IT social media pros may also be in charge of internal social media websites and helping other departments from a technical standpoint.

Knowing how to program in computer languages such as HTML, CSS, and PHP is extremely useful for social media platforms.

Human resources (HR)

HR is another common department for social media professionals to be placed in.

Social media is becoming an intricate part of HR departments because social media communication represents organizations as a whole both internally with the company and their external communication.

A social media pro in HR might have the following responsibilities:

  • Research potential candidates throughout the social web and report findings to HR in charge of hiring.

  • Facilitate and strengthen relationships with potential candidates for open and upcoming positions with headhunters and potential candidates.

  • Monitor and report findings regarding the personal social media accounts of shareholders such as employees, vendors, and investors. This is done to strengthen relationships and protect the brand from anything unsavory or controversial.

  • Manage an internal social network and help moderate communication.

Executive management

The new need for accomplished social media professionals forced organizations to create social media manager positions. Sometimes a person in that position is a department head, and sometimes he’s a social media executive that oversees all efforts.

Chief Social Officers (CSOs) or Chief Social Media Officers (CSMOs) are becoming more common. Any information that passes to, from, or within an organization would fall under a CSO. This includes social media strategy, planning, and all aspects of execution.

A CSO does the following:

  • Drives awareness and impressions (the number of times that a brand is seen)

  • Manages and builds sales

  • Ensures consumer satisfaction and superior service

  • Builds, refines, and synthesizes consumer feedback

These departments are where most social media professionals are hired, but it isn’t a complete list. Departments such as accounting, finance, operations management, and procurement sometimes need specialized social media positions.