What You Need to Know to Get a Job in Social Media

By Brooks Briz, David Rose

How can you shoot yourself in the foot and wind up making the most common mistakes in the social media profession? Well, it’s fairly easy. Just pay attention to the following tips to find success in the ever-growing social media profession.

  • Expect instantaneous results. A company (or person) can’t set up a Twitter account, spout information about products, and expect immediate sales increases. Success on social media is never overnight; you must build a responsive network. Remember: The key is to be social rather than communicating one way to the masses.

  • Focus on you. Social media emphasizes the need for community, interaction, and mutually beneficial relationships. Avoid thinking about what others can do for you. Look for ways you can benefit others first. Social media pros who contribute value up front always win.

  • Use automated and easy. Social media requires — above all else — manpower and dedication. Some parts can be automated, but social media success mandates that users authentically connect with other users and build genuine relationships.

    If you can’t automate the process in real life, then it probably won’t work on social media.

All the top social media professionals know (and show) the following:

  • Slow and steady results. Social media is the common marathon versus a sprint. You have to build significant relationships and find enough people who trust you and your brand to accomplish your goals. That takes time and effort.

  • Twoway dialogue. It’s more important to listen than to talk. Maybe you’re charged with getting word out about a social media conference. You might be tempted to hit Twitter with “The ABC social media conference is going to be awesome and there’s a super special sale going on!” Don’t. Instead, first read tweets about the product and its competition. Then ask other influencers their thoughts and broadcast to the social media community an open‐ended question for their feedback.

  • Laser focus on relationships. Without significant thought leadership via content (such as writing a periodical to demonstrate your knowledge) and context, efforts fall flat. Fast. One reason social media works so well is because it helps create more relationships than you could dream of in person. But you have to continually improve these relationships. This process can be difficult and time consuming, but work at least 30 minutes per day to keep in touch with your key people.

  • Native storytelling. Every social media site speaks its own language: different content, optimal content lengths, and cultural standards for participating. Not only do you need to know how to speak the language, but you must quickly tell your story. Storytelling is the essence of effective marketing.

    A social media pro knows how to tell the right story to the right people on the right platform at the right time.

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