4 answers

If I want to pursue social media management as a career how can I achieve this?


So I received my General Studies Associates in May and I am looking to go attain my Bachelors degree but I need more clarity on what to do. I definitely want to study cinematography, photography and digital media marketing. I need some clarification concerning Digital media marketing. Since the Digital Media Marketing space changes so frequently, is it even a good idea to get a degree that deals with that or should I just get a certification from a good college?

Since Digital media marketing is really a new field most colleges do not have that as a major, so if I do focus on this I need to know what broader degree to study, like Marketing, Communications, Public Relations? I am not sure what to choose; with a marketing I don't think my education will be solely focus on the digital media aspect. So is it worth it get a degree or should I just wrack up a lot of experience for a portfolio to present?

My goal would be to become a social media manager and learn as much as I can, and then launch out and become a freelance social media manager and content creator. Using my skills in film to help create content online. #marketing #business #college #advertising #entrepreneur #college

4 answers

Charles’s Answer

Updated Southfield, Michigan

So I would focus on those classes that get you the skills to do this. Such as video production, web design, etc. For your BA major think strategically long term. Where do you see yourself 20 years from now? Way past the entry level job? At an agency? Running your own agency? Doing something creative? There are a lot niches in advertising world from account management, to finance, producing, planning, creative, etc. Use your college education to become the person who sees the bigger picture and can manage all aspects from account management, strategy, analysis of data and trends, the design and execution of creative, including where it is placed. This is the longterm goal.

To answer your question about social media. One of the best guys out there doing it now with his own large agency is Gary Vaynerchuk. He says all the time social media is always changing and he always looking at which platform is gathering an audience and the attention of people. Because it is always changing I would say go intern and hopefully work for people like him. Work on finding the niche that you enjoy and become the best at it.

Another idea is to find small businesses and nonprofits that need social media management to cut tour teeth and learn on. This you could do while studying.

Also watch that college debt. Saleries starting out and mid level may not be so great.

I think most large companies will want a realated degree as a standard, but really not sure it matters over span of a career in this field what it is. If you can come to the table starting out with practical experience growing sales in social media space, that’s what they want. Business people I deal with want me to bring them customers.

Wow, thank you Charles I really appreciate your advice on this! Gary Vee is one of my favorite entrepreneurs, so I currently listen to a lot of his content. I am trying to build up as much experience as I can because I am not sure if College will really teach me enough. I am currently ending my second social media internship with a small start up, but I want explore the creative production side of film and TV. So I am interested in getting an internship in that field, but I don't have much experience besides making really basic social media video clips. Do you have any advice concerning how to go about attaining an internship in production?

Jessica’s Answer


Hello Naysa

What a great thing to take interest in! Social media is a major part in society today and more and more businesses are starting to promote themselves through social media.

My best friend left her full time job and moved to LA over 2 years ago and has not looked back since. She started off creating her content and publishing it on instagram. Fast forward to today she has attended many red carpet events, starred in a mini series called Starter Pack and worked with some amazing well known talent. The opportunities are endless and you will do amazing things in this field. My best friend writes her own scripts, edits and films everything by herself as well.

I say in school major in anything business such as marketing or management because at the end of the day your social media page and your name will eventually become a brand and nothing is more important than learning how to market yourself and remaining relevant and innovative. The best part of it all it costs nothing to start on social media and you can start building your brand today. Focus on what you would like to represent and be known for! Whether it be short comedy skits, cooking recipes, fitness or a fashion model your page is your business and will open sooooo many doors for you!

Good Luck to you!

Jessica recommends the following next steps:

  • Create your social media page
  • Focus on the type of content you would like to post
  • Make a list of long term and short term goals
  • Make a list of different businesses you would like to attract.
Thank you Jessica! I appreciate the feedback!

Cassandra’s Answer

Updated Jacksonville, North Carolina

Hi Naysa,

Congratulations on receiving your associates, that is a great accomplishment! When considering becoming a social media manager, it can be useful to have a degree, however having a portfolio can be important as well. Social media is a relatively new career path, however it has a lot of opportunities. With that being said, there are colleges and degrees that are marketing based, with a focus on social media specifically. The courses within these programs review information related to classic marketing, and then how to translate that into social media. I would recommend to explore degrees in the marketing field, and read over the course descriptions to get a good understanding of what goes on within them. I would also recommend for you to utilize social media, and focus on growing your "following". This will be beneficial when it comes time to present a new idea, company, etc to others, and you can observe the impact of your work.

Daniel’s Answer

Hi Naysa, I would love to add my opinion here. I spent almost a decade in digital marketing at a creative agency and saw a lot of change in what a "social media manager" did in that time.

It is a very fun industry, but also one that tends not to have set hours since customers can and will engage with brands at all hours of the day online. If you like a creative, high energy, and sometimes demanding role then this you're probably on the right track.

First, though, I would like to distinguish in-house social media managers and agency social media managers.

  • In-House = You work for a single company, for example Coca Cola, and manage social media for that company only.
  • Agency = You work for a smaller firm that is sells their services to companies that don't have an internal social media team or they need to hire temporary help (during large events for example).

That said, I would break down the role into three categories:

  • Community Manager - Create posts, respond to questions, moderate comments, become the "voice" of the brand online. This is a role that requires a lot of focus, the ability to write creative copy (text), and someone who is reliable.
  • Analyst - This role would look very different based on the company, but Analysts would tend to analyze trends and data and report their findings to decision makers along with recommendations. This role would always keep the business objectives of the company top of mind and be able to answer questions like 'should our brand have a Pinterest account?' or 'how can we get more traffic out of Twitter?' and have the data to back up their recommendations.
  • Ad Buyer - Social media ad buying is highly sophisticated but also mostly automated. That said, Ad Buyers will be responsible for executing the creation and execution of paid advertising strategies. This is a high growth area of social media marketing, but also one that is increasingly being automated.

The size of the company or agency you would work with would determine whether you would "own" one of these roles or several. Small companies would tend to need you to do multiple jobs and is a good chance for you to learn all of the different things that go into social media management and get lots of kinds of experience. Larger companies would allow you to focus on just one thing and become an expert in that area.

In my opinion, best social media managers have a good mix of business / marketing skills and can articulate how social media efforts are impacting the goals of the businesses as well as a creative personality and a willingness to try new things.

It sounds like you have a background in rich media (video/design) which is something that is highly sought after for in-house teams. If you can offer simple video editing and animation skills to a team that can't afford to hire a full-time dedicated video person then that is a great way to show your value.

Hey Daniel, thanks so much for your advice, I really appreciate it!!! Since you have personal experience with digital marketing, I would like to ask you more questions about this. When I typed all my questions I reached the 800 character limit, so I was wondering if I could just connect on LinkedIn, and send my questions there.