Almost all brands are nowadays jumping into the Social Media bandwagon and with good reason. Most of the SM activities are still outsourced with only a minor few having an in-house Social Media Team to manage the organization’s activities. For the unlucky few who still haven’t got into Social Media Marketing no matter what the reason, god bless them.
In India with the start-up culture gaining widespread mileage, especially among the engineering students, I have seen a good number of them jump into the field of Social Media Marketing or as SM interns with various firms. This is added upon by the mentality of some of the brands that Social Media as a field is meant only for the youth and the “kids” are the right people to do it. In this wound up thought process, what is forgotten is that like all professional fields, SMM too requires its own level of skills and experience.
So, if you are someone who is planning to start off his/her career as a Social Media Manager, here are a few points we have listed out that might be helpful before you take the big leap.
1. Decide if Social Media Management is right for you
Just because you log onto Facebook daily and have tweeted a couple of hundred tweets, just doesn’t mean you are a Social Media Marketer. There’s a vast difference between using SM as a user and as a marketer. The whole perspective changes. The platform is free, but not the marketing techniques that can be applied via these. It’s about Relationship Marketing; about building relationships, not about broadcasting.
So, decide whether SMM is what you would be interested in doing for the rest of your life. Whether this is something you can live, breathe and eat. Whether it’s reason enough for you to pick a fight over with your girlfriend! If your answer is yes, read on.
2. Get your foundation strong
All careers need to be built on a strong knowledge base of the basics of the field. Obviously you can’t know everything, but make sure you know enough. Social Media is always under a state of change and what’s news today might be history tomorrow. Read as much as you can, watch videos, try out each new platform that’s in news and always keep an eye out on how you could use each platform to spread out a message. Get acquainted to the rising and shifting market trends.
A strong foundation is necessary to build a “skyscraping” career!
When you are starting out and anyone hears your name, the first thing they’ll do is search you on Google. Make sure Google finds you soon enough and in good name. Make sure your personal online presence is strong. Facebook public profile is all cleaned up, LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and Twitter is your next best friend.
4. Know the rules of the platform
Since you are starting off as a marketer, make sure you’re adept with the marketing policies of each platform you work on. Facebook Advertising Guidelines has clearly listed out what is to be kept in mind while advertising on Facebook. Similar criteria have been listed out by the respective Social Networking sites. Better to learn them first than starting off a work with a client and then cutting a sorry figure.
5. Start Blogging
I don’t even know how to begin with this. Blogging has long been something I advocate a lot. It’s THE BIG DEAL if you are out to set yourself as an influencer in any field. And if you are into Social Media, no doubt but this is the first thing you should start off with. People should be able to relate to what you say and what you do. If you are a blogger and blog a lot about your field, it helps establish your name in the industry as a thought-agent; someone who has a head above his/her shoulders.
6. Get your hands dirty
While you are starting out in the industry, the first thing you have to do is to get a credible name for yourself. Credibility in the fact that you CAN get work done. Start of with helping your local brands in building their Social Media Strategy. Even if you have to do 2-3 works for free for a couple of months, take it as an add-on. The good work with these should help get you your first paying client and provide the kick-start to your career.
Don’t play stubborn that you’ll not work for free. Well, yes, if you’re good at something you shouldn’t do it for free, but if you’re starting off, this is a sacrifice you should be ready to make.
7. Offer a free analysis for brands
Even if you aren’t getting any clients at first, offer free Brand Analysis for some local brands in your region. This will not only get your name around, but will also nudge a nerve in the brand’s head if they see that their competitors are doing better than them (if they actually are and you pointed that out). And who knows, one of them might even be impressed with the analysis and actually request your services!
8. Partner with PR Agencies
Quite some PR agencies are adding on SMM to their profile too but still a good number of them are stand-alone. From experience I know, a lot of the clients of these PR firms are in need of SMM too. Partner with such stand-alone PR agencies so that when they get a requirement form their clients about SMM, they’ll refer them to you. This would definitely work out as it’s good for their business too – they are able to provide an add-on service for their client which is good for them and you get another client. A total win-win situation.
9. “Scratch the Itch” for others
Ever heard about working “White Label”? Well, it’s you working for another agency’s client under a Non-Disclosure Agreement not to cite the client as your own or to let know that the client’s work is being done by you. It’s not an uncommon practice. Lot many large firms, when they have client’s more than their capacity, outsource their work to smaller agencies. These smaller agencies are paid anywhere between 10-40% more than their usual fee.
When starting off, it’d be a good option to work White Label. Not only will it help you better your skills, but when associated with an agency, you can even learn a few tricks of the trade which might prove helpful in the long run.
10. Stay Updated
As I have already mentioned, Social Media is a pretty dynamic field. You have to adapt yourself to the innumerable changes happening in the industry. People should start identifying you as a thought-leader and for that to happen you should know the present happenings in the field and where the field is going to in future. You should become the “seek-for” person in the field!
If you feel there’s any more points to be added on, feel free to let me know in the comments below. Ciao.
- Vijay S Paul
Image Courtesy: social.ogilvy.com, world-visits.blogspot.in, consomonaute.fr, pcwalls.net