2 suggestions for recent grads looking for a career in social media

I get questions all the time from friends, parents, clients and our readers about how recent graduates can start a careers in Social Media.

For the purpose of this blog post we’ll assume that most people mean mean Social Media Marketing when they use the words “Social Media.”

We’ll start here:

(For email subscribers: If for some reason you cannot see the video above, click here to be brought to the original post online.)

General stuff:

  1. Be a good writer.  Write…a lot.  The more effectively you can communicate on the web, the more successfully you will cut through “the noise.”
  2. Read…a lot.  This means blogs, and books.  Topics should include: social media, marketing, culture and technology, and psychology and influence.  If you haven’t read it, you should read (or re-read) How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie (all book links are amazon affiliate links…but they’re all damn good books)
  3. Realize that social media is quickly fading as a sole job function, unless you just want to be a community manager. It’s more important to look at how social tools fit into ANY type of job.  What do these tools enable you to do?

Suggestion #1

Start with outcomes not activities.

Work backwards from the desired end result.

This will result in your career in social media being more thoughtful and strategic, rather than spontaneous and haphazard.

Suggestion #2

Frame the work you do in terms of the activities not the platforms.

While it’s important to identify the proper platform based on where the audience is, it’s more important to understand the value of the core activities that the social web enables.

The World of Social Media


What other advice would you offer?  Sound off in the comments below.  Best comment will win a free copy of Mitch Joel’s new book Ctrl + Alt + Delete.

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  • Celia Brown

    I would add…get to know your target audience both on- and off-line. To build on Jeff’s point re “work backwards from a goal”- you should also consider who you are trying to reach and what kind of content would be interesting to them. Read and respond to their blogs and the content that your audience reads. Meet them off-line and find out what makes them tick (other than whatever your selling of course J).

  • Karen Ebbert

    Take time to step away from the computer to experience things that will enhance your creativity. It is very tempting to stay plugged in all day all the time. Develop other interests that will encourage you to interact with people face to face without using technology. Take a cooking class, learn to meditate, sit in the sun and talk with friends without looking at your phone. Your takeaways from these personal social experiences will humanize your online presence and add to overall connection and engagement.

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    Excellent advice Celia. I always say, use online technologies to get offline as soon as possible. It’s great to build connections online, but far more powerful to see people face to face. The better you know your audience, the better you can serve them. Great contribution!

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    +100. Couldn’t agree more. These platforms are super addictive, but it’s not supposed to replace “real life” it’s supposed to enhance it by adding a virtual social layer. Thanks for adding your perspective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drewmgriffin Drew Griffin

    Firstly, I must compliment your fine choice in bands! I enjoyed your post. Here are a few suggestions of my own to add to yours. It may seem obvious but establishing the ubiquity footprint is a process that begins today….Start. Establish a blog, social accounts etc and leverage those platforms to start and engage in conversations. Learn and collaborate. Share and promote the good stuff. Invest yourself in the process and measure. Look to provide value.

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    Another Toad the Wet Sprocket fan in the house?! Thanks for the comment Drew. I agree that jumping in and tinkering is important, it certainly helps to be familiar with platforms and to have a voice already developed/developing.

    *Jeff Gibbard*

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