Thinking of a career in social media management? Daniele Tanner is the director of Social Media College, one of the first colleges to offer an accredited course in social media. We chat to her about the industry, about a career snapshot of the life of a social media manager, and about why social media is such an awesome career.
Social networks are now so well established, that the core top 5 social networks do not change from year-to-year, according to a recent global social media research summary. However, the most popular social media sites vary distinctly by level of usage in different countries and with demographics.
Social media managers need to understand these differences in popularity and how the different social network operate, particularly when targeting specific audiences. More and more businesses are employing social media teams to help them reach their customers. Social Media College, now a partner of Open Colleges, has seen the industry grow.
Daniele, tell us about Social Media College - how long has it been around and what is its function?
Social Media College is a specialised education provider, focused solely on the fast-paced world of social media marketing. We launched in 2014 with the Social Media Intensive, a short course on all things social media.
As we started working closely with colleges and universities, it became apparent there was a skill shortage in social media marketing. The market was in need of an accredited qualification in the social media field. In September 2015, our Diploma of Social Media Marketing was nationally accredited, making it the world’s first qualification specifically in social media.
We now work with partner training providers such as Open Colleges to deliver this first-class and comprehensive Social Media Marketing qualification.
Who would some of your stakeholders and students be?
Social media has revolutionised the marketing landscape. Businesses can now engage with their audience on a personal level on a daily basis. As a result, businesses across all industries have a profound interest in improving their social media presence.
Students pursuing the Diploma of Social Media Marketing range from recent school graduates looking for an exciting new career, to marketing and advertising professionals who have been working in the industry for many years and want to upskill in social media.
With no formal standards for social media marketing to date, all marketers and professionals will benefit from learning foundational, strategic, and technical skills on how to develop a comprehensive social media marketing strategy, and practical examples of how to implement this strategy across multiple brands and social media networks.
In short, anyone who wants to improve their social media marketing skills would benefit from this new and exciting Diploma!
Taking us back to 2006 versus 2016, what are some of the biggest changes we’ve seen from social media which was in its infancy ten years ago, and is now the way people communicate 24/7?
Social media has become a mainstream form of communication for consumers and businesses alike. Ten years ago, the prospect of joining a social network was something left to the trend-setters – the innovators who wanted to embrace technological innovation. The idea of sharing personal information and experiences with the world was a daunting prospect for most.
Now, over a third of the world’s population are active social media users. From new teens to grandparents, social media offers opportunities for everyone to connect with their friends and families, and in turn it offers organisations the opportunity to connect with their target audience easily and efficiently.
Why is there a perception that social media is a really cool job to get into?
This perception is based upon the fact that people simply love social media! Many use social media in their personal lives; whether it’s to keep up with friends on Facebook, connect with like-minded professionals on LinkedIn, or explore their creativity on Instagram, social media plays a prominent role in our lives today.
When people can take their passion for social media and transform it into a viable career path, that’s a very exciting prospect.
On top of all the personal relevance, social media has changed the marketing landscape completely. Marketers can now experiment with so much creativity and innovation to achieve instant results for their business.
Moving forward, will people need to specialise in a niche, or on a platform?
Most certainly, the future of social media marketing will see more specialised, niche roles appearing within the required skillset. Paid advertising on social media is increasing by over 20% year on year. With that, we’re already starting to see Facebook paid advertising specialists being advertised on job boards, as well as overall social media specialists.
Many more specialised social media roles will come to the surface as organisations start to enhance their social media marketing strategies.
Let’s talk about ethics in social media. How do you make sure your students are behaving ethically in a social media environment?
Instant feedback and engagement can be one of the greatest elements of social media marketing. But that immediacy and freedom of response can also pose a lot of challenges.
The fact that social media users can openly discuss topics, comment on their experiences, and respond to community comments instantaneously is a daunting prospect for businesses. However, it cannot be avoided.
This is no different to how you would manage your own personal brand on social media: everything you post on social media is put out to the public. The course will teach students to remain aware of what they portray to the world. Is the content they post or interaction they participate in reflective of who they want to be?
Businesses need to establish strict audience feedback procedures that will guide the social media community managers on what they can say, what they cannot say, and how they should deal with certain comments and social situations. Through social media, businesses can turn a negative comment from a customer online into a positive outcome.
Customer satisfaction example: Airbnb
I’ll give you an example of how this has happened with a very well-known company; Airbnb. One customer had an experience where one of their Airbnb hosts cancelled at the very last minute and they posted their negative experience on Twitter, posting something along the lines of “Our accommodation cancelled on the day of arrival and now we have nowhere to stay. Airbnb fail”.
With excellent community management and customer service, Airbnb was able to turn the situation around completely. They responded instantly and found this customer the most amazing accommodation that they could find in that city.
As well as that, they provided the customer with a complimentary dinner voucher to a restaurant of their choice. This previously annoyed customer ended up being one of their main brand ambassadors! The customer shared their joy on Twitter and advocated Airbnb for being such a wonderful accommodation option.
This is just one of the many examples of the way in which businesses can turn negative feedback into a positive customer experience.
So companies absolutely need to take on feedback that they receive via social media?
Customer service in 2016 is about instant customer feedback. There has never been a time when organisations have had the ability to receive so much feedback from their consumers. Taking this feedback on-board helps businesses improve their products and services, and in turn helps them to make changes that further promote a loyal network online.
Behaving ethically is an important part of any industry. But with social media (because it’s so public), certain things that previously might have been “swept under the carpet” are now put in the public arena, so companies must ensure they behave ethically with their customers at all times.
Social media evolves daily. How does Social Media College ensure that what you teach is current practice?
At Social Media College, we see ourselves as being the content specialists in market. We work with a number of social media experts from around the world who actually curated the Diploma of Social Media Marketing content.
Additionally, we are partnering with social media networks, industry leaders, experts and brand ambassadors to ensure we have the most current information regarding social media marketing, and can extend that into the Diploma course learning materials.
What are some professional traits needed to really excel in a social media job?
There are four key professional traits that professionals need to excel in social media marketing.
With social media marketing, you need to have excellent writing skills. Everything you post on social media is public. A minor spelling error can reflect poorly on the organisation for which you are developing content. Marketers need to ensure that they not only write with professionalism, but that they also write “on brand” – utilising the tone and language the organisation uses in their brand identity.
Another personality trait is creativity. Social media users love to see fresh, new, creative ideas on social media that will inspire them and encourage them. Marketers will need to challenge their audiences, and excite them through creative thinking.
Social media marketers must have a strategic way of thinking so they can constantly keep their audiences engaged with new content and strategic ideas. It is important to differentiate your strategy to ensure your audience are always engaged with your brand.
Another trait that is essential for a successful social media marketer is the ability to communicate, be personable, and approachable. Social media is all about consumer engagement. Giving and receiving feedback is essential, and communicating with them so that they feel like they can contact you, engage with you, and relate to the brand. Marketers need to concentrate on “humanising” the brand through effective communication.
What do you do to unwind or relax? Are you on social media all the time or do you take digital breaks?<
That’s a very good question! I do advocate having digital breaks because social media is all around us. We’re always reading content and engaging with it.
I feel it’s important to switch off for at least one day per month. A nature escape is perfect for this digital break day!
If you have a passion for all things social media and want a nationally recognised qualification, you can get the very latest, first-class industry knowledge and expertise with the Diploma of Social Media Marketing.
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