3 Skills You Must Master if You Want a Career in Social Media Marketing

During the past few months, I’ve had a number of students ask me about what it takes to have a career in social media marketing. This came up again last week when I was speaking at the Social Slam conference in Knoxville. So, I thought it was high time I addressed this issue.

And, because I’ve been preaching the importance of integrating video content on your blog, I thought I should practice what I preach and get on camera.

In the video, I talk about why I think social media jobs will be on the decline over the next few years. I also offer up three key skills that aspiring social media marketers should master:

  • Marketing strategy
  • Writing & storytelling
  • Measurement

If you don’t see the video, you can watch it here.

There are plenty of other tips that I could offer up, but I think these three are the most important. If you want an expanded list, here’s a great round up of
 additional skills that would be valuable in a social media career.

Once you have these skills mastered, check out these tips to market yourself during your job search.

If you are a seasoned digital marketing or PR pro, what career advice or tips would you offer students?

And, if you’re a student, what other questions do you have about pursuing a career in social media marketing?

Image credit: mkhmarketing

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

8 replies on “3 Skills You Must Master if You Want a Career in Social Media Marketing”

I agree with everything you have said @lauraclick:disqus I like to say two things which add to your post here:
If you want to market using social media buy facebook ads. It isn’t a direct marketing platform. At least not on scale. It can be a direct sales platform…twitter us a great example. I can locate a target and directly engage them. Actually easier to break the ice this way than say a cold call.
Lastly if you want a job in social media get a job at Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. Because theur is no such thing as a job in social media that is not at a tech company that has a social media platform. Because as you state very nicely…..even the community manager position is a marketing and communications (and customer service position).

In fact there is no such thing as social media. Media isn’t social. There is technologies than enable social behavior but media unto itself is not social. You and I chatting on facebook is not Social Media. The most painful thing about my new industry advertising/marketing is the catch phrases and jargon that is everywhere that actually means nothing LOL

Good points, Howie. Social media is just another channel for communicating with your audience. That’s exactly why I think marketing strategy and communications/writing skills are so crucial to being successful in this space.

And yes, I think advertising is another proficiency that should be added to the list. That is definitely a great way to promote your message across the platforms. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Howie,

Your point is taken, but I’m not quite sure what your endgame is in making the semantic argument, “There is no such thing as social media” when the world has globally decided there is.

Are opposed to media which are not predisposed to two-way, immediate, interactive communications (television, radio, billboard, podcast, book, newspaper, circular, poster, buckslip, skywriting, LP, etc.) there is a category which lends itself to social interaction among multiple particpants (IM, chatroom, forum, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

The lines may be blurry, indistinct and evolving, but I’m not the one to draw them: society has freely adopted the term “social media” and voted overwhelmingly on the use of the term. You are free to play Don Quixote, but as I said, how far do you intend to take this?


Hi Laura,

This post reminds me of those pieces we see annually advising us “What are the hottest careers for grads!”…only from 5 years ago. When we look back at the lists, they seem so quaint and horribly un-predictive. What seemed hot just a few years ago (“social media guru”) will already be obsolete in a few years. Wow.

I think your bulleted list (and the cards you held up visually in the video– a technique I love and need to adopt) sums it up: marketing, storytelling, and measurement. Simply having a handle on the techniques and high-tech tools is not enough. One must be a content creator and curator; one must wear the clothes of the industry you enter and tell appropriate stories; and must move beyond soft metrics like “awareness”.

Excellent points.

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