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You use it to stay in touch with family and friends. It has been used to create and build businesses. And it was likely a decisive factor in the 2016 election. What are we talking about? Social media, of course!

Leveraging a Social Media Marketing Degree to your Advantage

Social Media is a complex term that can refer to particular brands and apps such Facebook and Twitter, as well as to the general existence of online communities. Over 2/3 of Americans use smartphones, and that number is increasing internationally. As a result, access to social media channels is easier and more constant than ever before, with new tools and platforms being developed every day (or so it seems!).

Can I make a living using social media?

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The question many people are asking themselves, particularly millennials who have grown up with social media, is: Can I make a living using social media? The short is answer is “Yes!” Social media marketing – using social media platforms to promote and sell a product, service or even an idea – is quickly becoming the most important way to reach anyone and everyone.

But a second question follows: Do you need a credential, certification or degree in social media marketing in order to be successful in this world?

Well, here are some ways to answer that question.

Social media marketing is both an art AND a science

What do we mean by that? Well, as effective practitioners of social media marketing will tell you, there is no formula for creating engaging content, whether it is a written post, an image, a video or something else. It requires thorough knowledge of the product and brand one is representing as well as knowledge of the audience members themselves. Some things to consider include:

  • What are they motivated by?
  • What do they pay attention to?
  • What makes them want to learn more, share, and take action?

Sometimes that knowledge is little more than trial and error. Often times it’s a creative “X factor” that only people with deep knowledge of the power of social media have learned to harness.

But that’s only half the story. Social media also has a “scientific” component, the science of big data. Platforms such as Facebook have extensive analytics to offer that can inform a social media marketer’s decision about which groups to target and with what message. This includes such things as:

  • Keywords
  • Timing of a particular advertisement or post
  • How often to engage that audience with new content

In fact, most social media marketers will tell you that they are only beginning to understand how important data-driven decision making is in their work, and that to be truly successful at launching and building a brand of any kind on social media requires a combination of both the artistic and scientific components to remain competitive in an ever-changing digital world.

1. Don’t think about social media marketing in a vacuum

benefits of social media marketing

Concerned that social media marketing is too narrow a field and that it could limit your career options? Make sure you are looking at the full scope of marketing needs for the industry you want to work in.

For example, do you love animals? Imagine the opportunities to help grow a veterinary practice using social media. Stay connected to something you are passionate about!

Think of how valuable an asset your social media marketing talents could be, allowing your friend to focus on her many other demands. You get to help channel your friend’s passion into the right channels, and the rights message on social media.

The point is: there is a way to use social media for almost any industry or business.

2. Don’t get too focused on one social media channel or service

social media marketing major

Have you ever heard of Friendster? How about MySpace? Depending upon how old you are, you may have, but those early social networks were, at one time, revolutionary. As big as they are now, Facebook and Twitter may not be around forever. If you are in social media marketing, it is probably easy for you to stay on top of new developments in the industry, so make a point of trying out all of the news apps, tools and services. Many of them will probably be short-lived or never take off. But if they do, you’ll be ready!

Those are all good things to consider, but now it’s time to get practical. What are the steps you should be taking if you want to be a social media marketing professional?

3. Do volunteer work or an unpaid internship

social media for small business

Yes, it is 2016, but many businesses – and business owners – do not yet see how valuable social media marketing could be to their company. If you are willing to invest your time, you could quickly prove how efficient social media can be for bringing in new customers. Then, when business is booming and you have proven your value, you can ask for the right amount of compensation to continue your work.

4. Build a portfolio of work

social media marketing certification

Even unpaid work can have future value. Make sure to take detailed notes, including lots of visuals and data, about how your social media marketing campaigns have performed. Eventually, your successful experience can speak for you as a kind of resume. You will be able to approach new businesses with your past results, making new work easier to come by each time.

5. Finally, consider your education

social media management degree

Point University now offers bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as a certificate program, for social media marketing. Point’s social media marketing degree equips students with a broad grounding in the liberal arts, along with professional skills in using social media and marketing products and services.

The program is available as part of Point’s Hybrid program for working adults, as well as in a fully online format.

 

For more information, view our online Associate in Social Media Marketing degree page or our online Bachelors in Social Media Marketing degree page.