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Industry Spotlight: How to Become a Social Media Manager

social-media-manager-jobSocial media sites are a vital part of most business operations today. Many companies use Facebook, Twitter and other sites to interact with their customers and to release their latest news. Once seen as a way to switch off from work and socialise with friends, social media is fast becoming a career path – with many companies hiring social media experts to help them improve customer service and brand awareness.

Matt Hamm, Social Media Manager for marketing agency Dewynters, talks to Jobulo about his job, the evolving industry and shares some tips for others wanting to work in the industry.

Tell Us About Your Career Background?

I studied Multi-Media Journalism so I was always interested in content creation and copy writing. After I graduated I decided that I quite fancied working in Digital Media and applied for a Social Media Exec job for a Live Entertainment agency who work largely in the Theatre Industry in London called Dewynters. That was 5 years ago and I’m still there.

Did You Always Want to Work in the Media?

I’ve always loved media in both a professional and personal sense. It has a hand in everything and I’m interested in the way a product is advertised / promoted / packaged. I am also interested in the process that goes in to forming a public’s opinion – from something as simple as a small newspaper advert to a fully integrated huge TV campaign.

How Did You Get Into Social Media Marketing?

I was 21 when I got my first Social Media role and I think the agency just wanted to hire a young guy who used Social Media to answer the questions their clients had. It really is a constant learning curve that forever relies on trial and error. You have to make mistakes in Social Media to know what works and what most definitely doesn’t.

To Work in Social Media, Do You Need a Degree?

I’d say for the best results you do. My degree helped me form capable writing skills and my own tone of voice. I think degrees that teach you how to write, create content and quickly change between styles are perfect for Social Media. People don’t realise how difficult it is having to balance multiple accounts on a daily basis with a whole range of theatrical tone of voices and messaging.

Tell Us About Your Role/Daily Responsibilities?

I run the Social Media department for Dewynters which involves attending meetings, pitching to clients, monitoring Facebook, Twitter & YouTube pages, running Social Advertising campaigns and creating new content. If you strip Social Media management to its most simple element, it’s really just content creation. Social Media users want to be entertained quickly as they don’t have time to read bulky text or re-read your updates because they’re badly written. We spend our days updating platforms for at least 10 different clients (mainly West End musicals); many of which are ‘long-runners’ with new information being a rarity. It’s down to us to create 2-3 interesting posts a day that make sure fans of the shows maintain a regular interaction with the production. It’s loads of fun and you regularly find yourself in the strangest places in the West End.

What’s Your Proudest Project to Date?

I’m proud of all my work as I have a large base of thousands who read my content on a daily basis; I think you have to be. I always love when a client gives us the freedom to be creative as it always proves to be the strongest and most engaging campaign. In 2011 I was nominated for two Social Media awards for a campaign we ran for Ghost the Musical involving the streaming of the cast album on Facebook as an exclusive for fans. The album took off and received 120,000 plays in 9 days, shooting the actual album to #1 in the Soundtrack chart on Amazon and iTunes. We naturally trended on Twitter across the UK. I was chuffed as it really proved to my colleagues and the industry the importance of Social Media.

What Skills Do You Need to Work in Social Media?

Confidence in your ability to write is key. You’ll be thrown all sorts of content that sometimes really scrapes the bottom of the barrel and your job is to make it interesting. Another would be research and the sourcing of content. I spend hours finding as much content as I can; pictures, video, music, anything that could potentially bring a smile to the face of our fan-base. You really need a passion for Social Media too. Your employer expects you to know what the next big thing is and what/why/when people are using it. That only comes from using platforms in your daily life. It comes back to trial and error.

How Has Social Media in Business Changed in the Past Few Years?

Well it’s part of everything now. TV, Film, Music, Business…every industry uses it to reach consumers. Twitter and Facebook have stamped their mark into the industry and they really aren’t going anywhere for a long time. I think it’s less the business changing and more the sites’ users understanding the capabilities of Social Media. The tools have always been there, they just needed the investment and interest from society to really take off.

What Advice Would You Give to Someone Wanting to Work in this Industry?

Go to seminars and day courses on Social Media. Most are very generic but a great start point to get a grasp of how different industries use Social Media. You’ll also meet others in the industry and you can never have too many contacts. I’d also suggest trying out as many social networks as possible so you have a full understanding of how they work; employers will expect you to know and you can’t without having used them. You should really be active on them too; include your Twitter URL and/or your Tumblr in your CV.

What’s the Best CV Tip You Could Give to Help Someone Get Noticed?

Put it all on one page and don’t be scared to share your social networks. It immediately puts the employer at ease that you’re a Social Media expert. I’d say be proud to show off about your achievements; how many fans you had, the reach of your posts, the engagement. I’d be looking for someone who had the confidence to brag about their writing and the effect that it had.

For updates on the industry you can follow Matt on Twitter: @MattyMedia