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How to Become a Social Media Marketing Specialist

Learn what this trending marketing career has to offer.

What does a social media marketer (SMM) do?
Utilizing traditional marketing tenets and online media best practices, SMMs market brands in order to:
– Drive traffic to website(s) to enhance the visibility of a brand, product, service, or person.
– Develop relationships with key influencers and target audiences.
– Promote content using strategies such as advertising, link-building, guest posting, and sharing.
– Apply a blended marketing approach that includes earned, paid, and owned media outreach.
– Use social analytic to identify existing audience demographics and grow the base.
– Deliver true engagement and interactions to their target audience.

Social media’s business impact
Currently, there are more than 200 social networks, with a combined total of users in the billions. Understanding and targeting these users is a huge business opportunity.

According to a 2012 Manta Survey
– 42% of small-business owners found 1/4 of their customers through social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or online forums.
– 38% of small-business owners devote 1/4 of their business networking time to online channels.
– 24% dedicate 1/3 their time to online channels.

Fast company’s ranking of the World’s 50 most innovative companies includes a list of the top 10 in social media, which features familiar and not-so-familiar names:
– Facebook: #1 due to its breadth of offerings and success with display advertising.
– LinkedIn: Once “just” a professional networking site, now a must-visit destination with additional of social news reader LinkedIn Today.
– Tumblr: The “minimalist” blogging platform lets users make good-looking blogs and is used by both amateur bloggers and corporate media outlets.
– Disqus: This comments service powers 1 million websites, or 73% of those with third-party comments systems.
– Ubermedia: The users of this mobile app and advertising company generate 12% of all tweets and it’s gotten Twitter’s attention.

In 2012, the Huffington post reported:
– 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook
– 23% of Facebook users check their feed 5x or more daily.
– More than 5 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every hour.

Steps to become a social media marketer
Its’s possible to work in social media without a degree or PR certification, but job opportunities may be limited to hourly interns and coordinator positions. Most likely, aspiring SMMs will need more significant education and experience.
Step 1:
High school degree or equivalent: helpful if a related internship was done during high school.
Step 2:
Bachelor’s degree in: Public relations, marketing, communications, English or journalism.
Courses: in business administration, advertising, management, creative and technical writing, economics, political science, public affairs, accounting, finance, public speaking, mathematics and statistics would be beneficial.
Step 3:
Possible master of business degree for an aspiring SMM: Communications, Social media, Marketing or public relations.
Relevant work experience with marketing and PR concepts in both new and “traditional media”.
Additional Professional Development:
– Continuing education courses as needed.
– Attendance at relevant conferences.

Social Media MBA Programs
– Rutgers Business School: offers a virtual mini-MBA in social media marketing
– Excersior College: offers an MBA concentration in social media management
– New England College: offers an MBA in digital and social media

Best Marketing Grad Schools (2013)
1. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
2. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
3. Stanford University
4. Duke University (Fuqua)
5. Harvard University

Earning Potential
As of May 2012, there were no Bureau of Labor Statistic figures specifically for social media marketing managers. However, it does provide salary information for occupations that may be comparable.

Marketing Manager
– Total employed: 171,430
– Median annual salary: up to $119,480
– Top paying states: New York, District of Columbia, New Jersey, Delaware and California.

Public Relations Manager
– Total employed: 53,520
– Median annual salary: up to $95,450
– Top paying states: Delaware, New York, Virginia, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

Earnings depend on many factors including coursework completed, geographical location, and general economic conditions. This information does not guarantee results for individuals. Additional training, certifications and qualifications may be required.

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