dr-image2Despite the uncooperative weather, spring has sprung and Opening Day is here! Whether you worship at the temple of Fenway or serve constant penance for the Cubs of Everlasting Sorrow in Chicago, baseball fans everywhere are grateful for the start of the season.

Working in social media can be like playing baseball: you need the right lineup, an audience that loves you, and an intimate knowledge of the rules to win. But like baseball, not all aspiring social media pros will make it to the big leagues. Social media marketing is still a relatively young field.

Accredited coursework and training to prepare professionals for a social media career still do not exist. However, professionals from all stripes are still stepping to the plate and taking their swing at becoming a social media all-star.

In Jay Baer’s new ebook, Social Pros All-Stars: Career Paths & Tips from 27 Big Company Social Media Professionals, he explores the professional lives of the folks behind the social voices of some of the biggest B2C brands around.

Whether you aspire to become a social media manager or you need to identify what makes a great social media manager to hire, this ebook has insights.

Trying Out for the Big Leagues?

For students looking to graduate from high school baseball or for the established professional trying to break out of the minors, it’s interesting to note that of the 27 social media managers profiled, only 24 percent of them have degrees in marketing, business or advertising.

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What does this mean for aspiring social media pros? While the range in educational backgrounds is diverse with this social media all-stars group, a background in journalism or public relations can give you an advantage.

“Journalism and PR gives a base knowledge in media, communications and writing skills, creative pitching and reading to stay ahead,” says Jason Miller, Social Content Manager for Beam Global. Knowing how to tell a compelling story and how to draw people in with creativity are important skills in social media.

In addition, only 30 percent of the all-stars hold advanced degrees. So an MBA is not required.

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Here’s some social media career advice from Adrian Parker, VP of Digital Marketing at Patrón:

“Just because you can bake cakes doesn’t mean you should open a bakery. The art of implementing social media at the enterprise level is very different from using social for personal pursuits. Tomorrow’s careers in social media are heavily focused on the business elements, including governance, globalization, technology adoption, user experiences and content strategies. It’s important to think about what you want to accomplish before assuming that all social jobs are created equal.”

Deciding Who to Pick on Draft Day?

It was talent that helped the Red Sox win the World Series last year, but it was the management that put the team together. With social media adoption from brands riding on the downward curve of the late majority, constructing the perfect team is paramount. The early adopter and majority brands are looking to hone their teams with the best leadership and experience.

Not all social media all-stars have agency experience in their backgrounds; however, 56 percent of them do. Successful social media managers do as much listening as posting. So much so, in fact, Parker lists it first when he says, “The best preparation for a career in social media is learning how to listen, communicate and problem-solve.”

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Constructing the best social media team to put on the field doesn’t just require recruiting the best communicators. Social media all-stars are a mix of both mad men and math men. Jason Miller, Social Content Manager at Jim Beam, says, “...you need to showcase [that] you understand and can interpret consumer data...”

Social media is a profession that’s finally made it to the big leagues; and winning the game requires a host of talents and skills that not everyone has. However, with Jay’s Social Pros All-Stars ebook the talents and skills needed aren’t such a mystery. What we learned is that aspiring social all-stars them can go the distance, from Opening Day to post-season, by being data-savvy, a good communicator and listening well. And the executives pursuing them know the attributes, skills and experience their brands need to hire for their all-star social media role.

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Originally published Mar 31, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016

Topics:

Social Media