In its early stages over a decade ago, social media management as a profession was completely unheard of. At a time when algorithms didn’t exist and customer power was much lower than nowadays, virtually anyone with a set of basic technological skills was able to properly perform the role of social media manager, within a business environment.
However, social media has not only evolved for the common individual, but for companies in the search of competitive leverage as well. With an impressive estimate of 4.2 billion users around the world (more than half of the world´s total population), social media has certainly become a great tool to gain more exposure and, consequently, larger profits.
Do you need a degree to become a social media manager?
Social media management has turned into a career path that can be followed at a professional level, with various options to choose from. In fact, it has been calculated that more than 26,725 social media managers are currently employed in the United States alone.
Having a degree in social media does not guarantee a career as a manager but it is definitely advantageous when dealing with the increasingly fierce competition there is in the field nowadays.
What are some of the benefits of having a social media degree?
There is little doubt as to how complex social media has turned, which has forced social media managers to become more technically competent in the areas of data analysis, business strategy, and business marketing.
Because they supposed to be academically prepared for a business setting, professionals with a degree in social media could be considered more employable than those who lack one. This seems to be the case when it comes to fulfilling key leadership roles, particularly for candidates who happen to have a Master´s degree in social media.
A higher salary is another important benefit that comes with having a social media degree. Recent statistics show that in the U.S. salaries for social media marketing directors average $75,000 a year, with experienced professionals averaging well over $100k. Government agencies, private companies, and nonprofit organizations need educated, talented people so they pay well to attract and keep them.
What kind of qualifications do you need for a career in social media?
At a first glance, a degree in social or digital media might be an obvious qualification to have in order to develop a formal business career in social media. Nevertheless, there are certifications in other relevant fields that are closely bound to social media in general.
A degree in communications, marketing, graphic/web design or public relations are ideal when trying to find and develop a successful career in the highly lucrative business of social media.
What types of jobs are available in social media?
Because of the constant changes in this discipline, there is a wide range of jobs that are currently available in social media, with new ones coming out on a regular basis. Some of the most sought after and highest paying jobs related to social media in business are:
- Social Media Strategist
- Marketing Consultant
- Community Manager
- Marketing Communications Director
- Vice President of Communications
How can you get started in social media without a degree?
Since tangible proof of anyone´s accomplishments speaks volumes of their work, the first thing you probably need to do is build your own portfolio. This means taking short courses on varied areas of social media such as: analytics, communications, online advertising or marketing, technological skills, and public relations, among others.
Apart from enrolling in academic programs on your own, you can ask your employer to sponsor a degree course as most companies can reap benefits from investing in their employees’ development. Without a degree, you might have to start in entry level positions to progressively work your way up from the bottom to the top of the ladder and academic sponsorship is an efficient way to do so.
One last strategy to getting started in social media professionally is to open your own social media agency. Clients tend to be more interested in results than in degrees. Therefore, if you have the ability to bring in a greater amount of conversions and sales in a consistent manner, you will be more than able to develop a successful career in social media.