Social media jobs in the third sector

Posted by Tom Davies on 26 February 2015

If you’re reading this blog post there’s a strong chance that you’re a child of the social media generation, with the likes of Facebook and Twitter a daily presence in your life. But while it’s clear that a career in marketing is one of the more popular desired career paths for students, many still don’t realise that there are an ever-increasing amount of roles focusing on social media available to recent graduates. Where once responsibility for managing social media accounts would fall to a Marketing Officer, companies are increasingly recognising the importance of social media and creating specialist positions to co-ordinate this, such as Social Media Officer and Digital Campaigns Officer.

This is particularly true for the charity sector, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise. After all, some of the most successful campaigns dominating people’s timelines and newsfeeds over the last twelve months have either been instigated or co-opted by charities. Whether it’s the ice bucket challenge or the no make-up selfie, the advent of social media has as Laura Phillips points out “allowed a portal of mammoth proportions to open for charities….allowing them a level of reach and engagement never seen before.” This level of reach and engagement hasn’t been cultivated by accident overnight; the largest 25 charities in the world have more Twitter followers than either the largest 25 retailers in the UK or companies in the FTSE 100.socialmedia And while levels of social media engagement aren’t everything for a charity (as this UNICEF Sweden campaign adeptly points out) the numbers do translate to where it ultimately counts for charities – donations. A Mashable survey last year found that 51.1% of respondents first found out about new social good initiatives through social media.

Here are a couple of ways you can start to improve your chances of getting employed in this area:

Gain experience

In this respect, getting your first job using social media is no different to getting your first job in any sector. Competition is likely to be fierce, and any evidence you can provide that you’ve already used social media in a professional context will be looked upon favourably by employers. You could look specifically for internships in a social media context, or volunteer to assist with posting to an organisation’s accounts when on any non-related placements. Alternatively, volunteering opportunities posted on sites such as Do-It often ask for someone to help out with social media postings. This will be particularly useful if you’re looking for a social media position in a Not-for-profit organisation, as it will show a genuine commitment to helping others.

Build your online brand

Hopefully you’re already aware of what your digital footprint is and the importance of ensuring that it won’t provoke a negative reaction from employers (take a look at this useful guide if you’re not.) But if you’re looking for a job in social media then you need to ensure that you’re going further than this, and also actively making a positive impression with your online presence. After all, employers don’t want to see someone with seemingly little engagement on social media applying for roles in this exact area! Find out more about how you can improve your online brand by reading this interview with a social media executive at ASOS.

Image courtesy of Alex Smith at Deviantart.com

Topics: job hunting, charity, Marketing, Advertising and PR

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