Alright, you love social networking; you spend hours chatting with friends on Facebook, Twitter, watching videos on YouTube, and sharing pictures on Instagram. You think you are a social media rock star! Good news! Brands are looking for people just like you who can manage social media for them. How exciting it would be to spend the entire day on Facebook, twitter, YouTube & chatting with customers. How cool will that be, right?
Well, as exciting as it might sound, however, there are a few things you must consider before leapfrogging into the world of social media & digital marketing. The industry is new, few people understand digital & social media; there is lack of clarity about job roles & requirements. So you need to be careful!
Things to consider before starting career in Social Media (In the Indian Context) -
1. Brands are confused, really confused about Social Media:
I might sound to be exaggerating the point, but the fact of the matter is, a lot of brands are still struggling to understand social media as a marketing tool. They just don’t know what to do on social media; I mean, not all, but a majority of them don’t. A number of brands are doing a wonderful job on social media, but they are very few in number.
Ok, why is it important for you to know? Well, as you would be looking for social media jobs around, you will come across a number of companies, big or small, looking for people to manage their social media presence. Well, first of all, very few of them are really serious about social media. They must be hiring you only because of peer pressure, (everyone is on social media, so I must also be!).
Secondly, even If they want to get on social media, they have little idea what to do there. How it affects you! Well, if you join of these companies, you will at your wits end. You won’t know what is expected of you, where to start, what to do; a complete mayhem. You bear the brunt of their lack of knowledge, right attitude, or commitment for social media.
Before you take up any social media work, make sure you are being hired for a serious, strategic role, not some forced-upon, make-shift position created purely out of industry demand.
2. Agency Vs. In-house
Once you start hunting for opportunities, you will find agencies as well as in-house digital marketing teams looking for social media professionals. Well, in my opinion, be careful before taking up a role in in-house teams. Unless you are joining a well-established team or a reputed brand that is already doing good work, you must be very careful before taking up in-house positions.
There are many mom and pop firms that are just starting with digital. Joining these teams is a risky affair. Here, Things will take a lot of time to start. You need to have a lot of patience to see things rolling out slowly and gradually, that might take a toll on your wits. Given the fact, that there is a lot of confusion around how to go about digital & social media marketing, you might end up at a wrong place, where people don’t understand ‘digital’ or ‘social’ that well.
In digital Agencies, on the other hand, you will get to work for serious brands & businesses who understand digital media. They have clear goals and objectives with respect to digital marketing, and give you some great projects to work on. Apart from getting good work, another benefit of working with digital agencies is that you wouldn’t have to go around explaining everyone what digital or social media marketing is. In agencies, everyone is a digital media expert.
In nutshell, I will say, if you are just starting your career in social media, strive to work for agencies, rather than confused brands, at least for a good few years.
3. Social Media Professionals don’t earn well yet
Digital Marketing & Social media marketing are relatively new terms in the marketing sphere. Majority of businesses are yet to understand what these mean. But then, they might be compelled to hire you, because everyone else is doing it. There is also a lot of confusion about social media ROI which is why a lot of companies, consider social media as a cost function; the less the better. So they are not really willing to pay social media professionals so well, not at least in this country.
A person with 4-5 years of purely social media experience might expect, not more than, 5 lakh per annum by agencies. Brands, except big ones, might pay slightly better, but not that well.
Money is important to everyone, right? You love social Media, and want to make it your full-time profession. But, will you be okay with the money you will be making? Think about it!
4. Is it just about Social Media?
Social media, in itself, is a different ballgame altogether when it comes to marketing. But then, it is a big part of digital marketing. Do you want to restrict yourself to just social media, or want to learn other aspects of digital marketing as well? After all, you will be contributing to the overall digital marketing efforts of the company.
I would recommend, don’t stick to just social media. Expand your horizons. Learn about other tools or techniques in digital marketing, like website management, SEO, search engine marketing, display advertising. This will expand your scope of work as well as increase your career options & money too!
Digital Marketing industry is in a nascent stage at this time, and will take some time to mature. A lot of people are still trying to learn. During this phase, the road might not be as rosy as you might think. Be careful to take up new opportunities. There are a lot of confused folks out there, eager to hire you, without any clue what to expect from you. Stick to agencies as far as possible, at least for the next few years; get ready to earn less than what you desire, at least for now, until the industry matures.
Are you considering starting your career in social media or digital marketing? Are you an experienced digital marketing professional? How has your experience been so far? Tell us your comments below.