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Working In Social Media Isn’t All Hashtags And Memes (Sort Of)

Whenever I’m asked what I do for work and I reply, “I work in social media”, I generally get two responses. The majority of the time I’m met with blank stares, tentative head nods, and a quick change of subject, but sometimes I get the slightly more insightful, “Does that mean you get paid to sit on Instagram and Facebook all day?” Le sigh. That’s a hard no from me. Even my close friends and family have no idea what I do day-to-day. And I’m not being preachy, because before I started working in the industry I didn’t either.

We are living in a world where, for better or for worse, even your 70-year-old, baby boomer Grandma is on Facebook. But, do you know where all of that content you see on your feed comes from? In the very (read: extremely) basic sense, social media and content agencies create everything you see, read, and watch on a brand’s social media accounts and website.

So, what do we do day to day?

It’s not all hashtags, memes, and Instagram followers. Well, sometimes it is, but mostly it’s a lot of deep strategic thinking, creativity, and content production. Some large brands will have their own in-house social media manager, or others will hire agencies that specialise in everything from strategy, creative, content, design, video, and analytics.

Here’s an ultra-quick guide to understanding what it means to work in the booming industry of social media.

Community management

Have you ever seen a brand’s Facebook page blowing up in the comments section? Well, direct your prayers towards the community manager, because it’s their job to douse that fire. They need to know a brand’s tone of voice, inside and out, and everyday a brave soul or team of brave souls will answer questions, point the audience in the right direction, or handle feedback. Community management is absolutely crucial, and crafting responses is a true art. If you fancy yourself as a peacemaker and have a way with words, then this could be your calling.

Content creation

Everyone spends hours on social media every day, alternating between scrolling, reading, and scrolling, and that’s because what we find on there is interesting.

Creativity is a huge part of what someone who works in social media does. It’s our job to know a brand’s audience, and simultaneously know what they are going to want to see or read more of. This can be in the form of video, images, articles, blogs, cinemagraphs, and literally anything else you see online.

TL;DR (“too long; didn’t read”): we write the words, snap the snaps, and shoot the films.


This is one element of what happens on social that is probably the most easily recognisable, but also the most misunderstood. Your newsfeeds are constantly flooded with social media influencers spruiking this or that product. A part of our job is to create meaningful relationships between brands and those individuals on Instagram, Facebook, or their blogs who have a large followings. Influencer specialists find and recommend influencers to clients who are a natural fit and whose ethos align strongly, and organically, with the brand.

Paid amplification

R.I.P pop-up ads of days gone by — it’s all about paid social strategy now. Have you ever wondered why you see the sponsored posts that you do in your feed? Or have you ever noticed a suggested page that is almost spookily right up your alley? Just in the way traditional advertising companies would place ads in magazines or newspapers, social media agencies can do the same on channels like Facebook and Instagram. Using detailed audience information, brands can now better target potential customers. This particular avenue is for all of you self-appointed data and analytics nerds.

For those of you who think social media marketing could be for you, I can’t stress the importance of internships enough. There are so many different elements to working in social media, so to find your passion point give it a try.

How to kick start your career in social

For those of you who think social media marketing could be for you, I can’t stress the importance of internships enough. Agencies and companies are always on the lookout for energetic and passionate interns who are willing to get stuck in and learn. You can research social media internships online here. You could also look to connect with Social Media Managers on LinkedIn, asking for advice and recommendations can get you a long way.

One of the great things about social is that the industry is still young and the work is so diverse that there isn’t any one particular degree favoured over others.

Varied degrees such as Arts or Communications will give you a great foundation however internships and practical social experience are key.

Sound like you? Check out the COURSE FINDER to find out how to take the first step

Or if this wasn’t for you… Here’s a list of 26 DIFFERENT creative jobs for you to run your eyes through


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