Tips for a Career in Branding and Social Media

Illustration by Serj Marco via Dribbble

Advertising is still around as a profession, but these days, many who might have gone into advertising once upon a time are now heading into digitally based fields that didn’t even exist a couple of decades ago, such as branding and social media.

These often go hand in hand, with the former being all about identifying and conveying a company’s image and the latter being one of the main ways to reach customers with that image. If you are interested in a career in this area, the tips below can help you prepare.

Getting Your Degree

It’s best to get a bachelor’s degree as your first step toward working in this field. A few schools may offer a digital or social media marketing degree, but it’s not necessary to have a degree in that particular major.

You could also pursue a degree in communications, public relations, or advertising to name just a few. Scholarships are a great way to pay for your education because you don’t have to repay them.

You can look online to find scholarships you are eligible for and apply, including Going Merry scholarships.

College is a great place to network, find mentors and expand your horizons. In order to excel at your position in branding and social media, work on becoming someone who has well-rounded knowledge about many different topics.

This will help in providing you with a deep creative well to draw on in your campaigns. Take classes in a variety of different areas outside of your major. Your education should not stop with your bachelor’s degree. Look for seminars, courses and other opportunities to expand your knowledge.

Create a Social Media Presence

The best way to demonstrate to companies that you are adept in using social media is to create a presence yourself and build a following that is significant.

Think carefully about what you want your own personal brand to be and make sure that it is compatible with your career goals. This might involve deleting old profiles, a move that may be necessary if there is anything negative on them that could affect your job search.

Not every employer will go digging through your online life, but when the career field you want to enter is primarily focused on that life, you can expect it.

Creating and maintaining profiles across several platforms can give you valuable insight into how they work as well as what does and doesn’t work for you. It can help you learn when to step back from conflicts that arise and how to handle other sticky situations online.

Figuring all of this out when the stakes are lower is important although even at this stage you should always be conscious of yourself as being in a public space. This is also a great opportunity to connect with others in your field online and to learn from how they work.

Getting Experience

There are a number of other ways to get experience in addition to curating your own online brand. The best way is with an internship. While not all internships are paid, an increasing number are, so you can look for these if you need to keep earning money.

However, you may be able to get some experience in this area on the job even if it is not a formal internship. If you have a job while you are in college, let your employer know about your field of study and your ambition, and see if you can get the opportunity to do some similar work for them.

Another possibility is to volunteer either with a student or a community organization. You should be developing other skills as well. You need to be good at communicating, problem solving and responding effectively in a fast-paced environment.

You also need to be creative. It may be helpful to take a class to help you better understand data analysis in the context of online marketing or a similar topic.

Consider Specializing

Think about what kind of a role you want to have, including whether you want to work at one company and help improve company branding online or be a freelancer who designs campaigns or manages social media for multiple clients.

One thing to consider as well is whether you want to focus on B2B or B2C. The former is marketing to other businesses while the latter is marketing to customers.

You should also consider whether there are particular areas that you want to specialize in. This could be in a specific industry. Maybe you want to work in publishing or banking or with nonprofits.

Do you see your job as primarily a creative one, or are you more of a number’s person, focused on making adjustments in strategy based on what the numbers tell you? It’s good to know a little bit about everything, but you may do best with a particular niche.

What You Need to Know

This is a fast-evolving field, so you’ll need to get used to the idea of always having something new to learn. In the meantime, there are a number of different concepts you will need to familiarize yourself with. You should understand influencers and influencer marketing and how you can work with them to build an audience.

Influencers will not be useful with every type of brand, but what you learn from this can be helpful in general when it comes to working with customers and followers. You can encourage them to engage with you and amplify your message in the same way that influencers do.

You’ll need to learn diplomacy. Developing a strategy for dealing with angry or unhappy customers will be important because interactions with them will be taking place in a public forum. Furthermore, those online are quick to boost the signal if they feel that a company has treated them poorly.

If you can learn how to work effectively with video as well as editing for video and images, you will be a more competitive candidate for jobs or may be looked on more favorably by potential clients if you are a freelancer.

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