In 1996, I started a new job as an assistant director of admissions at Clarion University.
A few weeks into my new gig, my boss, John Shropshire, came to me and asked, “What’s this whole World Wide Web thing about?”
There were a few reasons why he singled me out for an answer.
First, I was already using the internet and dabbling in HTML coding (the original backbone of web design). He knew this because I talked incessantly about the internet.
Second, I was the new guy. This was my first test. Shropshire was giving me a chance to prove my worth.
A few classes and coding lessons later, I was directing the office’s website, and a few years later became the university’s first e-marketing director.
To this day, I credit Shropshire for my life studying social media.
Now I advise communication and social media students at Youngstown State University on becoming the next social media manager for their company, even if the job doesn’t yet exist.
If you’re thinking about the steps you need to take to be your company’s social media manager, follow these tips and you might just create a little job security (or maybe prepare yourself a career move).
Say “yes.” OK, well maybe no one is asking. But if your employer doesn’t have a social media presence, or there was some lackluster attempt at creating a Facebook page five years ago, here’s your chance to give your employer a social media makeover.
Ask your boss for a chance to build out the company’s social media presence. Start small by focusing on only a few platforms, and be sure to collect data to show that what you’re doing is attracting new customers and engaging existing ones.
Get certified. During the DOYO Live Thought Leaders panel in August, one recurring theme focused on education. Whether it’s HootSuite, Hubspot or Google Analytics certification, knowing all there is to know about these management tools will prepare you for social media marketing.
Having several certifications will set you apart from other candidates who come to the job market with knowledge of SEO, inbound marketing, and social content creation and delivery. The best part is, these certifications are relatively inexpensive, so persuading your boss to pay for the training should be easy.
(Try To) Be Creative. One of my first, favorite go-to tools was Corel Paintshop (back before Adobe Photoshop ruled the world). But as a wannabe graphic designer, I knew very little about how to create and manipulate images. Training was essential for getting my wacky ideas into graphic form.
Lynda.com was my first stop for learning how to create and change images. Now in its 20th year, Lynda.com is a staple for people in search of low-cost training. If you’re not the creative type, chances are you know some right-brained people. Ask around. Go to your company’s creative team to test your ideas or seek out some new strategies.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.