The Social Butterfly

Social media marketing is the new tool of communication in companies, says Patricia Mascarenhas while exploring the growing opportunities in this field.

Social media marketing is the new tool of communication in companies, says Patricia Mascarenhas while exploring the growing opportunities in this field.

Do you spend all your free time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other online portals? Do you spend all your free time online, wonder how you can parlay that into an actual paid position? The good news is that it is possible. Imagine how fascinating it would be to turn your passion into a profession. “Many people will be impressed that you get paid for the activity that they pursue for fun and convenience,” says Nikhil Kharabanda, head- social media, Ignitee Digital Services Pvt. Ltd.

Social media is a rapidly growing career choice for young professionals and fresher. Today, more than 200 million people in India are online and more than 120 million of them are on social media. “The reach of social media, especially among the youth, is greater than the reach of television. So brands are placing lots of emphasis in this field. Hence more jobs are being made available here,” says Mahesh Murthy, founder, Pinstorm.

“Social media management is the art and craft of helping brands improve their presence and reputation in digital mediums,” says Murthy. However, a career in social media involves much more than having personal experience on Twitter and Facebook. There are several job profiles that are part of social media management across different seniorities.

The beauty of social media marketing resides in its ability to foster personal connections between companies and their customers at little to no cost. “Writing posts and tweets is not everything, but how can you use your creative artistry to create noise without calling for attention is the challenge,” says Vicky Ganji, senior manager- digital marketing, Flarepath Solutions pvt ltd.

It requires expertise in many angles of business, including communication, human relationships, marketing, Internet technologies, customer service and more. “It includes developing content for each platform, posting it at the necessary time, monitoring each platform for queries/complaints etc., developing campaign/engagement ideas that help achieve the brand`s objective on social media and creating reports that help track the brand`s progress,” informs Kharabanda.

The skills needed depend on the specific function or profile you’re interested in. “But across all functions, a familiarity with social media, a clear command over written English, and an ability to understand how the dynamics of interactions happen in social media are all necessary,” says Murthy.

One also needs to have a strong understanding of analytics and how to use it effectively to ensure that the brand is getting the most out of social media. “You need to get your basics right so you understand how other functions of digital marketing impact social media and vice versa – this is essential in creating holistic campaigns,” warns Kharabanda.

So, if you are looking for a career in this field its best to start building your bridges as early as you can. “If you do consider training, then check out the credibility and competence of the trainer before you spend any money on them. The best training, anyway, is on the job,” says Murthy. Ganji agrees. “Work experience or an internship with an online marketing department will give you a good grounding. Setting up and writing your own blog can help you get experience in your own time and provide a showcase for your work. Networking is essential, so consider your online profile as the important first step in building and extending your professional network,” he advises.

As the digital business continues to grow, the careers in this industry are here to stay. “From being a social media executive, one typically graduates to a managerial role, where the responsibility is to ensure deliverables, as opposed to hands-on execution,” says Russell Pinto, social media executive. “From there, one can look at taking on the role of a Social Media Planner – providing strategic and creative inputs only. Over time, it`s important one understands digital marketing as a whole to take on roles that involve other functions as well,” he adds.

Helping companies foster customer loyalty is bound to come with rewards. “It entirely depends on the individual and how well he/she manages to build brand awareness and make connections,” says Ganji. However, “For fresher, the packages start at Rs. One to 1.5 lakh per annum and go up with experience to well over Rs. 10 lakhs,” informs Murthy.

It’s the easiest career to get into. Yet it’s the most difficult career- because only the truly talented and experienced go far. The bars are low, so any one can jump in, but the path is long – so you must have the passion to make it all the way.