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How Do I Become a Social Media Specialist?

By Gabriele Sturmer
Updated May 17, 2024
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A social media specialist creates an effective online advertising campaign with the goal of increasing an organization's online exposure. Common duties include creating content for social networking and blogging sites, researching customers' online behavior, investigating the trends of competing companies and performing other marketing duties. Some social media specialists also build websites, create videos and make graphics for use in their online advertising campaigns. To become a social media specialist, you will need to have excellent writing skills, be an effective marketer and have experience using relevant computer applications and websites. A college degree focusing on communications skills or marketing also may be required.

Some social media specialists may need a bachelor's degree that focuses on writing skills, advertising and technology. If you already have significant experience in social media, then some employers and freelance jobs won't require the degree. If you do decide to obtain a degree, it's helpful to focus on marketing, communications or journalism. You also should take some courses in web design, advertising and multimedia, so you will be prepared for the technological aspects of social media. Those who want to advance in the field or teach classes about social media may eventually consider a master's degree in online marketing, although this is rarely required to become a social media specialist.

Web design, search engine optimization (SEO) and graphic design are additional skills needed to become a social media specialist. Although some professionals focus mostly on writing materials for existing websites, others design website layouts, make logos and create graphical advertisements. Knowing SEO is critical to gaining exposure on the web, and most employers require you to use websites that analyze keywords to find out the popular topics trending on the web. You also should be familiar with productivity software used to create spreadsheets, presentations and documents.

Social media specialists usually have at least a couple years of experience in marketing and online media, including experience posting content to various social networking, online video and blogging websites. You also may need experience recording and editing videos and shooting and editing images. To become a social media specialist, excellent written and oral communication skills are critical, and you should have extensive experience writing online content using the Associated Press (AP) writing style. Freelance projects are a good way for aspiring social media specialists to gain experience in all these areas, and they may help you get a position later at a larger company.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Oct 22, 2014

@fify-- A social media specialist can basically handle all aspects of a social media campaign on their own. It takes experience and time to get there though.

Some large companies have a marketing team for these things and often responsibilities are allocated. So even if you don't know how to use SEO or work on videos, you can still be a part of a social media team and work on other things like content, updating social media sites, etc.

By fBoyle — On Oct 22, 2014

@fify-- Like most fields, the fields of marketing and social media are also very competitive. And that's essentially what a media specialist does, marketing through social media. I'm afraid that in such a competitive market, it might be difficult to get a break without any experience in marketing and website development.

Of course, good writing skills and experience with social media is important. But you should also be prepared to do more than that. This position also requires a lot of research, use of statistics, use of images and videos. It's important for a specialist to have comprehensive experience in all of these.

I'm sure you can gain these experiences by interning in social media work or assisting a social media specialist. If you've decided that this is what you want to do, then definitely consider taking some courses on marketing, web design and SEO. You have to be competitive.

By fify — On Oct 21, 2014

I don't have a marketing or journalism degree. I have a degree in social sciences though and personal experience with social media sites. Can I make an entry into this job field with these credentials?

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