5 Mistakes in Finding a Job in Social Media

I train thousands of people each year in social media marketing.  Many of them are seasoned professionals in the field while others are hoping to break it.  Social media is a new and emerging field, and most people in the industry are not yet very experienced.

When I began working in social media 5 years ago we were one of the first companies on Twitter and we primarily focused on social network marketing on MySpace.  It seems that everyone with a Twitter account claims to be an expert citing as much as 10 years of experience in the field.

If you are looking for a position in social media marketing, here are some tips that many people make when attempting to enter the world of social media marketing.

1. Not Investing in Your Skills

This is a big one.  When I got in to social media I invested thousands of dollars in attending conferences and even more in coaching and meeting the experts. Many of the people who want to work in social media don’t attend social media training and don’t bother to attend industry conferences where they can learn from the best.

Read blogs, learn from others and invest in your skills.  Many social media marketers are arrogant – I know it all, why would I learn from that person! – yet you can always continue to learn, especially in a field that evolves so quickly.

I continue to learn from those in the industry to keep my skills sharp.

2. Not Getting Experience

If you want to work in social media, get some legitimate experience. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who have barely joined Twitter who want to get hired as a consultant or as an employee in social media. People shouldn’t have to pay you to learn (unless they agree to it upfront).

Volunteer for a non-profit or do an internship in social media.  Find a legitimate way to get some real experience with results that you can point to across platforms (Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, etc).

3. Assuming it is Easy

Social media marketing is harder than ever.  There is so much clutter on Facebook and Twitter and in blogs that you really have to have a solid plan and great content in order to break through the noise and connect with your customers.

Many experienced social media practitioners find this difficult.

Just because you can set up a Facebook fan page (which anyone can do) doesn’t mean that you can market a company on it.  It is harder than ever to get real results.

4. Overselling their Skills

The joke with social media is that everyone is an expert…. the same is true with many areas of internet marketing.  I have interviewed many people for digital marketing positions, and many candidates who claim to be experts in an area like Search Engine Optimization or Online Advertising don’t even know the basics.

When you oversell your skills you lose credibility, and you may wind up in a job that you are not really qualified for.  Just because you know a little bit about an area, don’t claim to be an expert. Understand where your gaps are and take steps to fill them.  You don’t have to know everything about all aspects of internet marketing.  Know what you don’t know and invest in yourself to acquire the needed skills.

5. Not Having Passion

Passion for social media and internet marketing are key. The reality is that they change so quickly, that it is more important to stay up-to-date than in other areas of marketing.  If you are passionate about social media, digital marketing or internet marketing this will come very naturally to you.

I’ve trained many people who aren’t really passionate about social media and don’t actually like connecting with people.  They tend to be less successful in the long-run because their skills quickly become out-of-date.

Be passionate about what you do – whatever it is – and you will be much better at it.

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