If you are an elearner who is working on a college degree in social media or you already use social media in your daily life and are thinking about a career in the field, there are some things you should know prior to diving into the industry. What skill sets should you already have in place before working within social media?

Engagement

Engaging with customers is an important skill in the world of social media. Since you do not want to be perceived as a spammer who just spits out information at people or auto responds with “like” me Facebook or download my free e-book, you probably want to work on those communication abilities. People generally like talking about their kids or Fido—or both. They usually prefer to be asked how they feel or what they think before clicking on a post’s URL. If you take the time to personally interact with customers, you could find that you are more successful in the realm that is social media.

Education

It is typically not enough to just know how to post a Facebook status update or change your Twitter profile picture. If you are serious about social media, you could need to hone skills that may be learned while earning a social media college degree or attending social media conferences and seminars. Most employers will probably want you to understand the basic principles of social media before they hire you. By educating yourself as much as possible before applying for a social media position, it may help jumpstart your career.

Writing

Writing seems to still be a large part of the social media process. Most communication is text-based so proper grammar and copywriting skills are important. You typically need to grab your readers’ attention and hold it so that they click-through to content. In order to do so, solid copy abilities may be required to simplify language and eliminate unnecessary jargon.

Creativity

Since first impressions are important within social media, having creative skills could be a great advantage in the field. Because part of the branding experience is related to creative designs, having a strong sense of colors, fonts, and layouts may make incorporating the concepts easier across various social media platforms like Facebook and Google +.

Understanding

Figuring out what customers don’t like may be a great technique for understanding what customers are looking for. Most people are turned off by “gurus” who know it all and who throw it in other people’s faces. Using caps lock aka shouting at people via the Net is probably not a great way to get your social media message across either. Instead, consider asking people concrete questions, making conversation that engages your customers, and determine how to position your product or service as the answer to people’s problems—without stating the obvious.

Social media may be a great field to work in if you have usable skills going into the industry. By discerning what you should know prior to entering a social media career, you could be setting yourself up for career success. Furthermore, your social media abilities may shine through and wow employers before you even fill out a job application. They may be perusing your social media sites to see how well you engage customers, understand SEO, and if you have a strong social media presence.

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Pamela Rossow is a freelance writer who works with higher education clients such as eLearners. She is a native South Floridian who enjoys photography, literature, and hockey. You can follow her on Google+.

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