Put Your Social Media Skills to Work

By Alan Zilberman on July 12, 2017

Do you follow any of your favorite brands on Instagram? Ever checked into a restaurant on Facebook? Tweeted at a company or government office about a customer service issue?

Social media is not only a tool for people to keep in touch; it has also become an important way for businesses, government and organizations to reach wider audiences. It provides a dynamic avenue beyond radio, television and other traditional forms of advertising to interact with clients or consumers directly.

Someone who has the right social media instincts can turn those skills into an exciting career. Let’s take a closer look at some of the occupations that involve social media:

Public relations specialists use many tools, both traditional and digital, to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals. This category includes social media specialists, who concentrate on using social media to promote their organization.
Public relations and fundraising managers plan and direct the creation of content, such as social media presences, that maintain or enhance the public image of their employer or client.
Advertising and promotions managers plan programs and social media campaigns in order to generate interest in products or services.
Market research analysts and marketing specialists research and gather data, including social media data, to help a company market its products or services.

What do these jobs look like in real life? A public relations specialist might be hired by a client to orchestrate an event amplified on social media to generate interest in a new product. A restaurant may alert popular local social media accounts about their new menu, or a corporate social media account may interact with people to solve customer service issues. Organizations can then conduct research to see if the social media outreach was effective or not.

Put Your Social Media Skills to Work as a...
Projected new jobs, 2014-24 Median annual wages, 2016
Public relations specialist 14,900 $58,020
Market research analyst and marketing specialist 92,300 $62,560
Advertising and promotions manager 1,500 $100,810
Public relations and fundraising manager 4,700 $107,320

These jobs tend to pay well; their median annual wages are higher than the median for all occupations of $37,040 in May 2016. The median wages for the manager occupations are in the six figures. Keep in mind that to enter these occupations, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, marketing, or a similar field.

Most of these occupations are projected to have average job growth between 2014 and 2024 (the average for all occupations is 6.5 percent). But employment of market research analysts is projected to grow much faster, at 18.6 percent.

Think you have what it takes to gain followers for your business or organization, and maybe even go viral? Explore all of these occupations and many more in the Occupational Outlook Handbook [ ].