The Super Bowl is the largest covered sporting event in the world. For January 2012, the organizers of Super Bowl XLVI anticipated the plumes of virtual responses from viewers by setting up a social media command centre. According to BBC News, the Giants versus Patriots game set a world record for Twitter activity with an average rate of 10,000 tweets/second and a peak of 12,233 tweets/second when the Giants scored a last minute touchdown.
Nowadays, most people seem to learn more about the world and their communities through Facebook rather than traditional news sources – the emphasis on Social Media Careers is ever increasing. The American Marketing Association predicts that within the next five years, businesses will assign around 20% of their advertising budgets to social and new media. Universities and colleges now offer such degrees, as part of business/marketing, computer/information systems and journalism degrees to keep up with the growing demand for social media strategists and experts.
What is Social Media?
Social media is a form of direct communication between businesses, governments and media sources and their audience (clients or the public). Examples of social media tools include Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs or regularly-updated websites, Flickr, YouTube, Google Plus and Yammer. They allow for instantaneous relays of information and responses and have the promotion to go viral (passed on) exceptionally quickly. Since more and more businesses, organizations and agencies are employing these tools, social media degrees/careers are becoming increasingly important.
Social Media Education
Colleges and universities are now offering social media degrees, at both the undergraduate (Associate’s and Bachelor’s) and graduate levels. Journalism schools offer concentrations in either online public relations or social media; business schools offer social media management majors; as part of a computer science or information systems program, you can specialize in social networks or web development for social media. Prospective social media experts can become qualified to communicate news or advertise a product effectively using social media tools; alternatively, one can become skilled to continuously advance the underlying technology involved with these virtual channels. Whatever area interests you, from business and communications to IT and journalism, there is a social media degree that fits your passion and talents.
Examples of subjects covered in social media classes include learning about each tool and application, consumer behavior, writing for social media, organizational communication, social media marketing campaigns, analyzing social media websites, database knowledge and professional social networking.
Due to the nature of this field, most social media degrees and individual courses are offered online, in addition to on campus. Completing an online degree allows you the flexibility to pursue a program at your own pace and space.
Social Media Jobs
Social media experts come in many different forms, depending on whether you are interacting directly with key audiences or working behind the scenes. As follows are examples of job titles that may be pursued after completing a social media degree:
- Social media manager/management
- Social media developer (technical)
- Online writer/editor
- Social media marketer
- SEO consultant
- Graphic/online designer
- Social media strategist
- Public relations specialists
- Online video producer
Although Social Media Degrees/Careers are a relatively new phenomenon, their prevalence is expected to exponentially grow. The precise career outlook for social media strategists or managers has not been quantified due to their emerging status. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from now until 2018, the number of jobs for public relations specialists is expected to increase by 24%, and this is partially due to the increasing role of social media. In 2008, the median salary for public relations representatives was around $51,000, the BLS adds.
As for the technological side, more companies and organizations are starting to hire experts specifically for the task of social media web development. According to the BLS, the number of positions for network systems and data communications analysts (which includes web developers) is expected to increase by 53%. As of 2008, the median salary for this profession was around $71,000.
Finally, advertising, marketing, promotions, and sales manager positions are expected to grow by 13% through to 2018, states the BLS. One can safely assume that the demand for social media marketers/promoters is higher than the overall estimate for this job category. According to the BLS, the median salary for advertising/marketing managers was between $80,000 – 100,000 in 2008.