Love blogging? Find yourself addicted to your RSS reader, creating content or having conversations with your global network at odd hours of the day or night? Perhaps you are so passionate about social media that you are thinking you want to work in the area. “I want to be a social media specialist“, you cry.
REWIND. I’ve met plenty of people in the past who wanted to work in traditional media, including myself. But if you want to stand out in the industry and position yourself as an expert, you should consider the unique experience and skills only you could bring to a job.
PAUSE. If you seem to be spending all of your time just trying to keep up with the shiny new things, pause for a second. If you could have a job in social media, what could you bring to the role to make it special?
FAST FORWARD. Many people are entering the workforce with “social media skills“and social media roles are still being defined and emerging. Take a peek at Jeremiah Owyang’s list of social media strategists and community managers to get an idea of the companies and roles currently filled in this space.
A recent post in Conversations matter breaks it down to several roles you could consider, including Social Media Strategist, Community Manager, Social Site Management, Blogging, Monitoring, and Web Innovations.
In addition, what about specialising in existing industries or roles aligned to social media?
Industry: Is there a particular industry you want to align yourself with? Eg telecommunications, accounting, not-for-profit sector, government, education, small to medium business, etc.
Demographic: Are you interested in enterprise-wide adoption of social media or do you prefer to work with individuals in small groups?
B2B and P2P: For instance, do you have a special interest in social lending?
Collaboration: Do you have a passion for collaboration and storytelling? Do you enjoy the conversation? Are you passionate about community?
HR, Change and Training. Do you have an appreciation for organisational change, HR, incentives, training, mentoring, business transformation, morale and productivity?
Social. Is your special interest in psychology or therapy?
Knowledge and Information. Are you experienced in knowledge management and intellectual capital?
Communications. Does the area of communication, marketing, PR, or branding appeal to you?
Technical, Programming genius? IT fanatic? Coding legend?
Mobile: Do you love all things mobile, are you crazy about your mobile phone or iPod Touch?
Media and design: Perhaps you like to create -you are a design superstar with a real zeal for creating beautiful things? Do you love to blog, make podcasts, animations or videos? Is your interest in the area of usability and user experience and information design?
Research and future trends: Maybe you like the area of business intelligence, analysis and research? Or are you a futurist interested in emerging trends? Innovation junkie?
And of course there is also the area of virtual worlds -which you could possibly break down to some of the above roles and skills..probably another post altogether.
So when you say you want to work in social media – where do you see yourself?
PLAY. Regardless of where you want to position yourself in social media in the future, you can make a difference where you are right now, by sharing what you already know. In addition, how can you build up a core competency and weave social media goodness into it?
This is by no means an exhaustive list or breakdown of roles, and some intersect and overlap. What would you add to this list?