Social media is much more than tweeting your feelings, posting an Instagram picture of you and your friends going out and wishing someone happy birthday on Facebook. In today’s age of the Internet and digital media, social media has become a tool for businesses, non-profits, government agencies and every day people to use daily. Social media expertise is an actual skill, one that every intern should have and one that will impress any interviewer you encounter.
Social media has a personal side and a business side, and sometimes the two overlap. For example, celebrities use social media to connect with their fans, but also to promote themselves. Companies use social media to shape their brand and also sell their product or message. Social media positions have found a permanent place in the communications department of companies everywhere. Whether or not that is something you see yourself doing, the ability to navigate social media in a professional setting is a skill you should learn in order to put yourself above the rest.
There are many problems and difficulties with social media that social media interns face. There’s the character limit (140 characters really isn’t much), the uphill battle to get more followers, conveying your message through a picture or graphic, engaging with your audience and ensuring that you are being true to the brand.
Problems can be tackled as a team as well as through learning and spending more time with social media. Anyone that desires to work in the communication field needs some sort of social media experience aside from personal interaction. You can take a social media class, read online articles or learn through experience.
These are a few things you should know:
1. You gain followers through following others too.
Unless you’re a major celebrity or well known brand, followers are not going to come naturally. In order to increase your followers on any social media platform, you’re going to need to follow others in your target brand, hashtag relevant or key terms and retweet or get featured.
2. Keep tweets to 100 characters or less for retweets.
140 characters isn’t much, I know, but keeping your tweet to 100 characters or less makes it retweetable or quote retweetable. Otherwise, users that want to retweet your tweet and add a quote will have to shorten your tweet themselves or they will get discouraged and won’t retweet at all.
3. Track your engagement.
On Twitter and Facebook, there are pages where you can track the engagement and statistics of everything you post: your links, photos and posts themselves. This is a great way to see what is working and discover what people like and don’t like. Constantly check this at least once a week; it’s a great way to teach yourself, but it also enables you to have statistics to show your supervisor too.
4. Get familiar with or learn how to use scheduling sites.
If you’ve never heard of Klout or Buffer, google them and play around. Unfortunately, Instagram cannot be scheduled yet, but maybe someday it will be. On these sites, you can connect Twitter and Facebook accounts, so you can schedule posts out days in advance. They also analyze your statistics and target audience based on your followers and show you relevant articles that your followers may be interested in, which is another great way to tailor to your brand audience.
5. Images almost always do better than plain text posts.
Maybe it’s a visual thing, or maybe it’s that an audience reacts better to seeing than reading, but tweets with images and text get better attention from your audience and are more likely to be shared.
6. Participate in brand chats every week.
If you’re a style or fashion company, join #StyleChat every Wednesday afternoon with tons of brands and users. By participating, you will receive responses, give responses and gain attention.
7. Respond and interact with other users.
If someone tweets you, tweet them back. If someone comments on your post or picture, comment back. You don’t have to do this for every tweet or comment, but recognizing them makes it more personal.
When you’re interviewing for a social media position, discuss your skill set. It’s even better if you’re able to give statistics from your previous experiences. It will show the employer that you have a genuine interest and that you know what you’re doing.
The digital age of the Internet is among us, so take advantage of the technology to expand your resume and gain social media as a valuable skill.