MARKETING

Do social media managers really need a master’s degree?


Social marketing experts are the CMO of the future. That’s what our founder, Ryan Holmes, thinks. And he said that until 2018.

“Social media managers, community managers, internet marketing managers – these people understand where the relationship with customers lives,” he told Tech in Asia.

Although we are still far from that reality, social media management has moved from the emerging title awarded to trainees and new students to a profession worthy of its place at the marketing leadership table.

This feeling has gone from something quietly whispering in the back corners of marketing departments to the central stage on Twitter.

And that is a conversation that has begun to enter the mainstream. In July 2021, the Wall Street Journal published an article about the maturing profession of social media management that caused waves in marketing circles. Merchants in particular raised their eyebrows at the mention of the master’s program in social media management at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication.

A leading voice in the social marketing profession and a longtime advocate of social media marketing experts, Jon Stansel, said that instead of training for marketing beginners, training, industry leaders and leaders are needed.

At the core of this whole discourse is a fundamental truth: In the last decade, social media marketing has come into its own as a profession. As the breadth of skills expected of social media managers expands, training and education on social media management are more important than ever. Let’s look at how the role of social media managers is changing, why training is delayed, and whether it ultimately pays to earn a master’s degree in social media management.

Bonus: Customize ours free, professionally designed resume templates to get a dream social media job today. Download them now.

The reach of social media managers is expanding

Social media managers have been in their roles for more than 10 years, and during that time the breadth of skills they are expected to acquire has increased.

Ten years ago, when social networking emerged as a new thing, many potential social media managers invented their roles and titles to fill in the gaps they saw in any organization they found themselves in. Since then, they have found themselves on the front lines of many marketing organizations. They manage people, develop brand strategy and solve organizational crises.

Amanda Wood, social media marketing manager at Hootsuite, leads our social marketing team and has withstood every change in the industry in the last decade – including some major changes in responsibility.

“Social media managers are expected to be experts in crisis communication,” she says. “We need to make sure that we are fully in line with the establishment of a crisis communications strategy and that we work closely with corporate communications and stakeholders throughout marketing. ”

It’s not just reactive communications that have entered the social marketing portfolio. Social marketers often lead the development and implementation of a proactive brand strategy.

Nick Martin, a social media marketing expert at Hootsuite, deals with everything from content creation and engagement to advanced social listening – so he knows what impact society can have on the brand.

“Social media managers are brand strategists,” he explains. “We have the task of building a brand. It’s not that we’re free here. Every time a new network appears, and even a new function, we have to build a strategy for it. And to be in line with the overall goals of the brand. ”

These expanded roles are reflected in marketing budgets. The data suggest that leadership in many organizations is beginning to take social media management seriously.

From the start of the pandemic to June 2020, spending on social media as part of the overall marketing budget rose 13.3% to 23.2%, according to the CMO survey. That spending has since dropped to pre-pandemic levels. However, now that the CMOs have realized its value, they predict that spending on social media will climb to 23.4% of the marketing budget in the next 5 years – and will remain so.

So feel free to joke about how social media manager positions are for trainees. Social marketing professionals are professionals who are required to manage an expensive, highly efficient, and growing portion of a marketing budget.

Despite growing expectations, training and education opportunities are lagging behind

Although their roles are expanding, social media marketers are often left to themselves when it comes to training and education. Many top institutions, from MIT to New York to USC Annenberg, offer programs in social media marketing. But because the industry is changing so fast, curricula are struggling to do so.

Amanda says many social managers share this view.

“Even experienced social media managers get stuck and tend to turn to peers to develop their skills,” she says. “At the beginning of my career, I worked under well-meaning managers who did not understand socially. . . they couldn’t teach me more than I already knew. “

According to Brayden Cohen, Hootsuite’s social marketer and leading advocate, this is precisely why many marketers tend to lean on each other.

I’m still as surprised as we have to learn about the social – even in a place like Hootsuite where our team is literally at the forefront of the industry, ”he thought. “There are five of us, which is much bigger than most social teams. And so much more we are constantly learning from each other. ”

Find a balance between peer learning and private education

Although training and education opportunities may lag behind innovation, the conclusion is that professional marketing education is rarely needed. * In fact, the rejection of vocational education in marketing circles may be one of the primary reasons why marketing efficiency declines.

As in any discipline, higher education can help social media managers build a solid foundation. However, given that social media marketing is changing as fast as discipline, social media employees will inevitably have to fill in the gaps in their skills as they progress in their careers. To do this, it is important to rely on peers and mentors.

Or, as Eileen Kwok, social marketing coordinator at Hootsuite, says, “The most important thing for social media marketers is to stay flexible and attentive. . . adaptable as the industry changes. And pay attention to what social marketing leaders are doing to stay ahead of the curve. ”

Do social media managers really need a master’s degree? It depends on each individual marketer. It is a better question that social media managers ask themselves What skills do I need to build now and where can I acquire them?

Where we go to learn from our peers

Knowing exactly who to turn to for training and education can be difficult. Especially if you work as a freelance marketer or on a social media team – which we know is common. Here are some of our favorite places to seek support and get real, proven, professional advice.

Twitter Lists

Twitter lists are not just for keeping your feed organized. With them, you can follow some of the brightest minds of social media and marketing. If you’re just starting out with Twitter lists, come on this blog to read. Even if you are an experienced expert, remember that you can also create and view multiple lists at once directly in Hootsuite. And if you want some insider tips on who to follow, read the topics below.

Reliable online marketing courses

Seeking advice from industry experts who have earned their stripes on the front lines? Look no further. There are many phenomenal courses run by practitioners.

For social media marketers looking to gain a better knowledge of a brand’s holistic strategy, check out Hoalin professional master course in brand strategy. Or, if you’re interested in how British and Australian accents sound combined with shrewd wit, check out Mark Ritson’s Mini MBA in brand strategy. If crisis management is the biggest gap in your skill set, LinkedIn has a phenomenal course in crisis communication.

There are many programs where you can learn critical business skills directly from the people who actually use them every day.

Hootsuite training and services

We offer marketing professionals who want to build critical skills specific to social marketing or take the next step in their career training and certification no matter where you are in your career development. Whether you are a star-eyed beginner looking to build a foundation in the basics of social media marketing, or an experienced professional trying to adapt to the demands of a new job, we are at your disposal.

Hootsuite Business and Enterprise users also have access to Hootsuite services, which include hands-on training and 1: 1 training. Not only will you get the best social media management tool, but you’ll also get a partner dedicated to boosting your skills and supporting your development.

Learn more about training and services

Learn how Hootsuite Services can help your team encourage social growth, fast.





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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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