A survey of social media manager job descriptions shows some common desired skills that are aligned with journalism or communication training. It suggests that by incorporating some new skills, a journalism or communication program is poised to prepare students for this new area of job growth.
Strong growth of social media manager jobs
Among others, job postings and Google search volumes are good indicators of the growing demands for social media managers.
At LinkedIn.com, a popular online job portal, a search of “social media manager” usually returns hundreds of job postings.
A Google Trends report (the visualization below) shows that prior to 2009, there were no or negligible searches for “social media manager,” and the volume of searches shows a steady upward trend since 2009.
Common skills and experience desired for social media manager
I searched for “social media manager” jobs at LinkedIn.com and randomly selected 10 such jobs to survey the types of skills and experience desired by employers.
Obviously, the core requirement is that job applicants be well versed in various social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, HooteSuite, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, Google Places, Yelp, Youtube, Vimeo, directory listings (Yahoo, Bing, etc), etc.
What interests me more, however, is the types of conventional and digital communication skills that are expected of a social media manager. The findings suggest that by adding such new skills to the curriculum, a journalism or communication program is in a good position to prepare students for this new area of job growth.
Conventional communication skills:
- Written and verbal communication skills. Mentioned in eight jobs and include writing, proofreading or presentation skills.
- Communication-related degree or experience. Seven jobs desire a degree or background in communication, journalism, PR, advertising, or media studies.
- Graphic design or photography skills. Mentioned in five jobs.
Digital communication skills:
- Web metrics and analytics. Mentioned in eight jobs.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). Mentioned in six jobs.
That said, in another survey, I found that among the 500+ communication and journalism degree programs in U.S., only a selected few require communication students to take digital skills courses. This survey of social media manager jobs is yet another reason to argue that digital skills should be a must-have for all communication students and professionals.
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