5 Ways to Get More Experience in Social Media

People ask me all the time how they can get experience working in social media, and while there are a variety of answers, I thought I’d offer up five ways that I would suggest gaining such experience.

Social Media Channels1. Set up your own accounts.

While I hope that this would be a given, I’m surprised at how many students want to work in social media, but don’t even have a personal Twitter account. Therefore, one of the best ways you can increase your knowledge of social media channels is to leverage them for yourself. Not only will you learn how to use each channel, and discover the unique features of each, but you can then position your own channels to market yourself for jobs. And coming from someone who has hired and recruited social media interns and community managers, having an impressive and professional online presence is very important. I’m not keen to hire you if I can’t even find you online.

2. Offer to manage accounts for a small business or student org.

This is actually how I started getting experience in social media. Find a family member or friend who has a small business, and volunteer to manage their social media presence. Don’t expect to be paid, just do your best to practice developing a strategy, maintaining their accounts, and measuring results. If you can’t find an opportunity, try to create one. Get involved with a student organization on campus, or perhaps an office on campus, that is struggling with their social media, and offer your help. Once you do this, make sure to showcase your experience on LinkedIn and get a recommendation from whoever you worked with.

3. Look for a social media internship.

With social media becoming more and more influential in the business world, thousands of companies are jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, and seeking help with their social media. Larger companies are most often already in the game, and looking for seasoned social media professionals, but small businesses just need some help. Although many of these smaller internships are unpaid, there are many where you can work remotely, and require minimal hours per week. Look for one of these and apply! Here are some resources to look for internships:

4. Take advantage of unique opportunities.

HootCampusBesides a traditional internship, there are other unique opportunities that are popping up all over the web. One such opportunity is the HootSuite Campus Ambassador program. Once accepted in this program, you assume a role on your campus in which you help promote the many uses and functions of HootSuite and social media. Not only do you gain invaluable experience, but you also get to add a well-known and reputable company to your network and resume. Read more about my involvement with this program here: A Hoot-Tastic Opportunity.

5. Follow SocialMediaForStudents.com.

Ok, so this might seem like an obvious plug, but I’ve worked hard to include many helpful resources, tips, and interviews on this site to help students of social media learn how to develop their knowledge and skills. For example, make sure you check out the Social Media Marketing 101 page for ideas on how to navigate all of the information about social media, as well as the Important Links page for blogs and sites to follow. To make sure you stay on track, subscribe to SMFS by email through the field in the sidebar!

Do you have questions? Other tips to share? Please add them in the comments!

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“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” – Ben Heyman’s Online Persona

Meet Ben Heyman, a student at Boston University who knows the influence social media can have on your online persona, as well as your job search. Hear what he has to say:

Why is having an online presence important to you?

In today’s competitive landscape, you need more than just a resume to stand out. While applying to jobs is still very much a thing, it has changed. Recruiters look for you. They look for your online presence to get a better feel for who you are and what you stand for. I maintain an online presence to help recruiters get a better sense of who I am, to establish my credibility and to network with people who have similar interests as myself.

Ben's Website

Ben’s Website

What types of things have you done to showcase yourself online?

I blog and promote those pieces on various social media channels, maintain an up-to-date portfolio, constantly share articles I find interesting and relevant, and participate in Twitter chats. I am constantly finding stories on LinkedIn and Google+ and adding my comments where I can.

How has your online presence helped you network?

Twitter chats have been amazing. I have had so many people reach out to me who are willing to help me connect and find a job. I landed an interview with a company recently because I participated in their Twitter chat. It is also a good opportunity to share my blog, connect with people on LinkedIn, etc. I cannot say enough about how my online presence has helped me network. Keeping a consistent voice and message through all of my social media channels has definitely helped me create a strong personal brand.

Ben's Vizify

Ben’s Vizify Profile

How is your online presence helping you in your job search?

I have grown my Twitter following tremendously. I have had many people reach out to me after taking notice willing to assist me in the job search however they can. The networking opportunities that have arisen because of my online presence are numerous. I feel as if the time I spend maintaining my online presence will pay off in the long run.

Ben HeymanBen Heyman @heyheyman

Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Ben Heyman is a senior at Boston University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations in May 2013. He is passionate about technology, social and new media and public relations. He is fascinated by the idea of using technology and social media to enhance our lives. Ben is actively looking for full time employment to begin his professional career. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter!