TMM Featured Career: Social Media Specialist

How many of you have already Tweeted and/or checked Facebook today? I know I have! Between Facebook, Twitter, Blogging – and now the Dailymile, which I just joined this weekend (friend me) – I spend a huge chunk of my free time on social media sites and I love every minute of it! 😀

Well, for today’s featured career let me introduce Jess from Run Girl Run who works with social media for a living. How cool is that!?!



1. What exactly is your job and job title?

My official job title is Consumer Information Specialist, which doesn’t say much about what I actually do. I tell people that my job is actually Social Media Specialist. Basically what I do is develop and manage social media strategies for my organization and then maintain and update whatever channels we use (could be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). The main purpose of my job is to fill a marketing/public relations role. It’s creating ways to raise awareness about the services we offer and then executing the strategies and determining our return on investment.

2. Working with social media seems pretty fun, is it?

Yes it’s so much fun, but it’s also work. A lot of my friends think I just play on Facebook all day long, but what I do isn’t really playing. I do a lot of community building on the various social sites. I post content that I hope will spark discussion and interaction with our followers. It’s really fun seeing what information people rallying around and share their opinion about.

3. Most people use social media as a hobby (or an obsession) but it’s a major part of your job! Does that make it less fun for you to use on your own time?

Surprisingly, no. I come home from work and update my own social profiles all the time. When Facebook first came out when I was in college, my friends used to jokingly call me a “Facebook stalker” because I was on Facebook constantly, looking at pictures, seeing what my friends were up to, etc. I have found it really important to keep a clear divide between my personal social channels and my work social channels. Because where I work doesn’t deal with crisis communication, it’s easy for me to unplug when I get home, so I rarely update my work profiles on the weekends.

(P.S. If you’re interested, feel free to follow me on Twitter @run_girl_run or connect with me on LinkedIn: )

4. What is your favourite part about your job? Least favourite?

My favorite part of the job other than “playing” on social media sites all day is my schedule. My office offers an alternate work plan, so I work longer hours most days and then have every other Monday off. I also have the ability to telework once a week. My least favorite part about my job is the commute. I take the Metro to work and sometimes it can be really fickle. On a good day, it only takes me about 35 minutes or so to into the office. On a bad day it can take me an hour and a half.

5. What’s a typical day in your work life like?

In a very general sense, a typical day starts with monitoring any chatter about our organization that happened overnight and when necessary responding or supplying additional information. Then I usually try to see what new information we have available and how I could best share that. Some information is better suited for our Facebook page, other information lends itself more to a blog post.

I’m constantly trying to work on new ways to reach a larger audience so I do a lot of research on the newest tools and the newest ways of thinking about using social media. I also work as a consultant for other people in my organization who want to branch into social media. Right now I’m helping some coworkers develop a strategy to market one of their products and I’m also managing a YouTube video contest with a prize of $2,500 for the winner.
6. Lot’s of people are trying to get into working with social media these days. Any advice for them?

My biggest piece of advice is to put together a plan and present it to your supervisor. Show them how social media will benefit them. Maybe it’s something they haven’t considered or maybe they just aren’t sure where to start. By taking that little bit of initiative, you might be able to convince your boss it’s worth a try.

Tell them you’ll run it as a pilot program, something that can be canceled if it doesn’t work. And make sure they know you won’t neglect your other duties to work on social media. The more low risk you make it for them, the better chance they’ll agree to let you give it a shot.

If you have more specific questions or need some other social media advice, I’d be happy to do my best to help. Shoot me an e-mail anytime:

Thanks again, Jess!

I for one found her answers fascinating! Isn’t it crazy how our world has changed so quickly, five or ten years ago jobs like Jess’ literally did not exist. The other day my friend said to me, “Amber, did you see the link I shared on your wall?” and someone else said, “You know, a few years ago that sentence would have made absolutely no sense!” Hahaha, so true!

Anyone else out there have a job in social media? If the opportunity arose is it something you’d be interested in (I know I would be!)?

22 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    I would definitely be interested in doing something like this for a job and it was so cool to read about Jess’s experience doing it. I’m surprised that she still likes to do social media at home though- I think if it became work for me I wouldn’t do it as much at home. I don’t think there is any chance my employer will benefit from social media haha, so I guess I’ll just stick to teaching 🙂

  2. Her job sounds like so much fun! I interned at a place that let me research into social media- it’s crazy (like you said) about how much we’ve come to depend on in in the last 5-10 years when we didn’t even have it before then!

  3. Jess says:

    Thanks for featuring me Amber!

    @Kelly, not sure what grade you teach, but a friend of mine uses Twitter to remind his students about homework assignments and papers they have due. He teaches high school English.

  4. well that’s just one job I wouldn’t want to have! Though i would say it’s fascinating, and i do think social media is very successful and i think it’s helped a lot of businesses, but so not my style. and i totally perked up when i saw that Jess is from the DC area! and a runner! going to check her blog now!

  5. Becky says:

    I would love to do something like this – and she said she takes the metro to work – is she a fellow D.C.’er? 🙂

  6. Great interview!!! I think anyone who blogs/is on twitter would Love a job in Social Media – we already know the ropes! 😉

  7. I don’t think I know anyone with a job in social media …

    Sounds very interesting though!!

  8. Emily Jane says:

    What an interesting job, and you’re right how it’s changing the world, new jobs and new vocabulary that wouldn’t have existed a few years ago.

  9. This was a really fabulous article for someone trying to become a social media specialist! I just took over all the social media at my internship and I am actually having a problem separating work from personal because I love my job and I check our facebook page constantly! I need to work on that… 🙂

  10. Anais says:

    That was a very informative post! Definitely sounds like something I’d be interested in doing 🙂

  11. Very cool – social media is definitely a powerful tool for companies to tap into these days! Sounds like an interesting career & I love the flexibility she has.

  12. Stephany says:

    OK. I think I’ve found my calling. 😉

    For my internship, I maintain our Twitter and Facebook accounts but they don’t do much but update with a new show that’s coming once or twice a week. I actually have started formulating a plan to make it more interactive and to even incorporate a blog into this company but haven’t yet shared my ideas. It’s all in my head right now. But when this internship is over (in about 6 weeks), I want to sit down with my supervisor and talk to her about my future (if there is one, which I hope there is!).

    Her job sounds like so much fun! Very intense but also a lot of fun.

  13. Samantha says:

    What a cool post and a very awesome job! Jealous!!

  14. BostonRunner says:

    You can tell Jess must really love her job if she continues to go on social media even when she gets home, that’s awesome! Great post! I learned a lot!

  15. Sarah says:

    Sounds interesting, but it’s not something that I feel I could do. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I don’t get social media. I feel like my technophobe aunt who can’t even turn the computer on when I say that, but it’s the truth. Maybe when I’ve figured it out (eventually!) I might be more interested.

    I think it’s great that Jess gets to work in social media, as it’s clear from the fact that uses it at home that she enjoys it.

  16. Nikki says:

    Ok first of all… I just added you on daily mile! 🙂

    Now…isn’t it funny how much our vocabulary has changed thanks to social media? “Wall” and “tweet” have totally different meanings now! And what a cool job! Great interview!

  17. Carissa says:

    it is amazing how much things have changed in terms of the internet and social media. I was just telling my boyfriend this morning how facebook was a new thing when I started college, I didn’t even know about it or care to be on it at first! and it was still just for colleges. so yes, things change very quickly. and companies are jumping on the bandwagon! the paper I work for is gearing up to start twittering soon. (my company has five papers, but just my paper is looking at twitter. our paper is headed and written by a younger group of people though…) for us, we look at twitter as another way of expanding our online presence, getting in touch with our readership and breaking new stories– which is especially important since we only come out once a week!

  18. Very cool! Love Jess! social media is a powerful marketing tool. i just use it for fun though.

  19. shoshanah says:

    I think working in social media sounds really interesting. The only thing I’d be afraid of would be keeping my personal and job social media identity completely separate. I think it would be especially hard for me, with how uncommon my name is.

  20. deniz says:

    that is my “job tittle”

  21. CAM says:

    I am a recent graduate who works in my University’s PR office as a PR Intern. I am what you would call a social media specialist. I think it’s funny that I get PAID to blog, Tweet, and be on Facebook. When I first heard it, I was like, “What? Really?” Like, they can’t actually be paying me to do this…but after reading up on it and seeing the jobs that are available, (the job I just applied for pays 40K plus benefits) I am totally looking at this with a more serious and professional eye.
    The only drawback is that I am always feeling like I’m not doing enough, or that in some way my job doesn’t require as much skill as the others in my department, so I BLOG BLOG BLOG all day to seem relevant. But it seems everyone else thinks my job is really important, and I’m starting to get that. My superiors have even created a position and are trying to get it approved for full-time. I guess it all depends on how seriously you take it and how much you can expand their online presence.