Marketing Week found that digital roles are the fastest growing in the industry with demand for social media jobs and skills increasing, alongside a trend for brands to continue their focus on digital marketing channels such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and more. This trend continues to accelerate, meaning growth of jobs within this area.
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Explore the sector
Working in social media usually involves a combination of managing an online community and building a company reputation through growing a following, blogging,and moderating and participating in forums. Being involved in analytics, insights, SEO and PPC and/or content management and copy writing are often part of the roles.
It also involves creating social campaigns and strategies to meet organisational goals.
Who could I work for and in what roles?
All organisations now have an online presence. In large organisations this could be a distinct role whereas in other organisations it could be combined with other marketing and communications activities. Roles may sit within a specific digital marketing agency, such as locally in Nottingham, Hallam or Impression or within the marketing teams at large organisations such as government and higher education.
Often social media roles and activities are found within marketing, advertising and PR.
In small organisations, roles can be part of a wider digital marketing role that also includes some analytics, research and maybe even design, so understanding and learning something about other digital roles and skills is a good idea.
Social media is a 24/7 world and while this means that work is flexible and can be done anywhere, you may find that at times you could be online outside of regular office hours.
Typical entry-level salaries start from around £18,000 but go up to £40,000 plus in a more senior management role.
Typical job titles
How do I find a job?
Doing a professional course is not a pre-requisite for entry to these jobs, and relevant experience is often more important. However, if you wish to consider a course, the following options could be relevant.
These websites may be useful when looking for a job in this sector
Creative Access have jobs and internships in all types of creative industries including digital. Many, although not all of the jobs/internships advertised are aimed at under-represented groups.
Networking can be a great way to access hidden opportunities.
- Set up a professional profile on LinkedIn and Twitter and follow companies and campaigns that interest you
- Come along to one of our events to meet employers. Every year we run a Spotlight On Marketing where you can meet a panel of industry professionals and ask them questions
How do I find work experience?
Internships and work experience
Digital agencies can be found in most large towns and cities across the UK and are usually open to being approached for internships and work experience.
Enquiring about experience will work best if you can show that you developed some relevant skills, and have passion and curiosity about brands, culture and the digital world, along with a willingness to learn.
Research local digital agencies
If there is a role that interests you, make contact with the person working in that role, maybe you could use LinkedIn and connect with them and see if they are willing to answer your questions and maybe even have a chat. You never know, a conversation like this could lead to the offer of work experience or mentoring.
Once you have taught yourself some basic skills, get in touch with local voluntary organisations and charities such as Skillsbank, who could do with help in creating web content, communicating with service users and some simple online marketing strategies.
Please be aware that study abroad, compulsory year abroad, optional placements/internships and integrated year in industry opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities or placement/industry hosts, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university's control. Every effort will be made to update this information as quickly as possible should a change occur.
What skills will employers look for and how do I develop them?
While good writing skills seem the most obvious ones to possess, they need to be part of a broader skill set. For example, writing meaningful and impactful tweets in 280 characters takes some practice.
You will need to be familiar with some social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Wordpress, Pinterest, TikTok, Tumblr and Trello, together with Hootsuite to manage those platforms. There are often free on-line courses or YouTube tutorials to help you get started.
It will also impress employers if you have taken time to understand and perhaps apply some of the following to your own social media output: Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics.
Even having a bit of basic coding (HTML/CSS) in your armoury will help, as will knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite.
The Institute of Digital Marketing IDM have a DMA Talent website looking to attract people to the sector through mentoring, workshops and training opportunities.
There are many courses and even short ‘internships’ available online. Look at our online work experience pages.
Once you have mastered the functions of social media platforms, try putting your skills into practice. Write your own blog and grow a Twitter or Instagram following. Offer your social media skills to a student society or a voluntary organisation to run a campaign.
Once you have done this, you will have some impressive evidence to demonstrate to employers that you have the potential to work in social media on a professional basis.
Get involved at Nottingham – enhance your job prospects
The Nottingham Internship Scheme is a great way to gain experience with a local employer that can fit around your studies. If you are a masters or PhD student, a postgraduate placement might be useful.
We run a Digital Marketing Academy in the autumn term, to help you gain the skills and experience needed to get that vital 'foot in the door'.
The University's Digital Humanities Centre provides training, experience and networking opportunities for humanities students interested in digital media in the arts. You can choose an area of interest, one of which may include PR, marketing and social media.
Unitemps advertise paid temporary roles, many of which are roles within the University and some may allow you to become familiar with social media or web content management systems.
Consider applying to be mentored by an industry professional and Nottingham alumni by applying to the Career Mentoring scheme.
How do I develop a digital portfolio?
- Being able to demonstrate examples of writing for the web is essential for job application and will show genuine interest if you’re applying for work experience. Consider writing articles for publications which have an online presence such as IMPACT or Leftlion, or write a blog.
- You can also enhance your digital portfolio by building a digital profile. Having a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media allows you to follow organisations you would like to work for, keep up to date with industry news and find out about local networking events.
- You can also keep up with current trends by reading industry blogs and journals such as Creative Review, and The Drum.