What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field?
I am the social media manager for The Denver Post in Denver, Colorado. I have been in this position for three years. I previously served as an account executive for a newspaper in central Florida.
How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
I help my company use social media to deliver the news, build a community around our content, and sell access to our followers to companies who want to advertise their products or services. Our social media division generates revenue for the company that keeps our flagging print division in business.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?
I would rate my job a 7. I enjoy the challenge of sales, but my portfolio of clients is very large and my days are primarily occupied by meeting with clients about their accounts. I have very little time to focus on making our services better because I am constantly selling.
If this job moves your heart, how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?
I really like the challenge of social media. I am a respected expert in my field and my company appreciates my contributions to our bottom line. I like that sense of accomplishment and purpose, especially because my success helps one of the country's oldest newspapers put out an issue every day. They couldn't stay in business on subscriptions alone -- the advertising revenue that I create is what keeps the daily news landing on doorsteps around Denver!
Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
The best way to get experience in social media is to just help someone for free. I put together a portfolio while I was in college by asking local businesses to let me set up their social media presence. I was working for free but in exchange I got a stellar portfolio of work to show off to future employers.
What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this hard-learned lesson?
Social media has evolved in some pretty unpredictable ways during the last five years. I did not predict Twitter would become the advertising platform that it is today, and as a result I missed the boat on those opportunities for a few years. I made up for it by trying to master the Twitter platform and effectively leverage it for revenue growth at the company. It is really transforming the way people interact with the news.
What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?
No one in life will give you something for free. I had a lot of entitlement as a younger worker and my hardship finding a job completely broke me of that. I expect to earn every inch of my accomplishments from here on out.
What's the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
One of my tweets got re-tweeted (shared with Twitter followers) by John Stamos. He replied, "Sure thing, beautiful" -- the next day I had 1,200 follower requests from random people!
Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?
I'm really good at what I do, and I keep going to work because I know I can still improve. When I feel like there is no more room for growth, I'll probably hand in my resignation.
How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?
My job isn't stressful -- I love working with social media and I enjoy the interactions with our advertising customers. I make time for myself because my mental energy is crucial to my professional success, and I try to replenish it before I feel completely drained.
What's a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?
I make $36,000 after two years of experience. I expect to take my skills and go somewhere with higher pay within the next 2-3 years. It's important to consider cost of living, too: I would not enjoy this salary in New York City, but it is livable in Denver where things are more affordable.
How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I get three weeks of paid vacation per year, which is more than enough for me at this point in my life. I also get to work from home often because managing a social media account doesn't require time in the office. Most of the days when I can do my job at home in my pajamas feel like vacation days!
What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
My bachelor's degree was essential to getting this job, but it is more important that social media managers have real experience setting up Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn platforms for a real business.
What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
Social media is not as easy as it seems, and it is quite different from just setting up a Twitter or Facebook account. Successful social media managers are experts at using these tools to create revenue, which is what separates the amateur users from the professionals. Carefully consider whether you have the attention to detail, perseverance, and determination to make a living in social media. It is changing every month and requires a large investment of time in staying on top of the new trends.
If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
I would like to be a business consultant. Most of my job is about helping a company do one small operation better, but I want to help companies really overhaul their operations. It would also have better pay, even if the hours were more demanding than in my current job.
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