Social media careers: Education and experience are a winning combination - SmartBrief

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Social media careers: Education and experience are a winning combination

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SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: A number of business schools are adding courses on social-media marketing. How important a role does education play when hiring someone to manage your company’s social-media engagement?

  • A combination of education and experience is ideal. 55.42%
  • Education is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. 22.89%
  • I would consider only candidates who had real-world experience. 19.28%
  • Education is the most important factor. 2.41%

I guess the answer to this question was obvious, education combined with real-world experience trumps any other combination. (Of course, isn’t that the case with any type of job?)

Like many of you, my social media “education” was learned via on-the-job training, often combined with additional “homework” in trial-and-error. While I’m excited to see colleges and universities include coursework (or even degree programs) on social media, I believe there are aspects of this discipline that do not lend themselves well to a classroom setting.

For example, because social media is ever evolving, textbooks will be outdated almost the moment they are printed. Instructors will have to be committed to staying on top of industry trends, virtually in real-time. (Of course, the underlying tenets and principles would remain the same.)

The aspect that most excites me about this is that it provides evidence that social media has, indeed, become a career path. More and more, companies are adding social media managers as part of their marketing/pr communications teams. Job boards are replete with listings of positions that contain the term “social media.” Even President Obama is looking to hire someone.

Let me leave you with a couple of questions: Do you see a need for social media to be taught in the classroom? If so, what types of courses should be included?

Paul Chaney is the Internet marketing director for Bizzuka, author of “The Digital Handshake” and a member of the SmartBrief on Social Media Advisory Board.