Your creative, analytical and business skills can ensure a successful career in the social media.

Over the last few years, social media has grown by leaps and bounds. It is no more a facet of marketing today. In fact, it is a whole new career stream in itself.

Gartner has predicted the industry to be worth $29 billion 2015. This goes to tell the tremendous potential social media holds today; and if you want to be a part of this huge wave, right now is the best time to start.

Should I opt for PoSocial Media as a career option?

Often we get resumes and cover letters mentioning, “I am very active on Facebook and Twitter, which is why I want to work with you as a social media executive.”

But is that all to social media for a business?

Your criteria to choose social media as a career option shouldn’t be just the fact that these social networking sites appeal to you. Your choice should be influenced by multiple other factors based on the business purposes of social media, rather than the medium used for it.

Here are some pointers you should consider before taking up social media as a career option:

Do you love the web in general?

Internet has changed the way humans communicate. Social media is not just Facebook and Twitter. A global organisation having teams working seamlessly across continents using a social enterprise-grade software powered by the Internet is also social media. The ability to get firsthand information with just a click should amuse you enough to jump into social media.

Branding, Advertising, Market Research, Customer Support and other such business functions interest you.

Social media marketing is a dinosaur term. We are talking about social business now. The ability of a business to address customer complaints through social media is what leads to their branding. Studying vast amounts of social conversations of your brand and getting insights from them to improvise your product/service might be a part of your role. So if these business functions are things that excite you, you should consider exploring social media.

You believe in social organisations?

Yesterday there was Orkut, today we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora, and tomorrow there will be some another platform.

An organization might want to become active on Facebook today, because every brand is on it, but it might find itself difficult to move to another platform because it lacks the core value of being social.

Do you believe in platforms, or do you believe in open and social organisations?

You don’t mind dealing with numbers. Social Media broadcasting and interactions are only one side of the coin. The other is to measure their impact. From the outside, the job looks like it requires the left brain to function more. But creativity is not the only requirement.

Data analytics is something that you will have to get comfortable with. Who is reading the content that your brand is sharing? How many people are reading it? How much time are they spending on interacting with your brand? Is social media helping you get more sales?

These are the questions that you will have to answer after studying the data available through analytics tools.

More than a hobby

So as you can see, a career in social media requires a lot more than just a simple hobby of updating your status every day and tweeting. You might like being on the social networking sites whole day; but if you want to build a career out of it, you need lot many skills in your armoury.

And the above pointers can be your checklist to gauge if social media is, in fact, the career option for you or not.

Ankita Gaba is a social media strategist and consultant, co-founder of Socialsamosa.com.