Last month, my column focused on how college graduates can use social media to connect with employers and improve their chances of landing a good job. For those who want to pursue careers in social media management itself, it’s worth hearing what seasoned pros have to say about the career. With that in mind, I recently spoke with five professionals to hear their perspectives. Here are the common themes that emerged, in their own words.

Connect with other professionals

Danielle Doepke (DD), Sweetwater: “Networking is so important. If you follow someone who inspires you, let them know! Slide into their DMs, comment on their posts, interact with their stories and be genuine – online friends can turn into real life friends and they’ll in turn interact with your content, too.”

Brett Gauger (BG), Elevatus Architecture: “Build connections with others in marketing and public relations. If there is someone in social that you aspire to be like, seek out opportunities for mentorship. There are many that I grew into this field with, and I’m proud that we’ve had the opportunity to work together. Every interaction you make can make a difference.”

Stay current

DD: “Follow trends and be flexible enough to adapt and modify your schedule if something culturally-relevant pops up.”

John Felts (JF), City of Fort Wayne: “Social media is ever-changing. A strategy that worked in 2016 may not work in 2021. I’ve learned to adapt to best practices and never stop learning.”

BG: “Understand that you’ll want to be well aware of trends, important news, and other developments that could impact your work in social.”

Aaron Robles (AR), Hyprnova: “It’s important that you’re open to new ways of sharing information. Sometimes the success of your message will depend less on the content and more on delivering in a way that connects. What works today may not work in 5 years, so we must always be conscious of staying current with how the world is listening.”

Focus on building community

JF: “Building an online community is incredibly important. People are following your channels for a reason. Give them a sense of belonging. Provide them valuable and useful information that can have a positive impact in their daily lives.”

Amber Owens, Indiana Tech: “Focus on building a community first. Strong engagement from the people who already follow you is a better indicator of success than trying to gain traction with strangers, and will give you better insight into what your audience actually wants or needs.”

AR: “Create content that is authentic with the intention to connect with the right people rather than the most. The message you put out should speak clearly to the audience that is best suited for your clients. a million likes or follows don’t make the difference if they’re not the right customer.”

Strive for quality and consistency

DD: “There’s pressure on content creators to be constantly creating, publishing, and interacting with people online. But as a consumer of social content, I would personally rather see quality, intention-based posts rather than posts that lack thought and are being shared to meet a daily quota.”

JF: “Clean, concise and consistent posts — In other words, quality over quantity. Make your posts easy to read, short and simple, and stay relevant.”

It can be fun, but it’s hard work

DD: “We can get wrapped up in the scheduling and data tracking so much that we can lose sight of the little wins and the fun aspects of our job. You have to find balance and not get caught up in the comparison game.”

AO: “As long as you work in social, you’ll never get to ‘turn off.’ Even when you aren’t actively posting or monitoring your accounts, you still have to be tuned in to what’s happening and trending online. Understanding the social landscape at any given moment is imperative to being able to do your job and do it well, even if you’re just browsing or participating on a platform for personal enjoyment. The constant consumption can be exhausting, so it’s important to find other outlets to rest and recharge outside of the social media landscape.”

ANTHONY JULIANO is a marketing and social media strategist, teacher, trainer and writer. He is vice president of marketing and social media strategy at Asher Agency in Fort Wayne, and he teaches social media and marketing classes at Indiana Tech and Purdue University Fort Wayne. Connect with him at LinkedIn.com/in/anthonyjuliano or via email at anthonyj@asheragency.com.

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