Does Tweeting for a living sound like your ideal job? Social media is a huge industry and it’s popular too, so you’ll need to work hard, get lots of experience and make sure you stay on top of the ever-changing trends.
Rory Mason, a social media manager, reveals more about what’s involved and gives some top advice on how to get started in this career…
Name: Rory Mason
Company: Search Laboratory
Industry: digital marketing
What is your job: social media manager
How long have you worked here: eight months
University: currently studying an Open University degree
Degree subject: business studies
A-levels: geography, business studies, theatre studies
What was your first job?
I was a runner for an ITV series featuring David Jason called Ghostboat.
What did you want to do when you were at school?
I wanted to work as a director in TV and film, so I took a gap year to see if I could do it without a degree and it really worked for me. I ended up working solidly for the next four years.
What made you want to do your current job?
I’ve always loved social media – I was one of the first people to sign up for a Facebook account and was addicted to MySpace (if anyone remembers that one). It constantly adapts and changes which is great for keeping you on your toes.
How did you get there?
I went to work as marketing manager of a music venue in Leamington Spa called the Leamington Assembly, where I essentially helped set up the business from scratch, which included building the social media channels.
From here I set up my own events company in Leeds and once again found the social media side of things very exciting. When my company venture turned out to be less successful than I’d hoped, I closed the company and applied for jobs at a social media PR agency.
I rose through the ranks, specialising in social media and search engine optimisation (SEO). I moved to Search Laboratory to further my SEO knowledge and help run the company’s social media department. It’s been a fascinating journey as we’re always looking for new ways to help social media enhance the SEO work we’re doing and run brands’ social channels.
What is a typical day at work like?
My day is never the same, which is brilliant. I have to liaise with clients, help review content we’re pushing out across different brands’ social channels, read the latest trends in social media, set the overall strategy of a campaign to ensure it’s meeting the client’s needs and improve my knowledge base.
I also have to ensure that I train and upskill everyone in the department and make sure everyone in my team not only knows what they’re doing but are happy and motivated to deliver the best results possible to the clients.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The variety of the work is the most fascinating thing. I may be working with beauty products in the morning, move onto holiday packages by lunch, before finishing the day working on launching a new phone - there is no real telling how my week will work out.
The second thing is the place where I work. There are many types of agency, but when you find the one that is right for you, with likeminded people who all work and socialise together, it makes a real difference to your quality of work.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
The hardest thing is how often social media and SEO change. They are constantly evolving and what may be true one day may be false the next, so you have to ensure you’re up to date at all times.
At the same time, that really helps you not to rest on your laurels and challenge yourself every day.
What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
Read, read, read and then read some more. There are literally thousands of blog posts, articles and white papers on social and the majority of my knowledge has come from spending hours reading these.
However nothing has prepared me more than actually putting it all into action and experimenting running my own social campaigns.
Try setting up your own channels to promote a blog, hobby or if any family or friends have their own company, you could offer to run a social account for them.
Then use what you read and experiment with different techniques because there is no set template to make social work and new ideas have the potential to change and revolutionise social media best practice.
What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
Everything I know now. Like everyone, I’ve made mistakes but I’ve managed to grow with each one of them. You only learn by living.
For any dyslexic people out there…you can be a huge success. Sure, there will be things that make you feel like an idiot, but there is something brilliant in every dyslexic person I’ve ever met. If you can unleash the things you’re good at there is nothing to stop you from achieving your goals.
Where would you like to be in five years?
Honestly, where I am now. I’ve worked very hard to get to this position and I’d like to make the most of it. I’d like to have some great success stories under my belt and to make my department huge, but job-wise I’m very happy where I am.
If you share Rory's love of social media and want to follow in his footsteps, find out about the exciting world of managing social media and how you can turn it into your career.