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The loading screen of the Facebook application on a mobile phone is seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny May 16, 2012. — Reuters picThe loading screen of the Facebook application on a mobile phone is seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny May 16, 2012. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Have you recently clicked or liked a Facebook post because the title is too catchy?

Have you posted photos on Instagram using hashtags to win a pair of tickets?

Has it ever transpired in your mind to try out the delicious recipes on YouTube?

Well, these and more are the workings of a social media marketer.

Before we go any further, social media sites are online platforms that allow you to search, create and share information of just about anything under the sun.

Now, this new way of consuming and sharing information has made businesses, including private and public organisations, to value social media’s effectiveness in driving traffic to their websites, building good relationships with customers, improving branding, and above all — influencing their purchase decisions.

Social media marketers are one of the many careers created when social media started.

Their objective is to influence the way people search, receive, and share information, using the various avenues available online.

Did you know…

Malaysians spend about 5 hours online every day and most of it is spent on social media?

How to become a social marketer

So you want to become a social media marketer? Well, most of today’s social media marketers come from very diverse education backgrounds such as journalism, marketing, mass communications, graphic design, public relations, political science, law, accountancy, and even engineering.

Since this career is relatively new, there are a few institutions offering courses that specialise in social media marketing. That’s why, you don’t have to wait for university to start your career in social media marketing. Social media marketers are basically practitioners of the art.

For instance, you can start by maintaining a blog that ties up with your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. You can supplement it with reading books and watching tutorials on social media marketing practises (there are millions of them!). With consistent practice and application, you’ll learn and acquire insights that are not necessarily taught in school. 

Makings of a social media marketer

So you want to get paid to be on Facebook and Twitter all day but do you have the personality and skills to become one? It’s not all easy in social media marketing. You will be facing new challenges every time.

With that said, here are some ideas on what qualities you must have if you wish to embark on this kind of career.

1. Sociability

Social media is for meeting new people. Therefore, you must learn how to start and maintain new social media friends. Be on Snapchat or Instagram, you must be comfortable in using the right medium to reach out to the right audience.

2. Curiosity

Aside from being active in popular media platforms, you shouldn’t hesitate to try out new social media sites that can help promote your products and services better.

3. Communication skills

Communication is key to good relationships and that includes online ones as well. As a social media marketer, your job is to build an audience through persuasive and creative language. Practice your speaking skills!

4. Analytic thinking

Social media marketers spend a great amount of time researching how their audience behaves. With this kind of information, you will be more prepared to create campaigns that deliver results.

5. Service oriented

As a marketer, customers now have a direct line to the brands they like and dislike through you. Part of your job is to listen to customers and use feedback to improve products and services.

6. Awareness

If you like hiding in your room for the whole day, then this job is not for you. A social media marketer is aware of current trends and news reports as these are important to make yourself relevant to your target audience.

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