Category: Social Media


I recently spoke to group of York University Communications students when they visited TVO for a tour. It was a really cool experience because not too long ago, I was in their shoes – wide-eyed, eager, but also very unsure and worried about the future.

I remember it like it was yesterday: “Am I going to be working in retail for the rest of my life? What am I going do with an English and History degree?” For those asking themselves the same questions, I say follow your gut and stick to what you ultimately feel passionate about. This is so cliché, but I’m a firm believer that if you work your butt off and are persistent, things will eventually work out.

I never would have thought I’d end up in a career in digital marketing, but my Arts degree and university experience instilled a relentless work ethic and developed critical thinking and writing skills that have been invaluable in the workplace. In fact, I continue to take part-time continuing education courses at U of T to expand my skill-set. Learning new skills keeps me motivated and excited about future opportunities and should never stop at any age.

The best thing about being an Arts grad is that there are endless possibilities in terms of career paths. Mind you, that path will not be instantly clear and you WILL face adversity and are sure to experience a healthy amount of failure along the way. While the rejection will undoubtedly hurt, learn from your failures and use them as motivation to prove the naysayers wrong. There will always be people who don’t believe in you, but it’s important to never settle and never to give up on your dreams.

My other piece of advice is to network, network, network! I would’ve tried to do so much more of it during my undergrad years if I knew what I know now. Step outside your comfort zone and develop relationships with your classmates and instructors – they can provide valuable career advice and you never know how your paths may cross in the future. School is NOT ALL about your grades!

So study hard, network and don’t worry – you’ll find success sooner or later if you seek it hard enough.

Aside from the “Are you married yet?” question, this has to be the second most frequent question/comment I hear over and over again from family and friends. Can’t blame them really, since social media jobs are a fairly new phenomenon and especially hard for older generations to grasp.

However, my gig as social media specialist has taught me that not only is social media here to stay, it’s growing at an astounding rate and has really become a must for companies, large and small. If your business or company is not on social, you may as well be living under a rock. Simply put, if you want to be relevant these days, you have to be active on social media.

But enough of that, let’s focus on what I actually do and why “tweeting for a living” can be challenging and really fun. First and foremost- just like your job – I do have KPIs (goals) that I have to hit. Oh, and did I mention that my targets are also part of the CEO’s performance agreement? Aside from the pressure, I think many people misjudge just how much work it takes to manage multiple communities. Do you like coming in at 9 and leaving your work responsibilities behind at 5? From unexpected updates to crises management and answering customer service questions at all times of the day, social media is a 24/7, 365 day a year type of gig and you’d better get used to it.

Having said that, being a community manager can also be very rewarding and a lot of fun. There’s something really gratifying about seeing your content being shared and engaged with by thousands of people, and after a while, these tight-knit communities really do start to grow on you and you begin to feel as though you are engaging with friends.

But it’s only tweeting, right? It’s true, there are only 140 characters in a tweet, but how and what you say has a huge impact on your engagement numbers. Trying to get your message across AND making it sound interesting in 140 characters (or often less when you include links) isn’t as easy as you think. Did I mention those targets? Well, as a social media specialist, not only are you expected to hit your numbers, but making sense of them helps too. Social analytics skills are a must, because at some point, your boss is going to ask: “Hey, what sort of impact are we making on social?”. Your word might be valued, but often times, you need some solid numbers to back that up and that’s where social media analytics come in to play. Better brush up on our Facebook Insights and Google Analytics, because if you’re not constantly analyzing, comparing and evaluating your posts, then really, what’s the point?

The thing I love most about social media jobs is that you can incorporate so many creative elements into your work, including: marketing, advertising, creative writing, crisis management, video capturing/editing, photography, blogging and more. You really are forced to become a jack-of-all-trades of sort and as a creative, you can’t really ask for much more than that.


Copyright © 2016 Alex Vainberg.