Lori is a professional writer who has been working freelance for over five years for a variety of websites and web-based businesses. She contributes to the Yahoo! family of sites, numerous entertainment blogs, video game communities, and more. She is also a social media consultant, editor, and blogger.
If you’re currently pursuing a degree program in writing, or even toying with the idea of working as a writer after college, there is one skill-set I highly recommend adding to your resume as soon as possible: Social Media Management. While most of us have experience with personal social media accounts, building upon that foundation to gain valuable marketing and advertising tools is essential; experience specific to a vast array of social media platforms is also invaluable to fledgling writers. If your career goals include self-publishing, working freelance, or taking on contract positions, this skill-set is even more important for your post-graduation professional life.
While keeping in touch with friends via Facebook or following celebrities on Twitter might have been your reason for making personal social media accounts in the past, it’s important to remember that having professional profiles with business-appropriate content is critical when marketing your own work. Often, a LinkedIn profile, professional blog, or even a Facebook Page can be the first source of online information potential employers or contract managers find using a search engine – and most recruiters readily admit always doing a search for potential new hires – so these pages become your online “calling card” for readers. Having a clean, crisp, and professional social media presence can help you promote your work and reach new audiences, and network with other writers and industry experts.
Though it may seem like a simple task to build, promote, and maintain career social media profile, there’s a reason why more and more marketing students are taking classes to learn those exact skills. As a writer, having an understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques can not only improve the performance of your online content, but also make you more desirable to recruiters who need to fill positions requiring an online presence. Learning the ins and outs of publishing platforms like WordPress can also be a huge boon for your resume, as many freelance positions require (or are enhanced by) familiarity with those platforms. If you have interest in blogging professionally, either as an independent author or as the online presence for brands and companies, then gaining experience in these publishing platforms and writing techniques while still in school can give you a huge advantage over other job seekers.
If your goal is to work as a self-published author, you can gain a tremendous advantage over other new writers by understanding ways to promote your work, cultivate interaction with your fans, and find new audiences of potential readers. Since you will likely be responsible for all of your own marketing and networking, having a basic understanding of social media networking and business profiles can save you time after you’ve published your work; it can also save you the cost of hiring a consultant to do these tasks for you. In fact, it can be a fun, highly interactive way to get feedback from your readers, and it provides them with a direct, personal way to interact with you as well.
All in all, there is a lot more to using social media as a business tool and professional skill than meets the eye. More and more college degree programs are incorporating this specific marketing/advertising sub-set in lists of recommended courses, and many experienced bloggers and self-published authors speak on this very topic year after year in “How-to” seminars and classes. Fortunately, countless tutorials, guides, and even instructional videos are available for free online to help you master the more advanced social media networking techniques. If you want additional instruction and practice but don’t have room for marketing classes in your degree program, there are a variety of non-accredited but highly informative certification courses, classes, and training videos available online and in many cities. Whether or not you decide to work as a writer post-graduation, having the ability to market yourself as an industry professional effectively online can be a fantastic tool you can use again and again.