More than a meme: Social media savvy students are set for great careers

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By Jalynn Vinson:

College students often face criticism for excessive use of social media, but social media represents much more than a good way to share your favorite memes or pass the time in between classes. Social media has become a critical part of the marketing operations of every company. An in depth understanding of and experience with social media can lead the way to a lucrative career.

Sadie Newsome, Amarillo College’s digital communications coordinator, runs all the campus’ social media accounts. Her role reaches beyond posting a tweet or sending out an update on Facebook. She sets her sights on making sure the followers on each of the college’s social media apps are satisfied with the content and will continue to come back. “I take the time to edit the videos being posted to these accounts. I scan through each account to list out improvements that may need to be made to keep the public happy,” said Newsome. “I spend most of my time working toward demographic targeting to make sure certain groups inside our viewers/readers see the posts that pertain to their interests.”

AC graduate Wendi Swope, relies heavily on social media in her career. Swope, who founded an Amarillo agency called Double U Marketing, uses social media to promote her clients. She draws heavily on her background in television news since she worked as an editor, producer, reporter and anchor before transitioning into marketing and public relations. “The media changes every day, which is a very exciting atmosphere for some people. No day is the same,” Swope said. In response to the increased importance of social media in marketing, public relations and other careers, Amarillo College has added classes in social media tools and digital marketing as well as a new certificate in online marketing.

“The online marketing certificate can be finished in just two semesters and all of the classes can be taken online,” said Jill Gibson, Matney Mass Media Program coordinator. The social media and digital marketing classes teach students to leverage social media skills to market products and share information using online outlets. They cover how to use social media platforms, blogging, search engine optimization and other aspects related to web-based promotions and communication. The classes are an ideal option for professionals seeking to update their knowledge of new media as well as for students considering social media careers, according to Gibson. She pointed out that understanding social media represents a key part of communication.

Swope advised students pursuing social media careers to get a wide variety of media experience while in college. “Get involved in your media groups at school,” she said. She also stressed the importance of getting a variety of media-related work experience as soon as possible. Career opportunities in social media are continuing to grow and evolve steadily. “Getting your foot in the door is the hardest part. After that…just work hard…and you will work your way up the ladder,” Swope said.

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