Next Stop: Your Magazine Dream Job

The Fabulous Life of Social Media Editors

By Kelsey Mulvey

Isn’t it ironic that as much as we cherish our Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat accounts, social media really wasn’t a thing ten, 15 years ago? Now, trendsetters use their clout to become influencers (btw, here’s what it means to be an influencer) and magazines are hiring people to monitor and bolster their social media.

But since most colleges have yet to offer an”Instagram Stories 101″ course, we’re left to wonder what a Social Media Editor does — and how you can become one. Ready to learn about hashtags, FB Lives and regrams? We asked two Social Media Editors everything you need to know about the job.

What does a social media editor do?

“Social media editors and managers are so engrained in two different worlds (brand marketing and writing), so building both muscles are important. [I consume] of all kinds of media and [take] notes on each brand’s strategy. Whether it’s scrolling through feeds, listening to podcasts, reading books or articles, it can be helpful and fun to take a closer eye to your digital habits and why they work. For instance, if you find yourself three hours in to watching Facebook videos, you can look back and figure out how marketing and the type of content got you hooked.” — Jamie Ratermann, Brand and Social Media Strategist

What’s a typical day as a Social Media Editor look like?

“Each morning, I’ll read through what’s trending across the top four [platforms] (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram) and see if there’s any topic my clients can comment or build on. Then, I’m either emailing partner brands about upcoming opportunities, filling a content calendar, researching competitors and new social media news, building campaigns or (my favorite) scanning through data to pay attention to how each client’s audience is reacting to what we’ve posted.” — Jamie Ratermann

“Apart from ideating, writing and scheduling all post content, I’m also working with our eCommerce, CRM, creative, buying and merchandising and PR teams to make sure that everything is being communicated in a way that’s exciting to our followers on social media. I also work with our local partners in our 19 international markets to ensure that DVF is positioned in a relevant and exciting way across cultures and on local social media platforms (like Weibo and WeChat). And then there’s a reporting part: Taking all of the likes, shares, and engagement from every initiative, and presenting it to our team to communicate our wins and what we can do better next time.”— Devin Alessio, social media editor at Diane von Furstenberg

How does social media differ from editorial?

“It’s a 24-hour job. You can go to a DVF store from 10 am to 7 pm, but you can log onto any of our accounts and engage with us at any time.

Because the community management part of my job is so time-sensitive, I try to respond to client inquiries in live time. And if Rihanna is wearing a wrap dress, it’s important that I post about it right now. ” — Devin Alessio

How are they similar?

“Editorial and social have become similar because traffic is an important metric for editorial success. If readers will click on a money-saving story nine times out of ten, then a brand is going to make sure they keep that type of topic as a regular theme and the social team .” — Jamie Ratermann

How does a Social Media Editor measure success?

“It depends on the main goal for each brand, and success metrics can depend by posts as well. [Likes, comments, shares and clicks] are all important. The more social media users see the post – the more interactions you get, the more people the post will reach. For clients who are simply trying to build an audience, like and shares are most important. For publishing and eCommerce brands, clickthroughs are most important. For brands who are wanting to build a better community, comments are where it’s at. Ultimately, each type of engagement works with one another, but reach is usually what I am working to grow so I particularly focus on shares.” — Jamie Ratermann

“Most people aren’t buying $700 dollar dresses directly via social, so I measure the success of posts through engagements.” — Devin Alessio

This sounds awesome! How do I become one?

“Personal branding and how you present yourself online is the new cover letter when applying to social media-focused jobs. Focusing on your interests and reflecting that in your social channels will showcase the basic understanding in how each social channel works. Also, a curiosity (or willingness to learn) about data and using excel like a champ is an amazing skill to highlight.” — Jamie Ratermann 

“Having traditional editorial experience will also serve you. Interning at a digital publication teaches you how to write well and how to write quickly, which is a very helpful skill for social. It also teaches you to look at what your reader’s interested in and to tailor your content to that, which is pretty similar to social media.” — Devin Alessio

Kelsey Mulvey is a New York-based writer. She has written for several publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, LuckyMag.com, Business Insider, Taste of Home, NYMag.com and Wallpaper.com. Check out more of her work at KelseyMulveyWrites.com and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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