Social Media Career Guide; Strategist vs Specialist

College Freshman

Almost all of you may still be conflicted on what to do with your communications degree, and that’s okay. It might come to you overnight or it might come to you when you’re 50.  The communications field is so multifaceted therefore allowing more freedom in choosing your dream job. You could be a social media strategist, like Kelly, or you could be a social media specialist, like Taylor (we’d take either or). Wait a minute, social media strategist and social media specialist? Aren’t they the same thing? Well, they are in some ways and in others they differ. Let’s be real, whichever route you go, they are both incredible jobs. Some of you might be thinking, “where do I sign up?”. Have no fear, we are here to give you the 411 on these two very different, yet similar, career paths. We’ll go over education/skills, duties, salary, and advice! Who better to learn all this information from than people who are in these industries. Lucky for us we had Kelly and Taylor give us valuable information to share with you!

Kelly recently graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Public Relations/Advertising. After graduating college, Kelly packed up her bags and moved to Denver, Colorado. There, she is a social media strategist for Sling TV. On the other hand, we have Taylor who recently graduated from West Chester University (Go Rams!) with a degree in Communication Studies. Throughout college Taylor was lucky enough to land an internship (these are super important) with Bad Rhino, a social media marketing agency located right in downtown West Chester. She wowed them so much that they asked her to come work for them full time as a social media specialist.

Now that you’ve learned about these two lovely ladies, let’s learn about their jobs and see if either of them are the right fit for you. Next we’ll go over description of duties, education needed, salary, advice on how to prepare for this career/while you work in the career, work environments, and some fun facts! Let’s get started!


A proper education is where it all begins. Once you’ve signed your life away to the college of your dreams, it’s time to hit the books and start learning. Then you get to make another life changing decision, what you want a degree in. To become a social media strategist, you usually need a degree in either Business, Marketing, Advertising, Communications, or Public Relations (hint hint, that’s you)! (Social Media Strategist). For a social media specialist, a degree in Communications, Public Relations, Marketing, Business, or New Media will get you where you need to be. Besides a degree, there are certain skills that can help you in these job fields (Social Media Specialist).


Q: What is one skill you need to do this job?

Kelly: The most important skill as a social media strategist is understanding the target demographic. If you do not understand who you are marketing to, you won’t know what type of content to promote or what brand voice to use.

Q: What class in college prepared you or helped you for being a social media strategist, if any?

Kelly: Any class teaching you about PhotoShop or video editing is very important. Many social media jobs require graphic design or editing work for promotional assets. If you can help create these yourself, you’ll have a leg up amongst other job candidates.

Q: What class in college prepared you the most for the ‘real world’?

Taylor: Advertising with Dr. Lorden. He had us work on legit projects that he just kind of threw at us and that helped set you up for the real world. They remind me of projects my boss would ask me to complete.

How many of you thought that for a job in the communications field you would need to be efficient in PhotoShop and video editing? We didn’t. Listen up kids, the classes you take in college might seem pointless right now, but they will benefit you in the long run. You might be wondering, “when am I ever going to use this class in the real world?”. That’s what we’ve all wondered at one point, but Kelly and Taylor are living proof that these classes are important and without a doubt will help you beat out other candidates (get out of our way!).


Now that you’ve landed the job, you have a set of duties that you must complete. No one is there to hold your hand. You’ll have a set of specific tasks laid out for you to do. It’s all on you to get them done. What are some of these tasks you ask? For a social media strategist, you would be doing any of the following; developing budgets, campaign strategies, content plans, as well as realistic timelines for projects, collaborate with teams for different accounts and create marketing strategies, and provide regular updates to clients about upcoming opportunities, status reports, as well as potential threats to their business (Social Media Strategist). Moving on to a social media specialist, where the main duties/goals are to create and implement social media strategies and create, edit, and publish daily content on various social media platforms. (Social Media Specialist).


Q: Give us a brief rundown of what you do day to day?

Kelly: I write, schedule, and publish marketing posts or Sling TV’s Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. I choose the content to promote based on what TV shows and movies are popular at the time, what big television events are coming up, new product launches, and current device/programming partner campaigns.

Q: What projects have you worked on/what types of projects do you work on?

Kelly: An example project I recently worked on was a co-promotion with CMT for the season premiere of Nashville. I put together a sweepstakes giving away a fully paid trip to Nashville including hotel/airfare, a tour of The Bluebird, a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and tour of the set of Nashville. Sweepstakes are a great way to promote a show while engaging followers!

Is this starting to gain anyone’s interest? Social media is huge today. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, that’s how most companies are marketing their products. It would be up to you to engage those customers and keep them coming back for me. If you’re addicted to social media like the rest of the world, this might be the job for you. Keep reading to find out more!

Social Media Sites

We all use em’, but which ones are most pertinent and useful? We have the answer!

Q: What social media networking site is your favorite?

Kelly: In the entertainment industry, I think Snapchat is the most important social media marketing channel right now. Followers want to see exclusive content they can’t access themselves, and Snapchat is the best way to create behind-the-scenes campaigns using quick attention-grabbing videos/photos.

Q: What social media site has helped you prepare most for your future?

Taylor: LinkedIn. When I was looking for jobs it allowed me to search for the interviewers and companies I interviewed with so I knew what I was getting myself into. It’s also great for networking!

There you have it folks! LinkedIn was a shoe-in but who would have thought that Snapchat would be beneficial for you? All of those snap streaks you’ve got going on might actually be beneficial for you in the future and your career (or at least keep telling yourself that).


Let’s talk money. We’ve got bills to pay, food to buy (let’s be real, that’s what most of our money goes to), and other needs. Money IS important, don’t get us wrong, but there’s a reason why we saved it for last. How much money you are making is not nearly as important as the happiness your job brings you every day. If you wake-up in the morning and are truly excited to get to your job (after your third cup of coffee) then you are winning. Being a social media strategist will give you an average salary of $50,783 (Social Media Strategist). While a social media specialist will give you an average of $38,100 (Social Media Specialist). Now, there might be a difference in income, but don’t base your decision off numbers. Base it off what you want to wake-up every day and do for the rest of your life (if sleeping all day were an option, we’d choose that).


Ah, we have come to the end. Now that you’ve learned a little bit about each career, let’s hear some advice that is especially relevant for you!

Q: What do you love most about your job?

Kelly: I love how different every day is and how closely I can work with all of Sling TV’s programmers and device partners on campaigns to promote their new shows and product release. I have a lot of creative freedom in how I promote things, which is challenging, but rewarding.

Q: What advice would  you give for anyone trying to enter the social media marketing field?

Kelly: Make sure your personal social media brand accurately portrays who you want to be in the professional world. You should think of our social accounts as a public resume.

Q: What’s the one skill you’ve learned in college that has been most useful to you?

Taylor: Time management skills. I learned to balance a lot in college between school, work, having a job, and an internship. It has helped me a ton in the real world because I have important deadlines and need to prioritize my time.

Q: What’s the one skill you’ve learned in college that has been most useful to you?

Taylor: Time management skills. I learned to balance a lot in college between school, work, having a job, and an internship. It has helped me a ton in the real world because I have important deadlines and need to prioritize my time.

Fun Facts

Q: If you could get a social media marketing job at any company, which company would you choose and why?

Kelly: I would work as a social media marketing for Netflix. To e, they’ve nailed the art of relevant, creative marketing campaigns (especially on their Instagram). I think it’s important to post content your followers will actually care about, and Netflix is really good at making intriguing posts.

Who doesn’t love Netflix? Can you imagine being the new face of Netflix coming up with slogans like the famous, ‘Netflix and Chill’ because we think that’d be pretty cool!

Q: If you could steal anyone’s job in the world (family/friend/celebrity) whose would it be?

Kelly: I would steal Giuliana Rancic’s job as a red carpet correspondent for E!

Q: What was your ‘dream job’ throughout college?

Taylor: My ultimate dream job was (and still is) to be a wedding planner. If I ever stumbled upon an opportunity to plan a wedding, or even just assist, I would drop everything.

Q: If you could steal anyone’s job in the world; family, friend, celebrity, whose would it be and why?

Taylor: Sophia Amoruso, the founder of NastyGal She’s a badass that went from being homeless to a rockstar business owner at the age of 22. OR, Kayla Itsines (sorry couldn’t choose one). She’s the creator of the fitness cult Bikini Body Guide (BBG). Her job involves her working out and traveling the world. Need I say more?

The End

Now that we’ve done our job and given you information about potential future jobs aka a social media strategist/specialist, it is now up to YOU to figure out what you truly want to do. Whatever you choose to make sure it makes you happy. Because remember, communications is a multifaceted field, so whichever way you choose is the right way.




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