Digital marketing is one of the fastest growing in-demand skills for 2024, ranking in Coursera’sCOUR -0.8% top 10 list in their Job Skills Of 2024 report. The report unveiled that professions within digital marketing, which is set to witness a 6% increase in growth—higher than the average job growth rate—by 2032, are steadily on the rise and will be fueled by the emergence of new marketing technologies, such as AI-powered insights and content generation tools. It’s a sign that AI will not render jobs in this industry obsolete but complement them. The report also noted that the industry will be worth $1.5 trillion by the year 2030.
The digital marketing industry is strongly spurred on by consumer trends, particularly on social media, with an estimated 76% of consumers browsing and purchasing items via social media. In fact, in 2023 alone, there were approximately 4.89 billion social media users worldwide, with LinkedInLNKD 0.0% holding more than one billion of that total figure. As the Coursera report notes, this calls for organizations to upskill their teams in a new and advanced skill set—social selling. This is pivotal to organizational success.
What Is Social Selling?
LinkedIn released a report titled 15 Big Ideas Of 2024, in which one of its most noteworthy insights revealed that social media is of such business importance, that influencer marketing will be one of the new degrees offered by universities in the coming years. In fact, Southeast Technical University has been one of the first to have already launched a content creation and social media business degree for 2024, and has already started accepting applications.
Given the traction and attention that social media is having in the business world in advancing success, what relevance does social selling have for leaders and managers?
First it’s important to understand what social selling is. Social selling is when you leverage social media platforms to interact and engage with potential clients and business partners, and nurture these connections with the ultimate goal of converting them into loyal customers. It’s important to remember that although social media falls under the domain of marketing and advertising, social selling is not limited to the marketing department of an organization. In fact, all leaders and employees, whether high-profile or not, set the tone for establishing the organization’s brand, and their own personal brands for their career development and progression in the future.
Leaders need to realize that both they and their teams are advocates for the business and as such should encourage and train their employees to develop personal branding and social selling skills. This will not only help with improving the company’s image, but will contribute to their employees’ career development for the long-term.
And for those who are seeking a new job, being conscious of and protecting one’s social media image is essential to being taken seriously by a prospective employer or client.
How To Build Social Media Marketing Skills
There are several elements of social selling that ensure credibility and long-term success, which literally anyone can adopt regardless of being involved in marketing or not, including:
1. Establishing A Presence
Create a compelling profile across relevant social media platforms. Remember to engage with your followers and connections through consistently adding value relevant to your industry. The focus is not to sell most of the time or even half of the time, but to engage and share insights so your connections want to learn more. This is especially relevant on LinkedIn, where you can more freely talk about your job, business, or employer, discuss latest industry trends, and showcase your products and services.
Consistently maintain an image of being an invaluable resource, rather than pushing for a sale immediately after someone confirms your connection request or starts following you. Position yourself to offer tips and advice, and be a point of contact to refer them to others if necessary.
Always remember that you represent the company you work for or industry you are associated with, and that, should you become unemployed, employers may run a background check or conduct research about you via your social media profiles. Therefore, always think before you interact with others, think before you post, and if it’s something personal, restrict your profile or adjust your content settings so it’s not visible to anyone who randomly pulls up your name on Google
2. Developing Social Listening Skills
Social listening entails being aware of the analytics behind engagement across your various profiles, adapting to the voice of the customer, checking for relevant brand mentions or even competitor mentions, and staying relevant on trends that could affect your company or industry. These insights can be used to inform sales and partnership strategies, and if you’re not directly involved in leadership or have management responsibility, you can make recommendations or suggestions based on your observations.
3. Building Relationships
Establish relationships with your social media connections both online, and taking it a step further, offline. Engage with posts, converse through direct messages, and offer to meet for business lunch or a coffee chat if they are in or near your location. Taking interactions off social media and into meetings or emails helps to solidify connections and makes for valuable additions to your network, which you can use as a unique selling point if applying for a job in the future.
4. Undertaking A Google Career Certificate
Now, if you’re really serious about entering the digital marketing and social media industry, you should consider undertaking training through short courses or even getting a degree in this field. Google offers a career certificate called Digital Marketing and E-commerce Professional Certificate, and it is available via Coursera for free depending on your financial circumstances.
This is a great way to get your foot in the door and gain skills via a learning pathway from a widely recognized institution. There are plenty of other digital marketing courses you can check out, but this is one of the most popular ones.
So, while the demand is high and the marketing industry is expanding, now is the time for organizations to train and encourage their employees to be social media advocates for their company brand, and for professionals to individually establish their social selling presence so they can pave the way for more robust careers.