Career Paths and Top Tips from 27 Big Company Social Media Professionals



Jay Baer Blog PostIt’s Opening Day of baseball season, so what better time to launch the first-ever Social Pros All-Stars baseball cards?

What Is This All About?

social-pros-iconFor more than two years, each week I’ve recorded an episode of the Social Pros podcast, where my co-hosts and I interview a social media professional about their day-to-day work and successes.

After 110+ episodes, we’ve gathered together this first batch of 27 All-Stars from big B2C brands to provide a handy reference for the education and employment history of some of America’s leading social media professionals, alongside interesting facts and their best advice for aspiring social media managers.

Once we completed the research four interesting patterns started to emerge:

Twitter is the Favorite Social Network for Social Pros

52% of the Social Pros All-Stars say that Twitter is their favorite social network, and Instagram is the favorite of another 30%.
Remarkably, Facebook, which is far and away the largest social network by consumer usage, and is also the most widespread social network used by business (alongside Twitter), is the favorite of just three of the Social Pros All-Stars in this collection.

Why is Facebook so popular among the masses, but not as popular among people who manage social media professionally?

Facebook has more users overall, but Twitter is by far the favorite social network among Social Pros (tweet this)

Agency or Consulting Experience Common Among Social Pros

Screenshot_3_29_14,_11_33_AMAmong this inaugural group of Social Pros All-Stars, 56% have worked at an advertising/marketing/PR agency and/or have run their own consultancy.

Of course, this is not a randomly selected sample of social media professionals, and the total number of included Pros is small. However, seeing agency
experience in the employment history of more than half of the All-Stars doesn’t surprise me, as the broad task assignments and fast-paced nature of agency work can be a good preparatory ground for large-scale social media management.

56% of Social Pros All-Stars Have Worked at an Agency or as a Consultant (tweet this)

Marketing Education Not Required

I expected most of these social media managers to have a marketing or business degree, but that’s true for just 22% of them. Instead more than half of the All-Stars have a degree in English, public relations, or journalism.

Given the historically written nature of social media interactions, this makes sense. Considering, however, how visually oriented social media has become, I wonder if up-and-coming Social Pros will be more likely to have art and photography-oriented degrees?

What did social media all-stars study in school? Check out the Social Pros baseball card collection to find out (tweet this)

Advanced Degree Not Required

In this first batch of All-Stars (2 more batches on the way in 2014), 30% have a Masters degree, while 70% do not.

Think you need a Masters degree to be a big-brand social media manager? You don’t. (tweet this)

Enjoy the Social Pros All-Stars Collection

We put a ton of work into this project (check out the custom baseball caps!) and I hope you’ll love it, be fascinated by it, and share it with your own social media connections.

Note that there are direct links baked into the baseball cards so that you can connect with each All-Star in social, listen to their episode of the Social Pros podcast, or subscribe to the podcast yourself (which I’d love for you to do!).

Check us out on Stitcher Radio:

Subscribe on iTunes:

Special thanks to our friends at TapInfluence for sponsoring this project and making it a reality. TapInfluence is a software platform and marketplace that brands use to co-create content with influencers. It streamlines the process of finding, coordinating, and measuring influencer-developed content. It’s a great system, and reasonably priced.

Article Name
Career Paths and Top Tips from 27 Big Company Social Media Professionals
What are the education and employment backgrounds of big-brand social media managers? the Social Pros All-Stars collection showcases these commonalities (or lack thereof)
  • Houssem Daoud

    It’s a relief to see that 52% of the Social Pros All-stars favorite Twitter! And seeing that I have an engineering degree in “Biology” and doing my own consulting right now, I would say that I have a pretty good chance :) Awesome idea Jay, but for some reason, the cards (below “Jay Says”) aren’t loading/showing for me on Firefox as well as on Chrome.

    • jaybaer

      Thanks so much. Not sure why it’s not showing. It’s an embed from Slideshare. Here’s the direct link:

      • Houssem Daoud

        You’re welcome Jay. It seems like an issue with SlideShare’s CDN. I just notified them via Twitter :) It’ll probably resolve soon.

  • Matt Schmidt

    Interesting the backgrounds that people have getting into the field. Kind of makes you wonder when colleges will start offering majors in Social Media Management

  • Dan Burke

    As a baseball fan I can appreciate the great timing with opening day on this article. It’s interesting to see the way that social media is changing the landscape of marketing and branding. The infographics (and the social media cards) painted a pretty broad picture around the backgrounds and specializations of the leaders in this growing field, so it will be interesting to see if this trend continues or if there is a shift towards more of a marketing focused educational background in the future. Good food for thought overall!

  • Carolyn Jack

    Journalism includes professionals who work in television, print and online – all media which have strong visual components to story-telling. I’m completely unsurprised that the majority of social media pros… like myself… are former journalists. We’re trained to tell compelling stories… with pictures and/or words… directly and briefly. I would be very surprised to see fine arts graduates moving into this kind of role. Not their skill set.

  • BenjaminAndrews

    My degree in Screenwriting feels very useful in this world too!

  • Cynthia Edwards

    What is a good way to get started in the social media marketing world? Are major Degrees needed?