Here at Vocate, we know that if you are like most recent graduates, social media has existed for a good part of your life.
The granddaddy of social media, Myspace, came out in 2003 when many of the 2017 graduating class were 8 or 9 years-old. So did LinkedIn, which debuted in March of 2003 (though we doubt your 9-year-old self was itching to join a social network for business professionals).
Then came Facebook in 2004, YouTube in 2005, Twitter in 2006 and Tumblr in 2007 – all while you were a teen making your way through high school. Needless to say, you likely have a hard time imagining a time before social media was a part of your daily life.
Believe it or not, however, in the marketing world, social media is a relatively new beast. During the early years, businesses were slow to understand how to develop a proper marketing strategy on key platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The idea of hiring a social media marketing manager seemed like a “fluffy” job. CFOs asked, “Do we really need to hire someone to tweet for us?”
For many companies, the answer was “no.” Social media marketing got lumped into the larger digital marketing strategy and was often a downtime task for the marketing team or something delegated to interns.
A few years ago, a serious shift occurred. Companies slowly began to recognize that social media was not just a nice accessory to your larger marketing plan; in many cases, it could truly be the centerpiece of your entire branding strategy.
For recent graduates on the hunt for careers after college, this shift highlights a super important lesson: agility is everything.
Like the best businesses on the forefront of innovation, you need a growth mindset in the early stages of your career to beat the competition and accelerate toward success.
A Growth Mindset = More Creativity, More Agility, and More Success
We’ve recently shared some great ways to embrace a growth mindset when searching for your career after college.
But what exactly does it mean for a company to have a growth mindset?
It’s a question many businesses faced when presented with the undeniable impact of social media marketing. Facebook now has over 1 billion daily active users and over the last two years, content consumption on the site has increased 57 percent.
As a result, companies needed to pivot their marketing strategies from traditional print and television advertising to promoting themselves on Facebook and other social media. Doing so required creativity and agility on the part of marketing teams.
For one, companies needed to take seriously the idea of social media marketing as a standalone job, not just something for an already-stretched marketing team to squeeze in among their other duties. That is where the agility comes into play.
As for creativity, companies also needed to think about ways to stand out from their competitors, who were often doubling down on social media marketing.
We can all learn something from companies who navigated that transition successfully.
The ability to pivot at the right time in the right direction is a defining quality of most successful startups.
Read Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup and you’ll learn that pivoting comes from testing baseline assumptions about your target audience and finding that your strategy is off the mark.
Companies recognized the long-held assumption that print and television were the best ways to reach your audience was actually no longer true. Social media had become the primary channel for brand awareness and lead generation.
Those that pivoted their media strategy early have reaped the benefits.
And the same concept can hold true for you and your career.
Here’s how to translate those same concepts to your career:
- Pay attention to the tides of change.
Starbucks is far from a startup; with nearly 25,000 locations, they’ve certainly surpassed that point.
However, that didn’t stop them from embracing a growth mindset when it came to adopting a social media strategy. The coffee giant had accounts on Twitter and Instagram within a year of each channel’s launch and today has a combined following of upwards of 25 million people.
That led to Starbucks earning a Shorty Award in 2014, where they credited social media for boosting Pumpkin Spice Latte sales by 22 percent year-over-year.
Starbucks was able to forecast the direction marketing was headed and, instead of resisting the change, they embraced it head-on.
You should be doing the exact same thing in your career.
Instead of resisting inevitable change and being left in the dust, intentionally seek it out. Pride yourself on forecasting shifts within your company and be the first to try new things.
- Never turn down an opportunity to learn something new.
When you become an agent of change, you’re naturally going to encounter more opportunities to learn about new things.
Our advice here at Vocate is to be a “yes man” when it comes to taking on new chances to learn.
Learning gives you the leverage to pivot in your career when the tides of change sweep away the current setup.
Think of it this way. Print marketers likely felt the shift from their medium to an online platform earlier than their companies may have embraced the change. The smart ones likely did everything they could to educate themselves about social media so that they could be prepared for the inevitable shift and ensure they remained experts in driving brand strategy. The not-s0-smart ones likely lost a job.
Make it a rule to never stop learning.
- Be prepared to fail.
You’re not going to get it right every time. In fact, it’s likely you’ll fail quite often. Plenty of companies fell flat on their faces in the early stages of adopting social media marketing.
(If you want some recent cringe-worthy fails, check this out.)
Failure means an opportunity to learn and, despite what you might think, will not bring an end to your career. You may pivot in a direction that ends up not working out (cough…Google Plus), but that’s okay. It’s a valuable lesson and will help shape how you pivot in the future.
There’s lots to be learned from the marketing world’s shift to embracing social media marketing. The big, overarching lesson is that a growth mindset can transform the way you operate and help you succeed in whatever it is that you do.
Whether you’re interested in a career in social media marketing or are just on the hunt for careers after college in general, Vocate can help get you there. Check out Vocate today to learn more about how you can gain exposure to thousands of companies looking to hire recent graduates for entry-level jobs with just one application.