Social media and digital marketing have seen tremendous growth just in the last five years. According to Statista, in 2017 there were 2.73 billion social media users. In 2023, that number is expected to hit 4.89 billion worldwide – a 79.1% increase. Social media has also become a significant source of revenue – over three-quarters (76%) of social media users have purchased a product they saw on social media.
One of the results of this growth is an explosion in types of content and the variety of platforms where that content resides. The average American is on 7.1 social media platforms every month (compared to 8.4 per individual worldwide). That means that social media marketing is now more than articles, posts and clever tags. Video, reels, ads, images, emails and live feeds are also crowding the social media airwaves competing for consumers’ attention and money.
Social media has become more sophisticated too. Because companies are marketing on multiple platforms, customers are segmented and targeted. Having different platforms means content must be delivered in a variety of ways – text, image, video. Employers are looking for designers who understand strategy, branding and even industry-specific needs.
There are a lot of moving parts to social media marketing so, where are the jobs? For sure, in copywriting. But also in community management, backend analytics, video production, graphic design and more. In fact, there are huge opportunities for designers and other creatives in social media as demand for eye-catching and attention-grabbing content increases. No matter the industry – retail, fashion, e-comm, beauty, wellness, software or tools – sharp design is essential to capture the eyeballs of users scrolling through their feeds.
Let’s take the popular, video-driven social media app, TikTok. Just for laughs? Yes and no. In Q4 2022, TikTok generated $350 million in revenue outperforming by $205 million Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat combined. According to a Hubspot survey, one in three American adults now use TikTok. In 2022, two-thirds of consumers said that short-form video (usually under a minute in length) was the most engaging type of social media content, up from 50% in 2020, according to the Sprout Social Index.
What does this mean? For sure, if you can do produce, shoot or edit videos, you should add this type of asset to your portfolio especially if it’s an Instagram reel or TikTok video. But this is just one example of the type of assets designers are being asked to produce in this social media-driven world.
From social media intern to art director, employers are looking for designers who understand how to communicate via the numerous social media platforms. This could include the ability to strategize, conceptualize and design social-first graphics, animations and video content for use across social media channels like LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Threads, and emerging platforms. Many employers are also looking for designers who can do other digital design like websites, email marketing, digital ads, graphics for blogs and webinars, infographics, digital illustrations and written content for social media to inform readers and attract more social media followers.
If you are a graphic designer interested in gaining more experience or continuing to build your career in social media, here are some job titles to look for: social media designer, lead social media manager, art director of social media, senior digital designer, video editor of social media, digital content management, marketing designer, social media coordinator, marketing production designer, social media content creator/designer and more.
You probably already have a good portfolio but may need to add in some additional assets that speak directly to your social media experience. Many design professionals have that experience but never thought to capture it like email marketing, digital ads or short videos. Any work that touched social media should go into your portfolio. Did you design an email campaign that also used social media? What were the social taglines, hashtags and visuals? Share analytics from the work you’ve done that demonstrates the success of the asset. For instance, an Instagram ad that got great exposure and click-throughs.
Employers are also looking for designers who are proficient in specific design software like Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), Figma and content management systems like WordPress. Familiarity with HTML and CSS doesn’t hurt either.
Social media is now an integral part of marketing. Take an inventory of your experience, make sure your portfolio reflects that work and continue to broaden your skills. As a designer, there are endless opportunities waiting for you in social media.
Photo Credit: Canva