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Empathy mapping and the design thinking process

By Academy Xi

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If you want to produce products and services that truly address the needs of your users, then taking a design thinking approach is the ticket. In this article, we explore empathy mapping and how it can empower your design process and result in meaningful, successful outcomes.

First up, let’s start with the basics. What is empathy?

Noun

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 

When it comes to human-centred design, empathy is a must-have skill. Essentially, empathy enables a designer to identify with the end-user.

Anyone involved in the research stages of designing a product or service can witness firsthand the experiences of the user’s engagement with said product or service and empathise with any perceived frustrations or challenges the user might have. 

The tricky part: how to help those not involved with the user testing and research phases to have empathy for the user’s experience. Many will ‘think’ they know how the user will or won’t react to the different aspects of a product or service, but if they weren’t involved in the research phase, these opinions are precisely that. Opinions. How can a design team help others better understand the user experience?

Enter the empathy map.

What is an empathy map?

What is an empathy map academy xi

One of many tools that can be harnessed when developing products and services using a design thinking approach, an empathy map captures and summarises findings and observations from the research phase and can help to identify insights into the user’s needs.

Typically, an empathy map is made up of four key areas (say, think, feel and do – more on this later) and the completed map provides an overview of a user’s experience of the product or service.

Essentially, an empathy map is a guide that can provide a design team with a vital understanding of who their user audience is, the audience’s concerns and challenges and what they truly want and need. It enables design teams to craft specific solutions that address these pain points, helping to create an enhanced user experience.

Beyond the design team, the empathy map can be incredibly useful in articulating the user experience at various stages of the design process to stakeholders, such as the client and other teams working on the product or service development.

What are the elements of empathy mapping?

Elements of empathy mapping infographic academy xi

While empathy maps can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, it’s not uncommon for a map to include four quadrants: say, think, feel and do.

  • Say

What is the user saying about the product? This section should ideally contain user quotes from the interviews and testing groups.

  • Think

What is the user thinking about when they are interacting with the service or product? This can be gained from interviews during the research.

  • Feel 

This covers the emotional state of the user during testing – how are they feeling when they engage with the product? What concerns them? How are they feeling throughout their experience with the product or service?

  • Do 

This section covers the actions taken by the user, or the behaviours they displayed.

While it can be fairly straightforward to understand what a user said or did, being able to define what they thought or felt isn’t as simple and requires considered observation and analysis.

Empathy maps and user personas

Empathy maps and user personas go hand-in-hand, with the map forming the basis for creating a persona. Each persona you wish to create requires its own empathy map.

As the empathy map is created off the back of observation and research of real people engaging with the product you are designing, it makes the personas more authentic. Authenticity is important, as each of your personas should represent your target market (users), with the personas including more details such as demographic data, personality traits, age, motivation and the like.

How to build your own empathy map 

Set your empathy map up for success by being prepared before your mapping session with these top three tips:

  1. Conduct research

Real data is paramount for empathy mapping. Arrange opportunities to interview users and observe them interacting with prototypes of your product, taking detailed notes of your observations.

Reading through any existing qualitative survey results, reports or previous interviews with user groups is also important.

  1. Gather your team

Empathy mapping should be a team effort. Gather people from your product team, as well as other stakeholders to bring a balance of both business insight and user needs to the table. Working as a team to produce an empathy map promotes teamwork, but also enables the product team to be on the same wavelength as other stakeholders, which is an important foundation to build early on.

  1. Invite a moderator

Having an experienced group facilitator can make all the difference to a working session. The moderator will be versed in remaining neutral throughout, involving everyone in the session, not expressing their personal opinion and refraining from asking leading questions.

empathy mapping infographic

Let the mapping begin

Remember, you need one empathy map for each persona to ensure you get the most meaningful insights.

  1. Context is key

Clearly define the subject or persona of the map, giving as much detail as possible to set the scene so the team can understand and empathise with the user’s situation.

  1. Bring the persona to life

Provide the team with details to make the personas come to life. Details could include a headshot image of someone who represents the persona, or you could pinpoint their name, age, occupation, wardrobe – you can have fun with this – and ensure that each persona is clearly defined from the next.

  1. Thoughts on post-its

During the main session, get team members to put their thoughts down onto individual post-it notes and put them onto the map, discussing their thoughts with the rest of the team. This format can encourage more insights to be revealed.

  1. Time to summarise

Once the workshop is completed, discuss the map as a team – are there any clear patterns that have emerged? This is another chance for team members to share their thoughts and discuss any insights that can help shape product and/or service development.

Gather the information from the session, summarise it and share it amongst the team, making sure it is saved in a central location so it can easily be updated as you learn more about each persona.

How to start a career in design thinking

Inspired to integrate empathy mapping into your next product design project? Completing a Design Thinking course with industry-aligned content will give you the practical skills and strategic mindset needed to deliver products and services that address the needs of your target audience. 

At Academy Xi, we offer quality, hands-on training options to elevate your existing skill-set and enhance your career prospects. 

Want to discuss your transferable skills and short course options? Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Design Thinking journey. 

Academy Xi Blog

The rise of TikTok and social media video

By Academy Xi

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With TikTok notching up three billion downloads, this blog explores the emergence of the world’s fastest growing social media app and the shift toward video in social media culture.

For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, TikTok is now the world’s hottest social media platform. According to data from Sensor Tower, TikTok has received over three billion downloads globally, making it the first ever non-Meta app to attract so many users. 

As the platform of choice among younger Millennials and Generation Z, TikTok’s remixes, memes and mashups have become a window into contemporary youth culture. Currently, 47% of TikTok users are under 30 years old. 

Despite its young following, you might be surprised to learn that TikTok wasn’t masterminded by a Silicon Valley twenty-something. Instead, TikTok was designed by 37 year-old Zhang Yiming, who lives in China. 

Infographic breakdown of the market share that TikTok has

Yiming launched TikTok and its Chinese equivalent, Douyin, in 2016. Yiming is now worth $49.5 billion, which makes him the second richest person in China. Because TikTok is privately owned, it’s difficult to specify the precise value of the company. However, recent estimates range between $50-75 billion.  

TikTok is now the 5th most popular social media platform, behind Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram respectively. Far from being a fad or fluke, TikTok has enjoyed sustained growth for the past few years. According to Forbes, it was the most downloaded iOS app for all four quarters of 2021 and the first two of 2022. 

With TikTok users expanding by 45% each year, it could take TikTok as little as three years to establish itself as the world’s most popular social media app. All this leads to a burning question: why do so many people love TikTok so much? 

Why is TikTok so popular?

A range of explanations have been offered for TikTok’s soaring popularity. Some claim it’s because of the app’s accessibility (TikTok is widely acknowledged to be one of the most user-friendly social media apps). Others point out that once the app is downloaded, rather than delivering a tutorial, TikTok takes its users directly to the most viewed content. Each time you log in to TikTok, the top of your feed contains a video that’s algorithmically selected based on your past views and interests.

However, the best explanation for the world’s love affair with TikTok is actually quite simple. One word… video. 

TikTok’s use of video and moving images perfectly encapsulates the energy of the young people that form its core audience. Editing footage, adding sound effects and applying filters offers a level of creative freedom that other social media platforms simply can’t match. Suddenly, posting a static photo of a meal on Facebook doesn’t feel like a particularly dynamic experience. 

A phone screenshot of the most viewed TikTok to date

Most viewed TikTok to date.

TikTok is not the only social media platform to have built its identity around video-based content. Launched in 2013, Vine allowed users to record short clips of up to six seconds using its in-app camera. Users could then edit footage on the fly, or even use stop motion effects, bringing a new level of creativity to social media content. Vine folded in 2017, but provided a test-case for TikTok and proved that a video-driven social media platform could have mass appeal.  

The popularity of TikTok reveals a few interesting things about the direction social media seems to be heading in: it’s meme and video-driven, highly personalised by AI algorithms, and involves content without real-life connections (for those who haven’t experienced the platform, TikTok posts tend to be about absolutely anything).  

In what might be the biggest testament to TikTok’s influence, Instagram recently rolled out a series of changes that reflected their desire to keep pace with the world’s fastest growing social media app. 

Instagram mimics TikTok

Recent adjustments to Instagram saw the introduction of a main feed driven by algorithms, the incorporation of video “reels” and pages crowded out by banners promoting a new “remix” feature. However, the addition of so much promoted content resulted in users struggling to find posts from friends and family, which have long been the bedrock of Instagram’s success. 

Phone screenshot of the most viewed Instagram reel

Most viewed Instagram Reel to date.

The outcry against Instagram’s overhaul was typified by Kylie Jenner, a Kardashian and social media power user, who posted a widely shared demand that the platform’s leaders “make Instagram Instagram again”. Jenner added “stop trying to be TikTok. I just want to see cute photos of my friends” and signed the post “sincerely, everyone”. 

Following backlash from social media influencers, celebrities and countless members of the public, Instagram decided to walk back some of the changes to its product in late July.

A spokesperson from Meta told BuzzFeed that Instagram would pause a test that had made the app open to full-screen videos and temporarily decrease the number of video recommendations in user’s feeds.

Meta’s spokesperson stated “we recognize that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and while we believe that Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we get this right”. 

While Instagram has halted its TikTok-style revamp temporarily, the feeling is that the platform will inevitably move toward a video-oriented experience. This shift is being driven by user demand, with video posts attracting 48% more views, and 73% of social media users preferring video over all other content forms.  

Is video the future of social media? 

Beyond TikTok, a wave of smaller video-based social media platforms are rapidly gaining traction. As an example, video game streaming platform Twitch has grown from 102,000 viewers in 2012 to over 30 million daily users in 2022. 

Much like Instagram, Twitter is now joining the video wave with its newest feature, Fleets. Fleets are temporary posts that expire after a day. With Fleets, users can post videos on their timelines which, according to Hubspot, are six times more likely to be retweeted than a photo. 

Added to rising demand for video among users, social media marketers are leaning into the possibilities of promoting brands through video. As marketers continue to search for innovative ways to engage audiences, video has become a powerful way to tell a brand’s story, share a value proposition, and nurture relationships with potential customers. 

Surveyed by Hubspot, 67% of marketers claim that sharing videos on social media has the highest ROI out of all marketing channels. As social media platforms and consumer habits trend towards video, more brands are investing in video marketing to keep the attention of their audiences and grow the reach of their business. 

No social media company has capitalised on the shift toward social media video marketing quite like TikTok. According to Reuters, TikTok’s marketing revenue is likely to triple throughout 2022 and break the $11 billion mark, exceeding the combined sales of its rivals Twitter ($5.58 billion) and Snapchat ($4.86). 

While TikTok’s metrics tell a story of jaw-dropping growth, keep in mind that the platform doesn’t stand unchallenged in the social media video space. Popular apps such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat have integrated TikTok-style features, aiming to appeal to new audiences. Only time will tell if these companies are able to prise away a portion of TikTok’s loyal following.  

As far as social media content is concerned, video is destined only to grow. Whether or not TikTok will continue to grow alongside it will depend on the company’s ability to innovate and lead the way in the next era of social media video sharing. 

If you’re keen to learn more about all things social media, or maybe even launch a career as a professional Social Media Marketer, Academy Xi now offers a Social Media Marketing: Elevate that’s built and taught by industry experts. 

This course equips you with the full spectrum of skills and knowledge needed to deliver an effective end-to-end social media strategy. By graduation, you’ll be able to:

  • Combine social media strategy and execution
  • Choose platforms based on your audience, brand and goals
  • Create context-specific content assets
  • Manage content calendars
  • Measure outcomes and refine your strategy with analytics
  • Use the latest platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn 
  • Use industry tools including Canva, Ad Mockups, Google Analytics and URL Builder   

You’ll walk away with an industry-recognised certification and a stand-out portfolio demonstrating your new skills to employers. 

Want to discuss your transferable skills and course options? Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Social Media Marketing journey. 

Academy Xi Blog

How to become a successful social media influencer and make money from it 2022

By Academy Xi

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how to become an influencer

There are more social media influencers than ever before these days. For many, it’s fast becoming a great source of income. Read on to find out how you can start influencing and cash in on your love for social media.

Now more than ever people are looking for ways to earn money that are flexible and adaptable to the lifestyles they want to lead. Social media influencers are their own bosses, can choose their own hours and select the brands and causes they want to work with. It can’t get much more flexible than that.

First up, let’s cover the basics.

What is a social media influencer?

Individuals who have built credibility within a key topic area or industry, have access to a sizable audience via their online channels, and can persuade this audience to take action (for example: buy or subscribe) are known as social media influencers.

There are different types of influencers, categorised by the number of followers they have and the focus of their content.

Some examples of general content areas for influencers include:

  • Fashion
  • Beauty
  • Health and fitness
  • Gaming
  • Travel

When categorised by the number of followers they have, influencers may be referred to by the following titles:

  • Nano influencer: 1k-10k followers
  • Micro influencer: 10k-100k followers
  • Macro influencer: 100k – 1mill followers
  • Mega (or celebrity) influencer: 1mill+ followers

How do social media influencers make money?

There are a range of ways that social media influencers can generate income and it is not uncommon for a number of tactics to be used to create multiple revenue streams. We’ve rounded up the top three approaches for anyone starting out.

#1. Sponsored posts

One of the most common starting points for influencers to earn cash is via sponsored social media or blog posts.

A sponsored post is when a brand works with an influencer to produce a one-off, or series of posts, that feature the products or services of the brand, which are then shared with the influencer’s followers. 

The focus of the posts could be promoting new products and services from the brand, sharing content created by the brand, or perhaps helping the brand to branch out and attract a new audience.

Important to note: the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has guidelines around the disclosure of sponsored social media posts, particularly when someone is receiving payment for the collaboration. It pays to be across the Influencer Marketing Code of Practice

#2. Affiliate marketing

With affiliate marketing, an influencer will include a link to a brand’s website, usually to a specific product or service that has been highlighted within the influencer’s content (this could be on a social media post or within a blog article). If the reader clicks on this link and then subscribes or purchases via that link, the influencer will receive a financial ‘cut’. This arrangement will be agreed between the brand and influencer and set up as either a pay-per-sale or pay-per-click or lead. 

This can be accurately tracked by both the influencer and brand to see how many sales or leads are being generated on any given day/week/month/year. While it might not be a big money earner for an influencer, having a number of affiliate marketing agreements can quickly add up. 

It is important that the products and services influencers are linking to are genuinely aligned to the content focus, or it will appear to be out of step and forced, reducing the influencer’s credibility with their followers. 

#3. Digital products

Broadly speaking, digital products are relatively cheap to produce and compared to physical products, easier and cheaper to store and distribute. They are often downloadable documents that you receive access to once you have made your payment, or you might receive a login to access online content for a fixed period of time, sometimes including access to any future updates. 

Digital products could include printables such as workout schedules and meal plans, or journal prompts and habit tracking charts, depending on your content focus. Other options might be ebooks, online courses or guides. 

Once influencers gain more of a following, they might embark on other revenue making ventures including:

  • Becoming a brand ambassador (receiving retainer payment from the brand)
  • Creating a podcast (charging a download fee, brand partnership)
  • Running webinars (sponsored by a brand and/or fee to view)

How to become a social media influencer

Find your area of interest

This is a vital step to the success of any social media influencer. If you simply want to earn cash and pick a random topic to focus on, chances are you’ll lose steam pretty quickly and not have the drive, interest or passion to create the content required to engage and build your audience. Think long term strategy. 

Be visible on most popular social media platforms

Depending on your target demographic and which social platforms they tend to use, the general rule of thumb to increase your following is to be present and active on as many of the most popular social media platforms as possible. 

Here’s a quick and simple guide to using some of the most popular channels:

Create a YouTube channel

The second largest search engine after Google, YouTube is the place to be in order to power-up your social media pull. Creating a YouTube channel can have a huge impact on influencer follower count and, eventually, earn you some coin.

How much money can you make on YouTube?

As with any social media income potential, it ranges from nothing to mega bucks. Ultimately, the more subscribers you have, the more eyes will see the adverts and there’s a higher chance of the ads being clicked on. This can lead to the channel owner/influencer being offered sponsorship deals with brands, which means more money. 

Your first focus with a YouTube channel isn’t your income, but building your reputation and number of subscribers. Once that starts looking healthy, you can look at potential earning power. 

68% of Google AdSense revenue is paid out, so every $100 an advertiser pays, Google forks out $68 to the publisher.

Advertiser rates vary, but the average is 18 cents per view.

On average, the YouTube channel can receive $18 per 1000 ad views, which is around $3-$5 per 1000 video views for the influencer. 

More subscribers means more eyeballs on ads. Create engaging content and Bob’s your uncle!

Create an Instagram account

You don’t have to be a member of the Kardashian family to earn money on Instagram, but having a hefty following does help. 

Ultimately, the more followers you have and the more content you post, equates to more money earning potential. 

However, according to digital marketing guru, Neil Patel, engagement with followers is the key. Patel states “even if you have 1,000 followers who are engaged, the potential to make money is there”.

How much money can you make from Instagram?

According to Search Engine Journal, influencers with a million followers can earn around $670USD per post, a content creator with 100k followers can earn approximately $200USD per post and influencers with 10k followers are looking at $88 per post on average. 

Create a Facebook account

There are a number of ways that you can generate income through the channel, including ad campaigns, live stream events, short form videos, subscription services and by collaborating with other influencers and brands. Many use the platform to drive traffic to their ecommerce stores.

How much money can you make from Facebook?

Facebook’s ad campaigns can create $8.75USD per 1000 views.

Be aware that to qualify for earning money via Facebook videos, you do need to have a minimum of 10,000 page followers and 600,000 overall minutes worth of views within the past two months. Full details can be found on the Facebook Creator Studio page. 

Study social media marketing to improve your strategies 

There are many cogs to the machine that is social media influencing and it definitely pays to invest in a Social Media Marketing course

Social media influencers need to be able to think strategically and devise content plans that are tactical and tailored to their audience. They also need the right mix of practical skills to execute that plan and create original content to attract new followers. With these skills at your disposal, there’s every reason to believe that you can turn your love for social media into a legitimate source of income.  

Want to discuss your transferable skills and short course options? Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Social Media Marketing journey. 

Academy Xi Blog

FAQs: Social Media Marketing

By Academy Xi

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We’ve compiled this list of questions most frequently asked about Social Media Marketing to help you understand what it’s like to kickstart a fast-paced career as a Social Media Marketer.

Already know you’d like to study Social Media Marketing? Get in touch with our Course Advisors to discuss training options, and check out the upcoming intake dates here.

Social Media Marketing and why it’s important

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media currently boasts 4.62 billion users globally, which is 58% of the world’s total population. Australia specifically has 21.45 million people active on socials, which equates to a whopping 83% of the national population! 

Social Media Marketing involves leveraging the popularity of social media to promote brands, goods and services. Social Media Marketers post original, compelling content to stimulate authentic brand conversations, build a community, drive website traffic and generate sales. 

The flexibility of Social Media Marketing makes it possible for businesses to quickly connect with millions of potential customers, or alternatively, target a very small and specific audience. 

What does a Social Media Marketer do? 

Being a Social Media Marketer isn’t just about regularly posting on the biggest platforms. Instead, it’s about aligning your content with an end-to-end strategy and converting as many ‘followers’ as possible into customers. 

As well as having a strategic mindset, Social Media Marketers benefit from a range of creative skills, including copywriting and graphic design. Social Media Marketers are also expected to monitor the success of a campaign, which means using data analytics to measure outcomes.  

How do businesses use Social Media Marketing?

Marketing has always been about meeting customers in the right place at the right time. In this day and age, that means connecting with them on social media. 

Social Media Marketing is a fast, relatively inexpensive way for businesses to reach over half the world’s population. The impact a strong social media presence can have on a business is wider than you might think. Modern businesses rely on Social Media Marketing to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Humanise a brand
  • Establish a brand as a ‘thought leader’
  • Build word of mouth
  • Increase website traffic
  • Generate leads
  • Boost sales

Social Media Marketing can also be used to manage a brand image during a crisis, as well as for day-to-day interactions with customer service and support teams.     

What is a social media content strategy?

It’s all well and good being active on social media platforms, but you’ve got to use them tactically. A social media content strategy involves planning, creating and implementing content on the platforms of your choice.

Any good social media content strategy will cover:

  • Setting your goals – Every strategy needs to begin with goals. The more clearly defined and measurable your goals are, the better. Your goals might be to increase a brand’s audience, drive traffic to a website, or increase leads and sales. 
  • Researching your audience – If you don’t take the time to connect with your audience, your audience won’t take the time to connect with you. Typically, understanding your target audience is similar to defining your brand’s buyer personas. You’ll need to answer questions like, “what content will your audience enjoy?” and “what tone of voice will they relate to?”. Social media tools such as Facebook and Instagram Insights allow you to dig into your audience’s data. You’re able to see the times of day they’re most active, the formats they’re most likely to engage with and where people find your content.
  • Choosing your platforms – With a good understanding of your audience, you’ll be well placed to choose your platforms. For instance, if you’re targeting professionals, you’ll most likely want to use LinkedIn. If you’re trying to connect with Gen Z who have a passion for video content, it’s logical to use platforms like TikTok or Snapchat.  
  • Plan your content – You should define the underlying purpose of each piece of content. Will it be educational, promotional, entertaining or inspirational? Most importantly, you’ll want to keep your audience in mind and plan content they’re likely to find relatable. 
  • Measuring success The only way to judge whether or not your content strategy is working is to use metrics. Social media management tools like Buffer and HootSuite offer metrics that will allow you to measure reach, clicks, engagement and hashtag performance. You’ll also need to review responses for sentiment to ensure your posts are being met with positivity.

What is a content calendar?

Creating a social media content calendar is one of the most effective ways to manage the execution of your content strategy. Being able to visualise what you’ll post in the coming weeks, or even months, helps you plan what your social accounts will look like in the long term.

Working from a calendar will also help you prepare for national holidays and seasonal events, which can provide original themes to produce content around.

Content calendars will normally take the form of spreadsheets, Google calendars, or for those who use social media management tools, interactive dashboards. Scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer help marketers organise their calendars and will automatically publish content on your behalf. 

Social Media Marketing tools & platforms

What tools do Social Media Marketers use?

There are a variety of tools that can reduce the heavy lifting of a Social Media Marketing campaign and raise the bar of creativity too. Some of the handiest tools include:

Hootsuite

As the world’s first social media management platform, Hootsuite has been at the forefront of social media for over a decade. As an integrated platform, Hootsuite allows you to schedule and publish content to all of your social profiles, track effectiveness in real time, and amplify your most important content.

Hootsuite also allows you to set up customisable streams that allow you to monitor trends and stay notified about customers, competitors, or any topic relevant to your brand.

Buffer

Buffer is a multipurpose tool that’s most commonly used to draft and schedule posts. Buffer started as a scheduling tool for Twitter, but now supports many of the biggest platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Buffer subscriptions are split into two services, Publish and Analyse. The former enables you to plan and schedule your posts, while the latter helps you assess the impact your posts are having. 

Biteable 

Social media is increasingly driven by video content. With Biteable you can easily create engaging, entertaining, and informative short videos. 

With an array of free video templates, footage, music, and animated scenes, Biteable is perfect for anyone aiming to create studio-quality content without needing expensive equipment. Best of all, most of the features are available with free accounts. 

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a research tool that enables you to optimise the impact of your content. Buzzsumo generates detailed metrics that can be used to analyse the impact of your content. 

Buzzsumo allows you to track content trends, find influencers related to your brand, and even receive updates on the most popular keywords and search terms. 

Mention

Mention is a comprehensive social listening tool that, as its title suggests, tracks mentions of your brand in real time. Mention can also be used to track audience responses to the posts of your competitors. 

Mention makes it easy to be part of the hottest conversations. You can respond to comments and responses from within the Mention platform, while you can also use Mention to find suitable influencers for influencer marketing campaigns.

Social Sprout

Last but not least, all-in-one social media management tool Sprout Social can be used for scheduling, publishing and team collaboration. 

Sprout Social differs from other social media management platforms in its emphasis on data. Sprout Social provides in-depth data and actionable insights that can be used to manage social conversations.

What platforms do Social Media Marketers use?

When it comes to delivering an end-to-end content strategy, there’s a range of platforms that Social Media Marketers can harness to reach their target audience. 

Some of the industry’s most tried-and-trusted platforms include:

Facebook

Facebook has 2.93 billion active monthly users, which often makes it a Social Media Marketer’s number one choice. With the Facebook Ads Manager, you can create ads that target users according to age, location, gender, relationship status, education, interests, job title, purchase history, device usage, etc.

For organic social posts, Facebook also allows you to create Custom Audiences from the list of phone numbers or email addresses that you’ve collected, meaning you can target specific customers. You can also use Facebook Pixel to reach customers who’ve already visited your website.

YouTube

YouTube may be 15 years old, but it still attracts over 2 billion users each month. As the second most popular social media platform, YouTube marketing is now an essential part of many successful content strategies. 

When visitors view your channel, they can access your video content and link back to your website. They can also view any content you ‘follow’, or even content about your business that’s shared through other channels and platforms.

Instagram

Instagram has 1.2 billion users, with each user spending an average of 7 hours a week browsing content. Instagram is distinct from other social media platforms in its heavy emphasis on visuals. 

For brand’s that want to highlight the design or aesthetic qualities of a product, or for those offering a service that brings about a visually remarkable end result, Instagram is often the best platform to showcase what your business has to offer.

LinkedIn 

With over 830 million users in 200 countries, LinkedIn is the platform of choice for Social Media Marketers trying to appeal to a professional audience. LinkedIn marketing is the process of using LinkedIn to make connections, improve brand awareness, generate leads and foster business relationships. 

Many marketers will also share cutting-edge content to establish themselves at the forefront of their industry. LinkedIn is now a core component of many successful marketing strategies because of how effective it is when it comes to expanding professional networks and building an industry reputation.

TikTok

TikTok has received over 3 billion downloads globally, making it the first ever non-Meta app to attract so many users. With marketers searching for new ways to engage audiences, TikTok’s videos have become an effective means to tell a brand’s story, share a value proposition, and nurture relationships with potential leads.

Today’s social media users often prefer video over all other content forms, with 67% of marketers claiming that sharing videos on social media has the highest ROI of all channels. 

Twitter

Twitter hosts 238 million users daily and offers Social Media Marketers the chance to keep their brand involved in the most important conversations. With Twitter, you’ll focus on generating a healthy mix of replies, organic tweets, retweets and Twitter takes, while you might even pay to feature your brand in Twitter Ads.

By posting links to useful articles, or creating your own informative content, it’s possible to establish your business as a thought leader in its industry. This is one of the most effective ways to build a Twitter following around your brand.     

Snapchat

Snapchat has 347 million daily users, with over 5 billion snaps sent each day.  Snapchat allows businesses to connect with customers through the temporary sharing of photos and short videos. 

Social Media Marketers can promote businesses on Snapchat by using traditional ads, as well as by applying branded filters, lenses and geotags.

Careers in Social Media Marketing

With the reach of social media expanding at a staggering rate, it’s a great time to get involved in the industry. These days, countless consumers purchase products because of the interactions they have with brands on social platforms.

But what exactly does a Social Media Marketing career path look like?

Career paths for Social Media Marketers

Here’s an example of a successful Social Media Marketing career path, broken down into a few simple steps: 

  • Step 1: Get formally trained

The internet offers a range of free tutorials that can be used by anyone keen to get started as a Social Media Marketer. However, if you’re wanting to build a reputation in the industry, you should consider enrolling in a Social Media Marketing course. Without this, it will be difficult to land your first role, since so many rival candidates will have a formally certified skillset.

  • Step 2: Build a portfolio

In order to stand out in a highly competitive industry, it’s crucial that you build a strong portfolio. Ideally, your portfolio will contain an end-to-end campaign strategy, as well as razor-sharp content assets and ad mockups. Prospective employers and clients will use your portfolio to validate your skillset and vet the quality of your work. 

  • Step 3: Get hired as a Social Media Marketer

With formal training and a strong portfolio to your name, you’ll be well placed to begin applying for Social Media Marketer roles. Typically, you’ll work within a company’s marketing or team, or for a marketing agency. You might also choose to go freelance. Many freelance Social Media Marketers offer their services to a range of clients on a per-project basis. 

  • Step 4: Get hired as a Social Media Manager

With a few years experience under your belt, you’ll be in a position to apply for Social Media Manager roles. As a social media manager, your focus will shift from creating and publishing content to managing a team that oversees the execution of a campaign. 

You’ll offer direction, support and feedback to your team and likely be in charge of their professional development. Social Media Manager roles also demand a more analytical skillset. You’ll create reports and analyse data to figure out what’s working and what’s not. These insights will inform changes to your team’s content strategy.

Beyond these positions, with the right amount of professional exposure there’s also the possibility that you could land the most senior marketing roles, such as Marketing Director, VP of Marketing, or even CMO.

Industry demand for Social Media Marketing

How high is the demand for Social Media Marketers in Australia?

Social Media Marketing recently overtook paid search as the most lucrative marketing channel, with Sprout Social recording spending in excess of $137 billion and 25% year-on-year growth.

Following rapid growth in the industry, there’s now a sizable skills gap for Social Media Marketers in Australia, reflected in the 3,751 roles advertised on Seek.com.au (as of September 2022).

Keep in mind that a Social Media Marketer’s skills are universally sought after, so wherever you end up in life, you’ll have work experience and a CV that employers are searching for. 

How much do Social Media Marketers earn in Australia?

The pay opportunities for Social Media Marketers in Australia reflect an industry that’s expanding quickly and always on the hunt for skilled professionals. 

The latest figures document the average Social Media Marketer salary in Australia as $90,000. Even Junior Social Media Marketers earn an average annual salary of $78,500, while Senior Social Media Marketers command $117,620 per year.   

Becoming a Social Media Marketer

How hard is it to learn Social Media Marketing?

Whatever your starting point, learning Social Media Marketing is not as tricky as you might think. That said, it does take time to understand the theory that underpins an effective Social Media Marketing strategy. You’ll also need plenty of practice to get to grips with the most popular platforms and the industry’s latest tools. For these reasons, it’s advantageous to undergo formal training as a Social Media Marketer

Where can I train as a Social Media Marketer?     

There are many options when it comes to qualifying as a Social Media Marketer. Traditional universities offer Bachelor of Digital Marketing degrees, which cover Social Media Marketing but normally take 3-4 years to complete. 

There’s little expectation for Social Media Marketers to be university qualified, with most employers and prospective clients prioritising skills, experience and a good portfolio over a degree. 

As a result, more people are enrolling in condensed bootcamp-style courses, which prepare graduates for the industry in a much shorter period of time. These courses focus on the hands-on skills that today’s Social Media Marketers need to make an impact in the industry.

What Social Media Marketing courses does Academy Xi offer?

Academy Xi offers practical, industry-recognised training that’s designed for digital careers. 

Our Social Media Marketing: Elevate is perfect if you want to boost your career with in-demand Social Media Marketing skills, offering you the chance to:

  • Level up your social media skills and take on a new role or promote your business
  • Develop an end-to-end social media strategy and put it into action
  • Set goals, measure results and use analytics to refine your approach
  • Build skills applicable in a wide range of industries

Want to discuss your transferable skills and course options? Chat to a course advisor today.

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