Three tips for graduates to excel in the digital marketing industry

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Daniel Goh

Daniel Goh – Native & Social Account Coordinator

Now that we are well and truly past the 2016 halfway mark, it is interesting to speculate how big the social media industry is and where it’s heading in 2017.

 

Personally, it is a very exciting time to be a recent university graduate entering the digital marketing space. This Excelacom infographic provides a 60-second snapshot of the activity that occurs on each social platform. Keep in mind that these figures were recorded at the beginning of the year, and are expected to grow substantially towards the end of 2016.

 

If you’re looking to get your foot in the door and excel in the digital marketing space, here are three tips to kickstart your career and build the motivation to find your passion.

 

1. Pave your own path

 

There isn’t just one career in marketing. If you’re not confident about where you want to go, it can be intimidating when your university alumni announce with certainty their expected career path.

 

But there are so many options. You can choose to work for an agency, work client-side with an in-house team or become an entrepreneur and start your own firm. There are also multiple disciplines in digital marketing, such as search, social media, email, content, mobile, display and programmatic advertising – to name just a few.

 

There was a term famously used by Rand Fishkin (co-founder and former CEO of Moz) called the “T-shaped” marketer, which can be summarised by the diagram below. The model suggests that digital marketers should have exposure to a broad range of marketing disciplines to build a strong foundation and then eventually specialise in two to three areas, depending on particular interests and passions.

 

So don’t fret if you haven’t found your calling straight after university. Take the time to explore different areas, and focus your efforts to develop your skills in disciplines that capture your interest.

 

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‘The T-Shaped Web Marketer’ model by Rand Fishkin, Moz

 

2. Never stop learning

 

This point is an extension of my first. It has been echoed by every professional in this industry and should be a mentality that is applied through all stages of your career. The nature of the internet and technology means that digital marketing is always evolving.

 

It is therefore important as a digital marketer to stay on top of current trends and products that can be useful to achieving client KPIs and executing campaigns. For example, how people watch video content has changed dramatically over the years – from 2012 to 2014, mobile video views increased by 400 per cent, with 50 per cent of video views in 2016 expected to be on mobile devices, according to Points Group.

 

Facebook introduced an autoplay feature that meant newsfeed videos would be initially muted. The below example from NowThis shows us how some businesses have adapted to the change – this particular video uses highlighted captions at the start to capture your attention.

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Facebook post from NowThis showing how businesses adapt to muted autoplay videos

 

It’s important to stay updated about the new products and changes that Facebook, Instagram, Google and other platforms introduce. As you build your knowledge and understanding of the digital marketing landscape, you can then begin to formulate a strategy for how new developments impact a client or campaign idea in the future. This will take time to develop as the digital marketing industry is always changing.

 

Here are a few blogs you may want to follow:

 

Additionally, there are plenty of free online courses and webinars to help boost your knowledge. Certified digital marketing qualifications like those from the Google Analytics Academy are great to have under your belt, and are widely recognised in the industry. I also use Lynda.com, which is highly recommended for learning. It’s an online education company owned by LinkedIn and offers thousands of video courses in software, creative and business skills.

 

Why not take advantage of all this information? Never stop learning – it will help you find your creativity.

 

3. Network

 

Networking is undoubtedly the single most powerful marketing strategy to advance and accelerate an individual’s career. In the future, your connections will be the backbone of your career development and you may be surprised by the opportunities that come from knowing the right people. This means attending industry meetups and conferences, connecting with key individuals and also producing content to build your social profile.

 

Networking within your own company is another great way to get exposure to all the different departments that work towards a common goal – meeting client objectives and helping them achieve more for their business. Investing in people and their personal lives will go a long way to building relationships. I also find a game of table tennis, no matter how good or bad you are, doesn’t hurt.

 

On a final note, it is important to surround yourself with professionals who have a variety of experiences in diverse environments, and also have a different mindset and approach to situations. Finding a mentor to help guide you in your career can go a long way. Your mentor may have experienced the journey you are about to embark on or they may be considered a close friend. I have found it can be extremely helpful to have someone who can advise you on your next career move, insights on the industry or even connect you with a great job opportunity.

 

I hope these tips will prove useful as you advance your career in this exciting industry.

 

What do you think are the essentials for succeeding in digital marketing? Be sure to share your thoughts below.

 

If you are looking for further information, definitely check out King Content’s blog, particularly ‘How can you make your audience remember you?’.