Social Media Marketing Employee

How to Kickstart a Career in Social Media Marketing

7 February 2024
Posted in: Career Hub

Social media is essential today for nearly every organisation. From big corporations to small local businesses, how you market yourself online is vital in making people understand what you do.

People are increasingly carving exciting careers for themselves working in social media marketing. Such jobs allow you to be creative, analytical and highly impactful. You also interact with a wide range of people in varied, multi-faceted jobs.

To understand more about how to kickstart a career in social media marketing, we spoke to Director of PR, Marketing & Communications at City Lit, Gordon Chi. Gordon has more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and has worked in various industries from global e-commerce and fintech to higher education.

Gordon Chi (second to left) with Head of Programme for Business and Technology Voula Papadopolous (right) and the PR, Marketing & Communications Team at City LitGordon Chi (second to left) with Head of Programme for Business and Technology Voula Papadopolous (right) and the PR, Marketing & Communications Team at City Lit
Gordon Chi (second to left) with Head of Programme for Business and Technology Voula Papadopolous (right) and the PR, Marketing & Communications Team at City Lit

Were you always interested in marketing?

I actually started off working as an English teacher for a couple of years and then went into academia to research applied linguistics. But I always had my eye on marketing. It’s an ever-changing landscape, so it seemed like an area I could challenge myself in and enjoy. I wanted to get into it for the thrill of it and the excitement.

Another reason is that I’ve always been interested in technology. The technology and data analytics behind marketing fascinates me.

How were you able to make a career change into marketing?

The turning point for me was after I did a Level 3 Certificate in Marketing. That’s what gave me essential skills and credibility when I applied for jobs.

I would get interviews and could actually talk about specific topics in marketing, even though I did not have years of experience yet. It gave me confidence. I ended up getting my first marketing job off the back of the course.

Good commuicator with her teamGood commuicator with her team
Being a good communicator is integral for social media marketing. Credit: iStock

In your experience, what personal attributes should a social media marketer have?

The first and most important attribute is curiosity about the world — having a natural curiosity about the people around you and the community you live in. But also, it’s good to know about the latest technological trends and the global economy. It’s important to stay ahead.

The other is a genuine passion for social media. You must enjoy using it and browsing online, to understand it from a customer’s point of view. Like any other job, you will have a much better chance of success if it’s something you have a genuine personal interest in.

The turning point for me was after I did a Level 3 Certificate in Marketing. That’s what gave me essential skills and credibility when I applied for jobs.

There are also technical skills involved in marketing. What are some of the most important?

In general, you have to be technologically aware and a confident computer user. As we’ve talked about, you need to be familiar with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. But a good marketer also has a deep understanding of the technology behind websites and campaigns, such as Content Management Systems (CMS). Knowing a CMS is a must for every marketer working for commercial businesses. This can help you to create and manage content, improve website performance and ultimately make your business successful.

Knowing UX/UI design is also another important string to a marketer's bow. Being able to evaluate the design and user experience of a website will put you in a better position with employers.

Image of Content Management SystemImage of Content Management System
Content Management Systems are an important part of commerical businesses. Credit: Rudzan Nagiev

What soft skills are beneficial for a career in social media marketing?

The main one is being a good communicator — it’s the key to marketing. You've got to be able to tell an engaging story and communicate with your audience, whether that’s through words or visual aids such as images and videos. You also need to be able to communicate and collaborate within your team or your organisation. When you’re creating and launching a campaign from scratch, it is never just one person’s effort. It requires other people’s input and teamwork. If you are in social media marketing, you’ll need to work in tandem with people who have different technical skills from you. That’s the beauty of running a successful campaign.

What would you say to someone who wants to get into marketing but didn’t study it at university?

For those who don’t have a degree in the subject, I would highly recommend getting a professional qualification such as a Level 3 Certificate course in marketing. It’s what I did. It gives you all the essential skills you need and the credibility to get that job you really want.

The ‘Level 3 Certificate in Social Media for E-Commerce, Gateway Qualifications’ is a great one to consider. For those who want to get into creative or digital sectors but don’t already have a lot of experience, it’s perfect.


The ‘Level 3 Certificate in Social Media for E-Commerce, Gateway Qualifications’ is not the only accredited business and technology course that we run. At City Lit, we have a number of other courses that are designed specifcally to boost your career. Have a browse by clicking on the button below.


Learn something new at City Lit

Short & Long Courses | Daytime | Evenings | Weekdays | Weekends