Natalie Franklin, a 22-year-old senior at San Francisco State University, gets paid to do what most of us do for free: surf Facebook and Twitter. Such is the life for the marketing major who was able to parlay an internship into a real job.
How She Got In: Natalie had an internship with Cross Marketing, a San Francisco-based PR company that works with clients in the fashion, entertainment, lifestyle, nonprofit and retail industries. She had a great experience, and about six months later, decided to meet with the company's owner to get advice on getting into the PR industry after college. [Editor's note: It's always good to keep in touch with former bosses, especially when you liked the job.]
"It just so happens that before this meeting I kept bugging her on how she needs to get on Twitter and how she should be using her Facebook account for her business and so on," Natalie explained. "So, during the meeting I started bugging her again, and I was sharing with her the many benefits of social networking." Natalie was convincing enough, and she was hired on the spot to handle the company's social media needs.
What She Does: The only qualifications Natalie needed were having the time to set up and maintain profiles on the various social sites and knowing how to use them. She spends her time posting about her company and events that it's hosting for clients. She also fields questions about her company daily. "For example, this week is our Banana Republic launch in Las Vegas, so I will be talking about that a great deal to get people interested in not only the launch, but Banana Republic itself," she said.
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In addition to posting information about her company and its clients, Natalie has to stay up on the industries her company represents, so she spends a lot of time reading Web sites and magazines. A byproduct of having to be so connected is that she finds herself "working" off the clock.
"I am glued to my computer or working from my Blackberry all day, almost everyday," she said. "Not that it's a requirement, but it's like I've become addicted. It happens when your work also happens to be something that's fun for you to do, so I don't mind one bit."
It helps, too, that the pay is decent -- social media managers make anywhere from $35,000 to $75,000 a year depending on experience, according to the site PayScale.com.
"The pay is great!" Natalie said. "Again, I absolutely love this stuff and I feel like any day this could all end because people are going to catch on that they are essentially paying me to have fun."
How You Can Get a Similar Gig: "My advice for someone looking into getting into this is simple: Be a go-getter!" Natalie said. "A lot of companies aren't necessarily looking for people to do this stuff, because it's not a common position. Furthermore, most companies don't realize they need you until you tell them they do ... Just remember: Aggressiveness will get you further than you can imagine, and at the end of the day, the worst a company can say is 'No, thank you.'"
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