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Getting paid to tweet

When likes can turn into lakhs

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Your social media skills could make you rich. Businesses need help running their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

It's probably a dream job for many: Getting paid to tweet and post pictures on Facebook all day. Social media managers, or gurus as some like to call themselves, do just that and some more. From making sure the brand's page gets a large number of likes and followers in a short period of time, to dealing with consumer complaints and rants online, the job isn't as easy as it appears.

Requirements and skills for this new-age profession include being proficient in English and the ability to think of catchy one-liners.

"It's like an advertising job, only we have to create campaigns for the web, " says Jennifer Bharucha, a social media manager at Foxy Moron. The 24-year-old's daily routine includes posting three status updates on the Facebook pages of Cadbury's Bournville and Maybelline NewYork.

"I have to be creative and make sure the posts are interesting enough, " she adds saying it's an added advantage if you're an active blogger and have a large number of connections on LinkedIn. A social media manager also has to create and manage content for web and mobile apps, blogs and vlogs for video sites like YouTube.

Some of the biggest challenges of the job include thinking of ways to get more views and likes on a page. Clients demand targets like: "Get me one million Likes on Facebook in 6 months" or "I want more followers than my competitor".

And while most big companies have their own in-house social media marketer, others outsource the work to digital media agencies. One such agency is two-year-old Sampath Iyengar's Neosocial 7 Media Solutions.

"I started the company after realising that many small businesses and professionals could benefit from having a Facebook page, " says the former hardware engineer who attended five courses on digital marketing before starting up. "For people who want to learn skills and tricks of the trade, they can attend meets, workshops and tweetups organised by pros in the industry, " he adds.

Iyengar offers Facebook solutions at a cheaper rate as compared to his competitors. "I charge about Rs 5, 000 to maintain a Facebook page. It's a reasonable price for businesses that have no web presence and need it to find more customers. "

A large number of people who handle the social networking accounts of celebrities and companies in India are graduates fresh out of college. Bharucha's company Foxy Moron for example was started by two 24-year olds. "Social media managers get paid anything from Rs 15, 000 to about 1 lakh a month, " says Bharucha.

And although the industry is young, it already has its own list of ethics. Gurus frown upon agencies that create "fake profiles" to ensure more fans and followers.

Today, the role of a social media specialist could also include taking down orders for fast-food joints or replying to consumer rants on networking sites. Networking sites have also become a tool for consumers to post about faulty products and companies are making sure their 'social media gurus' address every query, rant or word of praise about their brand on the Internet.

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