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Emerging Occupations

Social Media Specialist

In general, social media specialists create and manage an organization's public profile on social networking websites and use interactive technology (for example, blogging, podcasts) to build online communities.

This is an emerging occupation. It may have evolved from an existing occupation or emerged in response to consumer needs or technological advances.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 16,900
  • In Demand Lower
NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

This occupation has not yet received an official NOC code. However, it is considered similar to the following historical NOC codes. CAUTION—As this occupation is only similar to these NOC codes, related details and labour market information may not be accurate:

  • 2006 NOC: Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications (5124) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications (F024) 
  • 2011 NOC: Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations (1123) 
Skills Shortage*

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Social Media Specialist occupation
Average Wage*
*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Social Media Specialist occupation
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Social Media Specialist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

*The Social Media Specialist is similar to this NOC group
Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications

Interest in co-ordinating information to prepare and oversee preparation of reports, briefs, bibliographies, speeches, presentations, Web sites and press releases, and to develop and organize workshops, meetings, ceremonies and other events for publicity, fund-raising and information purposes


Interest in gathering, researching and preparing communications material for internal and external audiences, and in assisting in the preparation of brochures, reports, newsletters and other material


Interest in persuading to initiate and maintain contact with the media, and to arrange interviews and news conferences; and in co-ordinating special publicity events and promotions to internal and external audiences

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 19, 2016

Social media specialist is an emerging occupation within the field of public relations. Social media specialists market their organizations on the web and use a variety of tools and strategies to create a targeted, well-branded online presence for the organization. In general, social media specialists:

  • manage the organization's presence on social networking sites (for example, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, blogs, forums)
  • monitor social media sites for potential issues that could affect the organization
  • identify opportunities to engage stakeholders in conversations designed to solicit opinions, stimulate debates, clarify facts and other activities aimed at increasing transparency
  • develop and execute strategic marketing and communication plans to build active and sustainable online communities for the organization
  • use a wide variety of social media tools (for example, blogging, social bookmarking, tagging) to create and maintain an online presence
  • conduct public opinion and attitude surveys online to identify the interests and concerns of key groups served by the organization
  • identify key performance indicators, evaluate the effectiveness of social media events or campaigns and report results to senior managers
  • create, execute and monitor social media campaigns
  • write editorials and promotional material and create content for various social media channels
  • train and advise staff on the use of social media channels
  • audit current use of social media channels for effectiveness and return on investment (ROI)
  • develop social media guidelines for the organization
  • manage online discussion forums and respond to web inquiries from the public
  • maintain awareness of social technology and related trends.

More senior or advanced social media specialists also may work closely with the organization's information technology staff to:

  • define and implement search engine optimization strategies to maximize the organization's search ranking
  • update the organization's website
  • identify and train appropriate staff to respond to specific inquiries from the public through social media channels (for example, services, strategic communication, crisis management).
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Social media specialists spend most of their working time in offices using computers. They generally work on several projects at a time, and meeting project deadlines may require working overtime. Travel may be required to attend meetings and give presentations. Some social media specialists, particularly in the private sector, may be required to monitor social media platforms outside of regular office hours, such as in the evenings and on weekends.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Social media specialists need the following characteristics:

  • creativity
  • initiative
  • good oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • excellent interpersonal skills including, good consultation, training and negotiation skills
  • the ability to analyze problems and find practical solutions
  • the ability to deal with ambiguity
  • excellent organizational and time management skills
  • a desire to keep up with changing technology.

They should enjoy:

  • co-ordinating information and finding innovative ways to handle problems
  • taking a methodical approach to gathering, researching and editing information
  • persuading and influencing people.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Most emerging occupations develop from more than 1 occupation and therefore social media specialists may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Prior to enrolling in an education program, prospective students should contact associations and employers in this field to investigate education options and employment possibilities.

Employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor's degree in marketing, information technology, journalism, public relations or communications plus demonstrated experience using:

  • social networks within an organizational and personal context
  • online community building techniques
  • RSS feeds (Rich Site Summary, a format for delivering regularly changing web content), website coding languages, Flash, forums and blogs
  • website content management systems
  • search engine optimization and social media optimization tools.

For more information about:

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Edmonton

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Red Deer

British Columbia Institute of Technology

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Red Deer

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care- Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care- Edmonton City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Robertson College - Calgary NW

Robertson College - Edmonton

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • an increased human need (for example, new services)
  • technological advances
  • greater specialization within an occupation.

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation, but future demand for social media specialists is unknown.

Social media specialists work for large organizations, such as:

  • international not-for-profit organizations
  • large corporations
  • governments
  • post-secondary schools.

In smaller organizations maintaining the company's online profile may be the responsibility of the marketing or public relations staff, a webmaster or a senior manager.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, no current salary data is available for this occupation.

*The social media specialist is similar to this NOC group
Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.65 $59.38 $31.38 $29.75
Overall $18.50 $66.29 $39.06 $35.38
Top $20.00 $90.40 $47.02 $41.47

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
Public Administration
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Educational Services
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
Wholesale Trade
Transportation and Warehousing
Business, Building and Other Support Services
Information, Culture, Recreation
Accommodation & Food Services
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Computer and Information Technology
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) website:

International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 24, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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