In some regard, you probably connect people every day—whether you introduce two friends to each other or share a co-worker's contact information with a client. But if you love working with people and helping them make significant connections with other people and experiences, you can actually make a career out of it.
In fact, we found five social media professionals who work in very different capacities but essentially do the same thing: They connect people, both online and in person. For some, that means giving companies an easier way to engage with their customers; for others, it's pairing up compatible individuals for real-life dates.
To find out more about how to land a career like that—as well as some of the amazing things these professionals get to do on a daily basis—we chatted with these social media pros about their career paths and what led them to their current roles.
Michelle Dozios first read about HowAboutWe on Twitter—and after a series of friend-of-a-friend type connections, she landed a meeting with the founder of the company. They instantly clicked, and a few months later when a position opened up, she landed the role of community manager. Eventually, her responsibilities began to focus on content, and the gig morphed into editor-in-chief.
Now, she oversees HowAboutWe's blog and newsletter, making sure fresh dating and relationship content is readily available to the company's users. "At the end of the day, we want to change how people meet people and how people date and sustain relationships."
Community Manager, Pinterest
When Enid Hwang first discovered Pinterest, she jumped in full force—and not just by going on a pin frenzy. After trying out the product, she decided she wanted to meet the founders. And after meeting up with them for coffee and some product feedback, she found herself with a new job.
One of the most exciting parts of her job is the heartfelt stories she collects from the site's users about how Pinterest has affected their lives—from eating healthier to planning dream weddings to getting through tough life events with the help of pinboards full of inspirational quotes. "It's been incredible. All of them are amazing." (And she's no stranger to those types of heartwarming stories—she met her boyfriend on Pinterest!)
Growth Marketing Manager, Facebook
Brian Piepgrass always considered himself a "startup guy," focusing mainly on early-stage companies that had the potential to grow to double, triple, or even 10 times their current size. So when he was offered a position at Facebook—which had 500 million users at the time—it didn't seem like the right fit. But his now-boss assured him there was still plenty of room for growth: "We literally want to get everyone in the world onto the platform."
So with that goal of about five billion users, Piepgrass quickly realized that Facebook was still very much an early-stage company. Eventually, the company's vision is to allow those five billion people to communicate, talk to each other, and have deeper connections in their lives. As the Growth Marketing Manager, he directly influences that goal, collaborating with teams across the company to enhance the user experience.
Lead Product Manager, Livefyre
With the goal of becoming a city planner, Natasha Mooney majored in urban studies in college. But equally drawn to the internet, technology, and startups, she looked for a way that she could use her passion for connecting people in a digital space—and Livefyre was the perfect place to do that.
"It's easy to think of us as a simple commenting system," she shares, "but that's absolutely not true. We are solving really incredible needs." For Mooney, that means working with multiple teams (including engineering, design, and operations) to build tools that facilitate realtime web conversations—so that clients of any size can effectively engage their users.
Senior VP, Human Resources, Lithium
Even with an MBA and a degree in human resources, Jennifer Trzepacz began her career in finance—where she quickly realized she'd rather follow her original career goal of working in HR. But within that industry, she immediately saw the importance of social media and the potential that social software company Lithium had to become a pioneer in the field, and she wanted to be a part of that.
"We are onto something fairly big," she shares, explaining that companies and their CEOs are beginning to see the importance of managing their social media channels as a way to engage with their consumers. "And we are at the forefront of pioneering those types of engagements and transactions."