Social Media Manager career

This type of advice always strikes a chord with me. It’s one thing to say: “tweeting about your day and instagramming your foodie pics” is not a career choice—that most certainly is true. It’s also true that made up titles around social media equates to having a made up job– as evidenced by the 18, 000+ social media gurus on Linkedin. However, implying that having the words “social media” in your job title means that your job is irrelevant is simply misguided– and can discourage people from entering into an emerging space that is rife with opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that “Social Media Managers” at companies will continue to hold all aspects of social media for their organizations. As I showed in this slideshare, it’s a cross-departmental, cross-functional set of tools that needs a variety of different people who buy in across a company. However, just like any tools that exist, there are people who have a fundamental understanding of how to use them, and those that simply don’t.

As a CEO of a (gasp!) full service social media agency, I believe strongly that there are key areas within social media upon which you may build a career. These areas will survive the emergence and dissipation of networks, tools, and philosophies. So, if you’re a recent 20-something, know a recent 20-something, or even just have an interest in making a career change—I’d look at these areas to withstand the test of time.

Social advertising is different from traditional and digital advertising. It requires an understanding of social behavior that goes way beyond re-targeting platforms. For emerging networks to survive, they will need to find innovative social ad solutions, and becoming an expert in the placement, optimization, and reporting of social ads will be key going forward. Will it be a part of an overall digital ad budget? Yes. Is it an entirely different beast? YES.

Service: Customer Service has been around since the beginning of business. Understanding the impact that social media can have on customer service is something that will take time and resources. Trust me when I tell you that companies will need to ramp up their social listening and customer service. This is way beyond a PR or social agency pulling a Radian 6 report. This is investing in resources that understand 1-1 communication. Companies hate when I say this—because it’s hard. But make no mistake, it’s something that companies will need to do as social media becomes more and more integrated into the overall consumer experience, and that takes staff. Staff that understands how to listen—both proactively and reactively.

Data: I remember something that Adam Kmiec, Digital Head of Campbell’s once said—social media is data rich and insight poor. There will be an entire new job sector built on understanding the data of social media. Want to get into a complex, exciting field within social? Start there.

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