July 21, 2009

Who is the social media strategist?

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:55 pm by R

An excellent post on Brazen Careerist (a fantastic network of Gen-Y bloggers, which the ladies at CMSF happen to be a part of) gave me pause to think about a new job description — Social Media Strategist.

I was reading an article on Mashable the other day and somehow I ended up in the ‘Jobs’ section which I have never even seen before. I checked it out and was quite surprised when I saw some positions where one of the requirements was “at least 8 years in Social Media…” I sat and thought to myself what exactly this meant. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social network sites and even they haven’t been around for 8 years, so what do they mean by 8 years of experience in social media?

Touche! So then is the Social Media Strategist a Gen-Y specific person? I’d love to say yes– as the practice is native to our generation’s skill set — but I’m going to have to say that, no, this is not a position exclusive to one generation.

I know some EXCELLENT social media strategists who don’t fall squarely inside the lines of Gen-Y (a la @charschaff and @joePRguy).  They are stellar communicators. They understand that the right message is critical and social media is an opportunity to distribute those well-crafted communications effectively.  I’m sure that there are many, many non-Gen-Y  social media aces out there.

A company looking for someone with “8 years experience in social media” probably means they want an individual who has several years experience in communications and has been up-to-speed with social media since it’s emergence.

Gen-Yers are uniquely positioned to be social media strategists though, because, as I mentioned previously, it’s a native skill. We were the first adapters. We were the first target audience. We are still the main guinea pigs for new features, etc. So, as this medium evolves we will (presumably) be working with a knowledge base that makes new functionality and other evolutions easy to integrate into strategic planning and communications.

So how do you take yourself from fancying Facebook to serious strategist?

Soak in everything you can on the topic. (Huge undertaking, I know.) The more you know about utilizing and monitoring social media, the more brilliant the plans you can hatch as a social media strategist.

I believe the social media strategist will hold an important position in nearly every company in the very near future, but for now, we should all be social media strategists for ourselves in crafting personal, on-line brands.

And certainly in this day and age, social media strategist is a competency that every good PR practitioner must be armed with.

~R

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