i’m sorry but I don’t “do” social media.
actually, any professional worth their salt doesn’t “do” social media.
sure, you’ll find folks who say that they are social media mavens or experts. they’ll promise you increased sales, more followers, and red velvet cupcakes with gold foil on top. the Ritz Carlton.
and sure, you’ll find folks who’ll pad their resume with flowery descriptions and grandiose jargon - but the simple truth is this: no one “does” social media.
it’s communicative roots
so i still have the ‘why social media should live in communications’ blog post in me, but i won’t go there (fully) today. what i will say is this: communication is a two-way dialogue, and social media (at its apex) is a two-way conversation. so why shouldn’t a communications professional manage your social media presence? (that’s a trick question, a social media manager should absolutely manage your social media presences.)
so let’s stop it with the games, social media is a conversation with all of your publics. it’s 24/7 engagement…it’s carefully crafted narratives free from gaffes…it’s public relations and marketing strategies turned tactics. it is communication and that is where it should live organizationally.
so just how do you “do” social media?
you don’t “do” social media. it does you. let me explain.
when you decide to play in that space, you’ve decided to take on all that social media entails. that means that you’ve agreed to become a customer service point, a marketing tool, and reputation management dashboard, and a crisis communication instrument.
you’re saying to the world that you’ve committed to becoming a listening ear all day and night; whether you staff someone at 3am on Friday morning. you’re saying that you are savvy enough to be here, therefore you are savvy enough to know how it works. but i promise you this: you never knew it would be this hard.
so what do you do next? (after you’ve realized that you weren’t prepared.) you post a job for a ‘social media maven’ with over 10 years of experience [hint- no one has 10 years of experience in social media] and you interview millennials who grew up with phones attached to their hands. but you’re doing it wrong. you’re looking for someone to “do” social media because you have no clue how it works and you just want it to go away.
i’ll make it plain. you don’t “do” social media. social media is a tool. would you “do” press releases? no. so once you’ve come to terms that this new thingamabob on the interwebs should be apart of a larger organizational strategy, you’ll hire smart and find someone who understands how to utilize social media (as an engagement, reputation management, marketing, public relations) tool. you’re welcome.
we just want some respect
if you’re a social media manager, you’re wondering why you don’t have a seat at the C-Suite table. you’re problaby thinking: “i know more about their customer’s than they do, i interact with them daily, and i can spot trends in a virtual instant.” you also have a keen eye on the organization’s reputation. the daily monitoring of your organization’s brand keeps you in the proverbial loop, and your consultative role is valuable in today’s fast paced world — whether they realize it or not.
so why is it that folks keep sending you jobs at other companies that match your exact, current job description? i don’t know either. so let’s keep it real, once you’ve done the job at one place, you’ve done it everywhere. it’s not desirable to leave one job where you’ve learned just about every aspect of the business just to start over again someplace else. what is desirable is the ability to move up. your position has placed you at the center of all business operations and you may not even be aware of . (or maybe you are and you’re shaking your head in agreement.)
so what’s next? how about a move up? strategy? r&d? communications chief? heck, why not CEO? well, maybe you’re not quite ready for CEO, but you are ready for the next step — and there’s probably no one at your organization that is more ready than you.
but how do you go about letting other’s know that you are ready?
okay, so remember how i said that no one is a social media expert. well, i lied (only a litle).
you might not be an expert in the development of the tools. you may not have the next start-up idea in your head. but you sure do know a lot about what work’s best for your company and it took a lot of trial and error to figure it out. so maybe you are an expert after all.
now is the time to leverage that expertise.
first, stop telling folks you “do” social media when you know full well that it’s more involved than that. any teenager can start a Facebook fan page, but it takes a community manager to cultivate loyal and engaged supporters. tell folks that. when they say: “we need a Facebook page”, you tell them: “you might not, but the only way i’ll know is if I can conduct a SWOT and Gap anaylsis.”
don’t be afraid to tell them the truth, not what they want to hear. you’ll be seen as a professional, and the organization will be better for it.
next, take all of the information and experience and document it. a blog is a good idea, but don’t stop there. use those social media tools to brand yourself at the same time. start a vlog, host a weekly web show, tweet like your life depends on it. but just do it. Nike.
lastly, get serious about your career. let’s be real, a social media manager will become as common as a receptionist 10 years from now. do you still want to be playing around on the Internet in 10 years? i don’t.
so figure how to make that next professional move — a tech start-up, your own company, or the c-suite. just figure it out sooner than later – and stop telling people that you “do” social media. #now!