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Social media professionals are a fascinating bunch. Sit with them and you’ll realize that there are at least 4-5 different disciplines represented. In my immediate circle, there are those with PR, Marketing, Tech and Software backgrounds, Web and SEO, wait, I’m not done..Journalism, Digital design, and I even know someone with a scientific background. Phew! That’s an awful lot of talent wrapped up into one type of marketing. Why are there so many distinct backgrounds in social media? Because social media is new (Twitter is only 5 years old!), meaning professionals have migrated from different backgrounds. But it isn’t just that – social media combination of skills (marketing, PR, web, technical) and philosophies which merge together to create the social media field.
That’s why no one “owns” social media
The awesome thing for me about having this diverse group of people around me is that they each bring a different insight to a challenge or a campaign. The tech guy is going to help me understand whether my dream of actually having
someone live inside the computer can come true, while my web guy is up to date on all things SEO and programming, my science friend is going to remind me that before I do much else a process should be in place. My PR friends will strive to find ways to connect or create community and journalism friends are going to remind me about the need for great content and the digital design camp is going to say it won’t mean anything if it isn’t attractive to the eye. As for me, as a marketing professional, I bring the creative juice and the desire to track and measure the results. Several of us bring a multidisciplinary approach including agency or entrepreneurial elements, both of which are valuable insights. If you could wrap us all up together you’d have the ideal social media professional. But “that person” doesn’t exist…even in the most brilliant of us. But there IS brilliance in each of us.
Its takes a village
Raising a successful social media campaign takes more than one person. And, it takes more than the social media professional, it takes commitment from the client as well. As soon as you start discussing social media within any organization, you realize that it will have significant touch points into other areas of your business besides marketing: it will involve Customer Service, PR, Marketing, your “Web Guy”. So it is with social media, its unlikely that any single person can do an entire campaign soup-to-nuts alone. And there’s no shame in asking for help, support and or assistance. As social media professionals we can support one another in a way that makes everything we do better. Collaboration is a sign of strength, not weakness and we can make each other and our clients even more successful. In fact, social media in itself IS collaboration.
So when you find your chief:
Despite that wide range of professional backgrounds, social media professionals tend to be very collaborative. We reach out to one another for advice and assistance. We pay one another for formal or informal brainstorming sessions. We watch, we listen, we read from one another. When you hire a social media professional, ask them: “what areas of social media do you collaborate with others on?” that will help you understand their strengths. You should be more concerned when the person you talk to says they do it all themselves. For a true social media campaign or launch, several skill sets WILL be required. I have yet to meet a single person who can do it ALL on their own, in fact, the more I see collaboration, the more successful I see campaigns.
What do you think? If your a social media pro, do you collaborate much? If you are on the client side, how receptive are you to having your social media pro bring in others to support your campaign?