While businesses of all types have positions that require unique skills, there are jobs at every company that are virtually identical. For decades the job description of a secretary or executive assistant might have read: “Must be proficient at dictation, type 70 words per minute or more, handle scheduling, calendars, telephones and have the ability to multi-task.” Today, a new job description, “Social Media,” is popping up in help wanted ads across a broad spectrum of business categories. Director, assistant or coordinator might follow the description, but responsibilities are the same. The job description reads“Must be proficient with Facebook, Twitter, My Space, Buzz, blogging and any of about 20 other social networking websites that are commonly used.
When you visit a company’s website or a blog, there are options to share and connect. I know you have seen them, those tiny squares that look like iPhone app icons. One click and you can share website content with all of your family, friends and colleagues. Social networking began with people sharing with other people on a personal level. As far back as AOL chat, people began connecting. As the Internet grew, specialized websites began to offer ways to connect to friends and family. With the rise of My Space early in the last decade, there was an explosion of social outlets, and the name “Social Networking” was given to this new genre.
It didn’t take long for the companies to learn that social networking was an important tool for product and service awareness and growth. The business community began to join by the masses. Being socially connected means your company has the resources to personally connect with a vast network of people, shorten the lag time between new product or event launches and mass awareness and reduce the expense of traditional advertising. Wondrous, but the time requirements for a company to participate can strain resources.
There is also much to learn to effectively participate and maintain a membership with each social network. Flash back to the secretarial job description above. While unintended, in many small and medium sized businesses, the secretary was the logical person to task with these new responsibilities. As if his or her job was not demanding enough, he or she would have to create accounts, master the use of each social membership, and then maintain the account with updates. Social Marketing, as it is now sometimes referred, to has become a job worthy of its own title and position within a company.
A quick perusal of Craigslist help wanted postings in major urban centers reveals that companies are now seeking qualified individuals who are social networking experts to handle Social Marketing. Is there training for this? How does one become a social networking expert? The technology has outpaced training. Only time will tell if the commercialization of social networking will drive away the intended audience or if there will be a backlash of people who begin to feel burdened by being too connected 24/7 and withdraw. You have to ask yourself if you really want to know what someone had for lunch everyday. On my Facebook page just the other day a neighbor announced that his child had just gone to the bathroom without diapers for the first time. Is this too much information? Yes. But that will have to work itself out as social media matures and people decide what role it will play in their lives. Until then, small businesses and corporate America have realized that this very personal platform reaches people and sells products and services.
So where does this leave your company and its need to enter the social media market? Will you add duties to an existing job or hire it out? Internet Marketing companies offer cost effective social media management for businesses that do not have the human resources or budget to add new personnel. New training courses are now being offered in social media here and there. In my opinion this is a massive new job opportunity because of the need at every small, medium and large company. The young among us will be best suited to fill these positions as time goes by because they have spent their youth in training and have mastered each social networking outlet as its popularity has risen. I also see this as a perfect opportunity for stay at home Moms and Dads who have to re-enter the workforce because of the recession. I recently heard a mother discussing that she is constantly having to learn new social services to keep up with her children.
Yes, she is qualified.