Confessions of a Social Media Strategist/Executive

People don’t get your job. Correction, people don’t actually believe that you work when they find that you’re either online on Facebook all day or even if you appear offline, see a flurry of repins, retweets, hash tags on every status & comment.

Social media has become a habit for most of our daily lives where we eat – check Facebook – go to work – tweet about current affairs – go to a restaurant – check in & tag friends and instagram mundane moments. And while we may sit and judge each other for making our personal/private lives to be intruded by many we barely know, these judgmental dynamics apply differently to those who tweet, pin & Facebook for a living.

I’m actually too busy to make ‘small talk’ on Facebook chat & ping only if its business and actually procrastinate on putting up pictures of me chugging beer at the party last night. But that doesn’t matter because people love to sit and judge my ‘availability’ and the surplus time I apparently have by how frequently I make an appearance on their newsfeed or timeline.

It’s a fun job,  I’ll give you that.

But much like doing the event management for the Metallica concert, it’s a lot of work (yes, believe me!) and a lot of stress. When social media is your job, you often find yourself in the middle of an identity crisis between being like a pushy salesman and like a marketing executive.

Try convincing just 50 people (who are not your friends and I don’t mean the purely Facebook kind) to come and like a page on anything under the sun, whether it’s a new product or service and you’ll know.

The worst kind of tactic, and I say this from experience, is to personally ping or request people to like a page because then you only come off as desperate and terrible at your job, not to mention the fact that it takes the credibility away from the brand or idea you were trying to convince them to ‘like’ in the first place. To draw a line from being persuasive or pushy is tough and somewhat grey both in the real and the online world.

Numbers are the only thing that social media currently sails on. Ironically, this acts as a boon in the widespread ‘virality’ across cities, countries and communities but can also be relied upon only as much as the good old statistical data – yep fudged and fictitious at a lot of things in between. And when your job hinges on the targets and goals of fans, followers, likes, comments, shares, WTFs, OMGs, likes on the comments etc., trust me I personally don’t give a damn if its your birthday or if you got engaged.

I do, however, see you in a whole different light of respect and evangelism when I see that you shared something from the page that I’m an admin of (In all likelihood, that’s the only time I take notice of you. Liking my previous posts didn’t do it).

Now if you’re like me, you externally pretend not to give two hoots about numbers or, in other words, believe in a whole lot more genuine engagement rather than taking any value from a boatload of ‘India vs. Pakistan’, ‘Justin Bieber is so Gay’ & ‘Yo Mamma so fat’ comments and the countless number of ‘insecure because I couldn’t come up with an original line’ piggyback likes.

Now this part of the job is something I compare more to that of an editor, who must offer something that their audience can connect to because people have stopped reading on Facebook unless it’s a meme and Twitter has the attention span of 140 characters. And to satisfy this need, I cannot just offer up boobs, S&M, Viagra, Hentai, cats or Justin Bieber (well, not always). That’d just make me a ‘Mad Man’ type of advertiser.

I want to grab their attention and have it held by something that adds information, meaning, awareness and excitement to their lives. And doing that is challenging. If you don’t believe me, then take a poll of how many friends or followers have had two thoughts about reporting your post as spam or abusive at some point during this very day. You won’t be too happy with the results.

So, the next time you mistakably see me online with a green button in front of my name or see me posting or retweeting anyone, just know that I am at work!

Featured image: boltron-