Social media is on the rise and it’s only just begun. Currently there are more than 500 PR firms and interactive agencies that have or are planning to set up a Social Media team. Small to medium scale businesses have taken to Facebook and Twitter. Bigger brands spend millions each year on their social media campaigns. Every brand monitors and caters to thousands of conversations.
These days, everyone who knows the basic fundamentals of using internet space is considered eligible for internet marketing. And anyone with a Facebook and Twitter account calls himself a social media expert.
Social media’s horizon seems to be ever increasing on the internet. It is no longer only about websites and forums. While big players like Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate, LinkedIn, Blogs and Pinterest are hot on their heels. We may very well have more platforms than we can count 5 years down the line. It would be humanly impossible to learn about every nuance of every platform. The amount of work that goes behind handling a brand’s social media presence is not a one-man job any more. Below is a list of some of the job profiles required in a Social Media team.
- Content Writing
- Content execution
- Creative designer
- Engagements/Strategy director
- Quality Check
- Application developer
- Business development
And the list keeps growing. With the amount of changes that Facebook and other platforms undergo, it is impossible for any one person to keep track of all the numerous updates and monitor every platform thoroughly.
Can a socially active intern be crowned as a Social Media Expert?
Three years ago, when I gave my first interview for a job in social media, I was asked for my Facebook profile and my blog that I frequently updated. At that time, these were enough to get me the job. . It took me an entire year after to actually understand the true depth of Social Media. In social media, there is no end to learning. Because while you were busy mastering Facebook and Twitter, someone decided to launch Pinterest. There are constantly new things to learn about and understand.
Times have drastically changed since the days of my first interview. If you go for a Social Media interview today, they ask for your LinkedIn profile first and then may be your blog to assess your written communication. A background check may be done to see how active you are on social media platforms. There may be a written test to authenticate your writing prowess and to measure how deep your roots are in the field.
In social media world, you are not an expert if you have a 1000 followers on twitter, or 10000 views on your blogs. The scale of your social media expertise no longer depends on your quantitative achievement. It depends on how vast your knowledge of social media is.
Engineers are technical experts because they have rigorously studied it for four years or more. Doctors are medical experts because they have studied medicine for four years or more.
Then should not one study social media to master it?
The challenge we face in Social Media is that it is not taught in schools or colleges. It is not a subject. We are living in an era where the social media knowledge is passed from one person to another. We learn from our mentors. This may not be the case forever. Somewhere in future, social media may become a major in colleges.
Brand or individual, your personality online reflects the way people imagine you offline.
Social Media plays an important role in the life of both the businessman and the individual. It has revolutionized communication and made it easier for people to connect, share and exchange ideas. In the current scenario, social media is being used by two categories of people:
1. Those who use it for brand building
2. Those who use it for profile building
Companies and brands using SM to drive sales fall into the first category. The second category is for individuals like you and I who want to be known for our speciality as a blogger, influencer or an enthusiast.
Internet is a powerful weapon for every marketing strategy. For guaranteed success, it is important that you understand the medium. And understanding anything comes only from studying it.
Various people are scattered all over the internet. You will never find them all in one place. Simply having a website is not enough anymore. If you do not know where to find your audience, you might just be wasting your time looking in all the wrong places.
Facebook and Twitter have become core platforms for businesses. Both the platforms boast of millions of active users. Conversing with the vast number potential customers online is also an art. Proper training is required to leverage it correctly.
What platform to target?
Where to find your target audience?
How to converse with your target audience?
How to share interesting content & create engagements?
How to turn unhappy customers into happy customers & win their loyalty?
To solve this pyramid of questions, one needs proper planning. And you know what they say about planning - “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
Selling yourself or selling a brand can be a mammoth task on social media. No one likes aggressive promotion in their personal territory. At some point in time, a strategy will be needed to please the audience and to benefit your business simultaneously.
This might be another important reason why one needs a deeper knowledge of social media.
Internet is a strong force in today’s world. It can make or break an image in a heartbeat. In order to be able to successfully leverage this medium, it is important that one understands the fundamentals and its functionalities.
Some learning centres have started offering courses in social media. If you are planning to take social media as a serious career opportunity, it is better to be prepared rather than to jump into the field directly.
Most agencies encourage their teams to take social media workshops. If you find any such workshop near you, it is best not to miss it for your own good.
While this seems to be our only means to hone our social media skills, let’s wait and watch if social media finds its way in school/college curriculam anytime soon.
Featured image: John-Morgan