Why This Social Media Strategist Doesn’t Worry About Job Security

While browsing LinkedIn this evening, I came across A Requiem for the Social Media Specialist. It’s one of many posts this year that have proclaimed that most everyone with “social media” in their job title will be looking for a job sooner than they realize. It seems that these articles have increased proportionately with the social media marketing community’s increased whining about the lack of organic reach on Facebook. The premise of the articles are largely the same: the gurus promised that social media would provide a magical connection between businesses and customers that would result in engagement, and …. somehow that would result in money.

If you’re a social media marketer that talked your way into your current position with that argument, yes you should be worried. But I’m here to say,

“Hi, I’m Liz. I’m a Social Media Strategist, and I think my job still matters.”

I don’t measure my success by the amount of likes or comments a Facebook post gets. I don’t obsess over the impressions our company tweets receive when sent at noon compared to midnight. I’ve never even used Snapchat (but I signed up for Ello because I need to retain some modicum of credibility, and sure as heck didn’t grab an account for my employer).

When interviewing for my job, I explained how I thought social media could help the company better manage its online reputation, respond to customer service inquiries, and develop trust with our customers. As I began to understand the business better, I’ve told our stakeholders how social data can give us additional opportunities to communicate with our target audiences. I’ve demonstrated how strategic social listening allows us to spot industry news before our competitors, or gauge public sentiment on issues of concern. We’ve found that customers will engage with a company on social media if we focus on being helpful rather than broadcasting ads.

I’ve provided value, not hype. I’ve delivered data, not nebulous reports of “likes” and “shares” that mean nothing to the C-suite. I’ve figured out how social media can add value to our business in ways that may not translate to your business. I’m integrating my work into SEO, market research, and our standard brand messaging. I’m definitely not basing my work off a 9-minute YouTube video.

Might some social media marketers be out of jobs soon? Sure. The people that were hired (and are evaluated) based on their ability to deliver social media vanity metrics will soon have the rug pulled out from under them (if they haven’t already). But, social media marketers that have taken the time to learn about their business/industry/client needs and thoughtfully developed a strategy to effectively use social media to advance business goals are proving their value and building credibility. So, they might not be social media marketers for long … because they’ll soon be leading innovative, agile, integrated marketing departments.

Resources for Level-Headed Social Media Marketers

Interested in getting past the hype and understanding how you can really use social media to drive business value? I highly suggest reading everything you can get your hands on anything you can from Jon Loomer, Jay Baer, Olivier Blanchard, and Augie Ray. There are lots of other folks out there who know what they’re doing, but I’m consistently referring back to the work of these four men. They wouldn’t all consider themselves “social media marketers,” but whether specialists or integrated marketing/customer experience professionals, they’ve definitely got it together and understand the role social media plays in small to large businesses.

What’s your take? Is there still room for a social media marketer in your business/industry?

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