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Are Social Media Experts Worthless?

June 21, 2011

I never meant to specialize or focus on social media… it has just sort of happened. From my internship at the USHMM using social media in non-profits, to my Sundance class paper on film promotion by social, to my current research on social media portrayal of Germans on personal/self-interest pages, I seem to have found a niche I really like.

What inspired this post (more like a diary entry, really…)? A tweet from a friend about this article: Are Social Media Experts Worthless? by Copyblogger (go figure I would have found it on a social media site!).

One of my big worries, is what if I don’t want to always do social media with my job? Yes, I’ve gotten better at it and am a reference for my friends who need help with their pages etc. but I haven’t tried everything else yet! I don’t want to get stuck on this path and just go with it. The only thing is I like this path enough; I really like it and could do this forever. Why am I complaining then? I just don’t want to pick it because it’s the easier, more comfortable path.

The risk with this social media focused career is the job market. It is constantly expanding (a good thing!) yet most employers still don’t know how or why they should use social media. In an agency setting, it is used often because account executives can see its success from previous clients. But in an in-house, more corporate setting, the boss and CFO don’t see the need to budget for social media, since there is not ROI or return to their profits directly impacted by social media. Or rather I should say, we have not figured out how to calculate that exactly.

Especially in this economic slump, bosses and managers don’t feel comfortable adding in a consultant or salaried worker to “spend their day playing on Facebook.”  Obviously, their days will be spent doing all but playing, but this is what we will need to convince them. Here’s a quote I liked from the article:

“Some believe that businesses don’t need help with social media at all — that if their products and customer service are good enough, the social media side just takes care of itself.

This is precisely as naive as thinking that if your social media relationships are good enough, the sales side will take care of itself.

There are thousands of businesses that do a pretty good job at what they do, and a spectacularly terrible job of using new internet-based communication tools.

90% of websites are wretched. 90% of Facebook pages are wretched. 90% of content marketing programs are wretched. 90% of social media-based customer support is wretched.”

This article gives me hope that I will find, or can create, a job that is tailored to my developing specialty and be able to prove that I can make a difference… Then maybe I can call myself a social media expert!

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