Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Social Media Managers

This post is a direct response to Jeremiah Owyang's recent blog post in regards to "The need of a Social Media Manager." After reading similar posts that either agree or disagree with his view points completely. I believe new media and interactive media is merging into one daily routine for online users everywhere. The future of advertising lies where the consumer is and the consumer of today is online daily. I don't think PR and traditional media needs to  go anywhere, but it will need to adjust and integrate itself into the way of online. I know one to many PR specialists who are lucky to know were their "on" switch is for the computer let alone how to write a press release that is optimized for the web. Moreover the average newbie in pr is not encouraged to understand how interactive media, social marketing, seo and sem can benefit their clients when used properly in conjunction with a great pr campaign. It's nice to see when television, radio, press releases, and online can all come together in one free flowing marketing effort and that will continue to happen as long as the tech savvy continue to exist and help our less tech savvy friends along the way.

With facebook, myspace, and twitter becoming more and more part of everyones daily schedule I think it is more then safe to say social media is here to stay. What is your company go to do to benefit from it? How can a social media manager help brand you online and more importantly what is your strategy behind the campaign? If you don't have a strategy and your brand isn't trying to connect, but simply exist in a space then the campaign is going to flop instantly. What do you think about having a social media manager in your company?

The following post is from:


Jeremiah Owyang
Web Strategist
SF Bay Area, USA

Sr Analyst at Forrester Research: Social Computing

Update: Constantin has created a new wiki of Social Media Managers and Strategists at the New PR Wiki.

I stand by my research, personal experience, and industry monitoring that the need for social media managers will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future.

This post is a direct response, refuting and correcting Steve's post that the Social Media Manager will go extinct.

While I enjoy Steve's predictions (as well as a peer) that the Social Media Manager will be extinct, I'm here to respectfully correct him and leaning on my research findings from my recent Forrester report: How to Staff for Social Computing. In fact, we've found that there are two roles to be found in corporations serious about online communities.

Steve comes from the PR agency perspective and from his view, this makes sense. Yet, I come from where demand actually happens: in corporate enterprise marketing, where I was a social media manager at Hitachi.

Currently, in large corporations, specialized marketing managers, are found often sorted by industries, but also sorted by mediums and channels. For example, there are corporate marketers that focus on Web Marketing (my background) Advertising, Direct Marketing (email, mail) Search Marketing, Event Marketing, and even Print Marketing.

While I agree that social media skills will eventually become a normal bullet point in nearly every marketing resume in the future, today, and the foreseeable, we're needed specializing for the following two reasons: 1) The specific duties are foreign to most other marketers 2) Online communities (like the support team) require a dedicated role.

In our recent report, we indicated that there are two distinct roles appearing within corporations, the social media strategist (I gave the example of VP of Social Media, Ed Terpening at Wells Fargo) and the community manager, who is responsible for being an online face to the community (Lionel Menchaca is a great example).

So, until the roles of medium based marketers (like direct marketer, web marketer, event marketer) go extinct or this skillset completely normalizes or the role of communities (another way of saying customers) go by the wayside, we'll continue to see the growth of these dedicated and specialized roles.

Steve is wise to assert that the blur between social media and traditional media as we know it is correct –from a PR perspective. But when it comes to corporate communities, developing social media programs, these are skills that the majority of traditional marketers have –nor understand.

As an analyst, many of my clients (at Fortune 5000 companies) consult with us for social media guidance, I'm increasingly on more and more concalls where these individuals have a dedicated role in this new medium.

Lastly, to drive my point home, I've been publishing a series of blog posts called "On the move" that list out (in groups of 5-6) individuals that have been hired to fulfill this specific job. If you notice, the rate has been increasing, not decreasing over the past weeks. Looking at actual job movements is a more accurate –and telling—way of looking at social media jobs than keywords from a job site.

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