The Social Media Skill Set

by Jay Deragon on 02/04/2011

Businesses are increasingly looking for people who fit the titles of social media manager, social media strategist and social media contributors. Social Media Jobs have increased by 325% since 2008, this is astounding! More and more employers are seeking positions to be filled with their company. .

Upon reviewing a handful of the job posting for social media positions one may conclude they are all the same, at least the job descriptions appear to be very similar. Most of the job descriptions appear to focus on candidates who know how to use a listing of social technology with little if any emphasis on relationship or communication skills. Now consider the irony of a business manager, who has little or no experience with social media, telling the HR Department to find us people with social media experience. The natural reaction by the HR people is to define the job responsibilities, skill sets and compensation. One must wonder where does the HR Department go for information concerning “social media jobs”? Most likely they look for previous job postings for social media positions created by other companies and simply copy the descriptions.

Does Business Know What To Ask For?

All this “social stuff” has little definition that can fit neatly into a job description. When you look at the landscape of practices one can see a variety of tools and techniques used by those who have large audiences of followers. Most of the dominant people who garner a massive audience follow a simply rule of sharing insights or passing along insights from others. However the dominant trait of these current “social leaders” is that they relate to the “audience” in a very human way. In other words they are either gifted with communications skills or have learned the art and science of human interaction using social tools.

I am not talking about all those sites and people who push out massive marketing messages claiming to have the most current tools or the best advertising schemes. Rather I am talking about those people who simple engage people into dialog, share profound knowledge about the dynamics of human interaction with technology and do so in a very human way.

Finding people who truly understand the value of social media for businesses isn’t as easy as buying an IPhone. The IPhone has set records in sales and became a hit largely because of its design (art) and functionality (technology). When you hire a person to help your business maximize the potential of social media you need to focus on those who understand the art of human relations along with the science of using the technology to accomplish specific aims. The irony is that the art of human relations built on technological interaction is more about knowing how to continuously learn to create and satisfy human experiences. The experiences are centric to attention, attraction, affinity and audience preferences which we discussed here.

As most organizations know, hiring the wrong people for the wrong job can be extremely costly. It is even more costly if you assume everyone knows how to leverage social media for your business purposes and with your audience of suppliers, employees and customers. Be careful what you ask for.


{ 1 comment }

Cynthia K Seymour February 4, 2011 at 8:53 am

This article is so on pointe! I have a client who is outsourcing their social media to a PR firm and it’s all going to be “automated.”
Basically, the PR firm’s “strategy” is to pipe out a lot of “newsworthy” information using social media tools.

When I suggested to the Marketing director that a few hours a day would still be necessary to create relationships, she looked at me like I was crazy. Part of the problem is that some Marketing Directors do not understand the difference between Messaging people to death (using Social Media as a Megaphone) as opposed to considering the possibilities for creating a community of conversation and relationships.

I guess that is the difference between the pushy, old-school marketing and the Relationship Economy.

Thanks for yet another Great Post!

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