It seems like more and more companies are adding Social Media Specialist to their list of positions. Believe it or not, social media is still a fairly new concept which businesses are trying to figure out how to use, how to measure, and how many hours a week it takes to maintain. Not every company uses social media; not every company needs to. But the ones who do, have or have had it taken care of by their communications guru, or simply by a member of the company who has the time to do it. What people are starting to realize is that maintaining social media channels can be a full time job, depending on how you choose to use it. Communications coordinators (directors, officers…) tend to have a lot on their plate, and may not have the time it takes to really help their company reap the full benefits of their social media presence. And so enters….the Social Media Specialist. Or Social Media Coordinator. Or Social Media Director. Or the Boss of Social Media….you get the point.
I love the communications field in general, and want to explore it from as many different angles as possible before setting up camp in one specialized area. However, at this very early stage of my career, I feel like social media would be one of the areas I’d be most comfortable with. Like I said before, social media is evolving very quickly and from the beginning, I have been evolving along beside it. Not evolving as a human, which happened absentmindedly of course, but as an individual whose been learning the ins and outs of social media for years and who has been able to keep up with all the trends, changes, hiccups, and great achievements.
According to PR Daily, there are seven different types of social media specialists…
1. Social media specialist with a communications background
This type of consultant typically has a communications degree and has spent a bit of time in a PR-style function.
2. Social media specialist with a digital background
This type of consultant has the ability to see what can be built to capture the attention of online participants and often focuses strongly on campaigns.
3. Social media specialist with a SEO background
This type of consultant can look at social media from a very specific entry point, especially in relation to the visibility that can be created by well-resourced social media activity.
4. Social media specialist with an advertising background
The social media specialist with an advertising background can often develop the most creative and buzz-worthy solutions.
5. Social media specialist with a direct marketing background
Direct marketers have a lot of experience in communicating directly with people as opposed to going via third parties. They also understand the importance of encouraging and facilitating loyalty.
6. The native social media specialists
This person is likely to be a little younger and may have studied something more traditional, but got their first job in a social media style role.
7. The integrated social media specialist
This person is not only rare, but also in very high demand.
While his or her career may have started in one of the places listed above, this social media specialist has spent a lot of time working across each of the disciplines to be able to provide the most complete advice possible.
If I had to squish my social media savvy skills into any of the above categories, I’d have to say I was a combination of 1, 3, 2, 4, 6, 5…and perhaps 7 which I understand to cover most if not all of the above. But its not just me who fits into these categories, its most of my peers who graduated from the Creative Communications (CreComm) program at Red River College in the past few years. I say past few years because as you can assume, social media wasn’t always a crucial part to the curriculum. Us semi-recent CreComm alum have been lucky enough to explore social media through almost every aspect of the program, from the PR major, to the Ad major, to the what feels like hundreds of campaigns we’ve designed, and so on.
I’m 25 and I feel like I’m at the perfect age to be part of an industry that’s becoming more social media heavy with every passing day. It’s what I’ve grown up with. It’s what I like. It’s what I know. And it’s what we as communicators need to know.