Do you spend half of your day job hunting and the other half posting on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites? Do you feel guilty every time you post a photo of your dog instead of sending out your résumé?
Well stop the guilt trip because your time wasting social media skills might just earn you a job.
One of the newest and coolest gigs in corporate America is the position of Social Media Manager and the job description of marketing a company’s name and products on social network sites — such as Facebook, Twitter, and special interest forums — are in demand.
If you check out job recruitment sites you may see hundreds of new social media jobs posted.
For instance, the number of social media-related jobs on Monster has surged 75 percent over the last year with about 155 positions are available a month, up from an average of 88 a month a year ago according to the job recruiting company.
Even though the job title seems pretty solid, the job is still so new that many people don’t quite know what to do once they get to the office.
Jennifer Palmer of San Diego works as an online communities manager for a company that sells upscale beauty products. Each day she scans Facebook, Twitter, and Google alerts for any mention of her company’s products. She’ll most likely find them among people who have signed on to affinity groups — for example, Facebook users who “like” the product, and therefore get updates, special offers, and other messages that she sends out about events and promotions.
If she finds a favorable message on Twitter about a product, she might re-tweet it to all her followers on that social network.
Palmer also looks for comments that might indicate dissension among consumers, and if it looks like the situation could turn damaging, she’ll try to intervene before the complaint spreads.
But, the fact that you have 1000 followers on Facebook, doesn’t mean you have what it takes to be a Social Media Manager.
Being an effective social media manager is both an art and a skill. Some personalities are more inclined to be successful at managing and inspiring online communities, but most practitioners will need months, if not years, to learn to produce social media success through a process of trial and error.
A good social media manager has passion for his or her cause(s) and enjoys participating in social media. The best social media practitioners express their personalities with a dash of attitude and a bit of flair, and are comfortable articulating their opinions online. You don’t need to be brash or controversial in your opinions, but you do not shy away from asserting your viewpoints on behalf of the company.
Effective social media managers enjoy engaging with and responding to comments on social media sites. They relish discussing ideas and issues online, and they do it with patience and kindness. They are attentive to their communities on an almost daily basis. They express gratitude for support, and they acknowledge questions and concerns. They have the unique ability to defuse troublesome (and sometimes obnoxious and rude) personalities with kind, but firm commentary. It’s a real skill to navigate and guide the online commons and know how and when to react.
People interested in this career need to think- or be- a journalist. Well-written, timely content is what drives the Social Web. Old news is not share-, like-, or retweet-worthy. Increasingly, nonprofit communicators and social media practitioners need to consider themselves reporters for their causes and employers — always listening, responding rapidly, and sometimes even “Live! On location!” This is why blogging has become so central to a successful social media strategy. It allows social media managers to respond to breaking news by quickly and easily creating content that can be posted and shared by others on the Social Web.
The salary for this gig starts at around the $35-50K mark, which isn’t bad, though you won’t be able to waste time at work on Facebook anymore…because it will be work!