Thursday, June 26, 2014

Defending Your Social Media Role

I responded to a question from a young gal on LinkedIn regarding how she should defend her role as the Social Media Manager.  Many in the organization have left her feeling defensive about her role, after describing her role as "fun."  Listen, I get that there are those in the organization who look at any facet of the marketing function and simplify the profession to just "having fun and doing creative stuff."  It's offensive, especially when you tabulate the long hours working on the not-so-fun aspects of the job.  But, you don't need to feel defensive about it.  If you're like me, marketing is your passion and it's supposed to be a little fun, right?  Make no mistake, too much fun without the effort being validated will bury your role over time. 

Until you can definitely connect your efforts to customer retention or customer acquisition, then it is "just for fun."  If social media is the tactic you employ to meet your marketing objectives, you shouldn't have to feel defensive about it.  This was the same discussion in the 80's and 90's around community relations and media relations.  I get that most don't understand what social media is about, but it's going to be murky waters while ROI is not definitive.  In the interim, you should be able to extract plenty of analytics on your community and how their engaging your brand - at least enough to intelligently discuss how your efforts are contributing to the bottom line.  Otherwise, yes, it's just for fun and the CEO's granddaughter will be doing your job next summer when she turns 16.

A last bit of advice - professional to professional - is that you should not define your skillset to your role.  If your title is "Social Media Manager" expect that job security to sway with the prevailing winds.  If the CEO believes in social media, then you'll be loved.  The opposite is also true.  Rather, view social media as a tactic, not a strategy.  The strategy is customer acquisition and retention, and you achieve that through social media in your role.  Head over to HR after reading this article and change your title as soon as you can get approval. 

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