I’m not sure where it began or how it began. I’m not sure who was the first to do it and I am not sure who was the first to accept it. That being said, since the 2004 – 2008 period, the marketing community has been lying to the public (go figure). No, I am not talking about the shitty ads companies make. No I am not talking about sugar coated language and fancy graphics to disguise the fact that the product you’re currently thinking about purchasing or just recently purchased is a certified piece of shit. What I am talking about is the hiring process and requirements cast upon the marketing world for social media centric positions.
Social Media Job Requirements
First things first, no one has 4 – 7 years of social media experience. When college kids and job hunters look for a social media position within a company, more often then not the company in question is going to require a minimum of:
“4 – 7 years of experience with major social networking platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Reddit, Foursquare, Instagram…
This all sounds nice and groovy but it’s a bunch of shit. Really, you’ve been using Linkedin for 7 years? Really? Linkedin was founded in 2003 and didn’t reach any level of profitability until late 2006. This means, with your seven years of Linkedin knowledge, you were one of the first members of the community – in those first few years when it contained less than 7 million active users. You have seven years using Linkedin? Sure you do.
Oh, what now? You have five years of experience using Twitter? Sure you do. Twitter was founded in 2006. Like Linkedin, that means you were an early adopter of the service, early enough to know if the service always utilized hashtags or not. Five years using Twitter? If you say so. I also bet you happen to know Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams and Biz Stone.
This is lie number one. No one has over 10 years using various social media tools and more importantly, no one has over five years using the tool for corporate means. It just isn’t true. Before Facebook and Twitter became advertising giants, they were college hookup sites and 140 characters about your latest annoyance or favorite band. So please Mr. and Mrs. Corporate Recruiter, let’s get a bit more realistic how many years of corporate utilization a prospective employee needs.
Growing Followers Across Social Media Networks
Most, if not all social media jobs, require the prospective employee to grow the companies social media presence. This I have no problem with. What I do have an issue with is the means in which companies want employees to grow their presence: following, likes and favorites. Most social media job postings say something akin to this.
“…to grow our social media channels via gaining followers across a broad spectrum, creating content and relationships which gain likes, favorites and shares…“
Let’s get right down to this – anyone who uses social media platforms for corporate/business use knows that the amount of likes you have for your profile or a certain post – while looking nice – means shit. Anyone who reads into social media knows that 70 – 85% of everyone who likes your Facebook brand page will never visit your Facebook company page again. Likes look nice but they don’t mean a thing. Stop asking for them. What companies should be asking for is social and brand engagement. Getting people to talk about your brand over social media networks, getting your follower base to interact with your social media brand presence and getting those followers to “share” their interactions with your brand with others is the goal. Interaction is the goal. Likes mean next to nothing.
Hire a Copywriter and a SEO
At the end of the day, the biggest mistakes companies make when hiring a “Social Media Expert” (Really, you’re a Social Media Expert. Alright, I’m a Social Media Guru.) is not a copywriter with a background in SEO. Call them effective copywriters, call them creative writers, call them people who hate using Excel, at some point in time the social media guy/girl on staff is going to have to take their social conversations onto a blank paper to help inform the sales team as to what the public is asking for.
Without the ability to take social media conversations and turn them into newsletters, sales materials, marketing materials, website brand copy, promo copy, ads etc., the social media person is going to be good for 140 – 300 characters at most. Sure they are creative. Sure they get you brand engagement but social media is about more than social media. It’s about informing the company brand on a whole as to what is going on in the proverbial streets. Without the ability to convert the message and turn social media in a traffic driving/backlinking juggernaut, you’re social media person isn’t serving their full purpose.