Social media has become a defacto communication channel, compelling tech startups, small businesses and large companies to supplement their marketing and public relations efforts by forging ahead to discover how to harness social media to integrate it with their existing web 1.0 efforts. A recent search on Indeed.com for jobs in “social media” returned over 2,000 opportunities. Particularly within the last few months, a plethora of companies are quickly realizing that they need to incorporate a social media strategy and begin to manage their online brand and reputation. One can speculate whether Domino’s unfortunate social media crisis set in motion a decision from its rival Pizza Hut to hire a social media intern. Sony, AAA, NBC, Yellowbook -- all have positions open in social media.
Steve Rubel previously blogged about the social media job landscape, which at that time - circa 2006 - the highest trending opportunities were in podcasting, blogging, RSS, and wikis. Fast-forward to today and there’s a new landscape of job opportunities under the “social media” term. Blogging, podcasting, RSS and wikis are still valuable social media components, but the migration of companies moving to understand and tackle social media more holistically seems to be taking root.
With Twitter expected to swell to 50 million users by this summer (that’s 60 days from now!), you can appreciate why companies want their new social media hires to be fluent in Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, LinkedIn, community building, etc. Equally important for marketing and public relations teams is building and managing communities and networks in social news and bookmarking sites such as Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Newsvine, etc., developing and sharing creative content across multimedia channels like YouTube or UStream, and attracting fans or building out groups on Facebook and MySpace, and so on.
Companies need to first identify where their customers and prospects are “hanging out” online and what type of social media tools they are using. Are they active in a particular forum? Are they participating in a Yahoo group or a Friendfeed room? Is your target market one that would be receptive to consuming online videos or are downloadable reports and presentations more appropriate? It’s important to weigh, prioritize and focus your social media efforts around that to ensure your Marketing, Internet marketing and public relations messages and activities are strategically integrated with your offline, traditional efforts and activities. For example, an automaker showing off its fastest car can convey its speed much better in an online video uploaded to YouTube. Talking about how fast the car goes via a tweet on Twitter just isn’t as compelling. On the other hand, a company such as AAA would benefit from using Twitter, and not YouTube, to update customers on say transportation discounts. The point nonetheless is: now is the time to act. Establishing a social media strategy and then selecting the right mix of social media tools to integrate with your traditional marketing and public relations efforts is absolutely a step in the right direction.
Still don’t get Twitter? Send us a tweet @IgnitePR and we’ll be happy to send you 10 ways to leverage Twitter for Marketing & PR.