Let me be honest: I’m sick of seeing posts on LinkedIn looking for volunteers or interns to run social media. Furthermore, many of those that do offer pay, they are only suggesting a $30,000 salary.
The fact is this: those businesses misunderstand what social media is about — as do plenty of fresh-faced college graduates who think the job description consists of tweeting.
Social media managers and strategists don’t post on social media. They create, plan and execute marketing campaigns.
It’s all about social media strategy. Social media matters simply because of this fact — it’s new-age savvy marketing, not a just social tool.
2014: the year of salaried social media jobs
OK, so many businesses aren’t understanding the full importance of social media, but it’s at least important that businesses of every kind — non-profits, corporate and small businesses — recognize its potential. A staggering 88% of marketers would like to know the most effective social media uses.
Forbes declared last month that in 2014, investment in social media would be more than just a luxury — it will become necessary. A quick scan of social media-related postings on LinkedIn show that it’s true — many listings have the words “new position” embedded in there somewhere.
And there’s even data to back up that claim: Business Insider cited Constant Contact’s Small Businesses: Then and Now Survey saying that 87% of small businesses are using social media as a legitimate marketing tool.
The publication also predicted there’d be a vast expansion in these six social media-related jobs: SEO Specialist, Social Media Strategist, Online Community Manger, Social Media Marketing Manager, Social Media Marketing Coordinator, and Blogger or Social Media Copywriter.
This expansion makes sense. The Internet is accessible almost everywhere and folks are consuming more tidbits of information than ever.
People certainly take advantage of it.
According to Chelsea Krost, the average person has their smartphone with them 20 hours out of the entire day. And 80% of people reach for their smartphone when they wake up.
But why are so many skeptical to jump on the bandwagon?
Here’s the big question in social media for businesses: how do I measure the return on investment (ROI)?
That question isn’t easily answered — because there’s no way to be 100% sure you’re tracking the right data to prove this… or that you even can track the right data.
Every company is different. And sometimes it’s about trial and error to figure out which platform is most effective for your business. B2B companies seem to have a lot of success on LinkedIn; while B2C companies, depending on what they do and if they’re business or service oriented, can see great success on Twitter or Instagram.
Regardless, Social Media Examiner reported that some businesses actually have mastered tracking ROI. It seems like most of those businesses don’t have direct proof per se, but use of social media is the differing variable when the company started to see decreases in spending or increases in sales.
Either way, Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Report finds 89% of marketers surveyed claimed increased social media marketing increased exposure and site traffic.
Social media matters — and here’s why
When I talk about social media use I don’t mean quoting eccentric family members at Thanksgiving dinner on Twitter (though I’m guilty of this). I mean using it for marketing, branding, developing brand trust, hearing from individual customers, and doing damage control.
It’s pretty much a given that businesses, marketers, and even individuals (in a lot of fields, you market yourself) should care about these things.
A lot of businesses may not see an ROI on their social media, but the question should be this: why?
Sometimes it’s not about the use of social media as much as how it’s used. Social media can be used poorly or used well. Someone doing a company’s social media should be paid for their expertise — because social media is not just about posting on the platforms, it’s about posting content to the platforms.
According to HubSpot, companies that blog 15 times or more per month see an increase of five times the traffic on their site.
The other key to social media is persistence. Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Report also cited that companies using social media for three or more years said it helped by improving search rankings, creating more partnerships, generating ideas, increasing traffic, providing marketplace insight, and reducing marketing expenses — to name a few things.
Social media in use — effectively — isn’t just about posting. It’s about executing a strategy specifically tailored to a company — and it is proven to help marketing efforts.
So why aren’t you investing in social media?
Lane Blackmer is a self-employed former journalist. Although she’s no longer a newsie, Lane since discovered other uses for social media such as public relations, marketing, job searching and trying to win gift cards from her favorite local businesses through contests. Lane inhabits Philadelphia, where’s it’s not always sunny…but at least there’s cheese steaks. You can follow her on Twitter at @LaneBlackmer.
Image courtesy Social Media Examiner 2013 Report. Featured image courtesy Dan Meyers.