The use of social media is no longer limited to acne ridden teenagers trying to amass a legion of friends to prove who’s the most popular kid in school. It now has a place at the corporate table because companies large and small see it as a tool in their marketing arsenal to reach an ever expanding and varied pool of potential consumers.
But rather than traverse the social web landscape alone it is worthwhile for many companies to have an individual or a team well versed in the ins and outs of social media marketing. It is key in establishing a working model that will best utilize a company’s resources. This individual can’t be hired off the street just because he’s the CFO’s nephew just because he has 100,000 Twitter followers. As the need for such individuals grows rather rapidly, the industry itself is now instituting ethics, guidelines, and educational parameters.
The choice of education environments is rather diverse in its self. They can range from in house training sessions to weekend seminars to advanced degrees offered by some colleges and universities. For a small business owner who may not have the time or money to avail themselves of those options, there are many online courses offered by social media pros and PR companies. There are innumerable articles online by expert bloggers that present the basics of social media marketing as quick crash course training.
On the other side of the coin is the aspect of utilizing a professionally trained individual. Such personnel will of course be knowledgeable about SEO, resource allocation, trending, and reputation management. But within their skillset they should be able to create a strategy to present the company’s brand to the appropriate audience that is interactive and engaging. They should also be able to tailor relevant campaigns to the prospective audience’s culture. To a greater extent they should also be educated about ethics and legal aspects such as guidelines regarding company/blogger interactions and exchanges.
Any company can and should embrace social media as part of its culture in support of its brand much as it would any other form of marketing. It is essential to have the personnel whether in house or outsourced that has the germane credentials and goes beyond just being a trend watcher. Because the use of social media marketing is approaching puberty, as technology continues to evolve, the learning curve continues to broaden. By having the dedicated staff a company can make the transition smoothly while minimizing the usual bumps in the road.
MediaMasters: Insider Secrets from the big names of broadcast, print and social media (paperback), Alan Stevens, Jeremy Nicholas; Price: £14.25 This is Social Media: Tweet, Blog, Link, and Post Your Way to Business Success (paperback), Guy Clapperton; Price: £7.66 Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications (hardcover), Rob Brown; Price: £14.49
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