Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Evolving Landscape of Social Media

In 2006, I received my first college email address. One may assume my excitement stemmed from the decision to go away to school, but it was really because I was minutes away from joining Facebook. Back then, Facebook was only open to college students with an email address that ended with “.edu” and the exclusivity drove us mad. We couldn't wait to sign up and log on to see what all the fuss was about. That was eight years ago, and I am still an avid user today.

During college I picked up an internship with a small digital agency in Midtown Manhattan. I worked long hours writing optimized content for dummy websites. When I left there, I realized I had been armed with the tools to venture into a new career path, and my gut told me that this was the one I should choose. Along the way I would work for printing shops and medical journals doing anything from managing their social media accounts to balancing their checkbooks.

Along the way, one thing seemed to remain consistent, these business owners knew they needed social media, but they weren't willing to invest the time or the money. They were willing to hire their daughters, wives and even the housekeeper but they were unsure if hiring someone dedicated to community management was necessary.

I have heard it all. Executives have laughed at the idea of selling content as a service; bosses scoffed at me when I showed excitement in running a new campaign. I have sat in offices where it seemed my experience was taken as a joke.

In business, we focus solely on the return of investment. We want to see the end goal before we have even started the race, so when the topic of social media comes up, most business owners can’t see beyond the trees. With all of this in mind, I've struggled with the idea of keeping my career path in social media. Although I enjoy engaging, interacting and representing a brand; I also have to keep increasing my value.

We have to become well-rounded marketers, more so, I have to become a well-rounded marketer. The type of marketer that understands the necessity of social media, the power of rich content and the psychology behind successful advertising.

Social media isn't going anywhere. There’s no reason to reduce the department to bare bones in hopes of saving a few dollars, but we must encourage any and every marketer to evolve with our digital world. The next time a client asks, “why social media?” remind them that who they have in charge of their brand persona isn't simply a twenty-something that likes to take selfies; who they have running their accounts is a results driven marketer that will continue to demonstrate the infinite benefits to all things social in the evolving digital landscape.

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