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Social Media Experience Is A Must Have For Marketing Jobs

Lego JobIn a recent client meeting the comment was made that they weren’t hiring anyone new unless they also had social media experience. Not that they were hiring only people to do social media but that they ALSO had to have social experience.

So in addition to whatever marketing job they were being hired for they also had to have some social media experience. And no this did not include personal blog, Twitter and Facebook. So all those Social Media Guru’s on Twitter are excluded.

I’ve written a lot about the importance of social media experience, the challenges of finding said experience and how to gain this experience. In May of last year I asked the question: Do You Have to DO Social Media to Work IN Social Media?

My thoughts and those of the people who left comments was that no you didn’t have to have a lot of experience but you had to know enough to apply social media strategically. The question becomes what is enough experience? It’s more than knowing the buzz words but not so much that you’re an A-list blogger. In fact I would argue that you don’t want an A-list blogger running your social media. While most of them are wonderful people they have their own thing going on.

In June of last year I made the claim: If you care about your job in marketing and PR, read this post.

My point in this post was that you have to know the tools and the communities that use them to apply them properly. I would never hire someone who didn’t know how to post to a blog or edit a wiki or use a social bookmarking tool. Again you don’t need to be a social media ninja but you have to be comfortable with the tools.

As per my post yesterday on the Thinkers & Doers blog I’ve made a lot of additions to my team this year. I’ve been fortunate enough to find people that understand the tools and how to use them strategically but in a previous post I asked if it would be better to hire someone who understood social media or someone who understood strategy: The Challenges of Social Media Talent Acquisition.

This was by far the most mixed response I’ve gotten on the topic. Some say hire social teach strategy some say hire for strategy and teach social.This is no small task. Neither teaching strategy or teaching social is easy.Fortunately I haven’t had to make that call. I’ve been able to hire for both. (BTW, if I did have to choose I’d hire someone smart and curious and teach them both. I think it would be easier.)

I also think few managers are willing to hire either/or, they want both. They also don’t want just social media, they want well rounded marketers. This means it’s on you to gain the experience and figure out how to apply it strategically.

This of course begs the question how do you gain this valuable experience if you can’t get hired to do it? I know how I did it but I’d like to hear from you how you got your experience or what you’re doing to build it?

Photo credit via Balakov

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://www.ubervu.com/conversations/www.newcommbiz.com/social-media-experience-is-a-must-have-for-marketing-jobs/ uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by CraigMJamieson: Via @tacanderson Social Media Experience Is A Must Have For Marketing Jobs: In a recent client meeting the… http://bit.ly/9NxhDw...

  • Amy Cast

    As a one-man shop, keeping up with the everchanging tools & trends & buzz is a challenge. It is easily a full time job in and of itself. For my customers, however, I am still on the cutting edge. I have to constantly evangelize to them, and have my spiel pretty well polished at this point. I think it's important to remember that the use of tools like Twitter is very inconsistent, both across industries and geographically. While it might be important to have the experience before getting hired into a large corporation, small businesses are still adopting it.

  • HughL

    In my experience blogging has opened up many doors to opportunities that may or may not lead to a position as the “social media guy.” Being on the side interviewing for such roles, I've found it interesting to see what hiring managers are looking for. Across the board, companies look for different things in their future “go-to” who's versed in the space. Some even stray away from the very job description posted for the position leading me to conclude that some may not know specifically what they're looking for.

    In response to how one gains experience… sometimes you just gotta walk the walk and create your own opportunities. Offer the knowledge you happen to have and reach out to those businesses (maybe those that you frequent) and propose to create a social media strategy, implement and execute on all that goodness you have put to action.

  • timdreyer

    Great post Tac. I think the well-roundedness is the key. The thing with Social media is that unlike other marketing disciplines, it is the easiest to be self-taught. If you don't have the experience, you can easily to get involved somewhere

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Do you have any examples of how to get social media experience? How have you done it?

  • timdreyer

    Hey Tac.

    I year ago I attended the BMA conference in Chicago and volunteered to be on the social media team to live-Tweet the presentations. I had no real experience except a newly-opened Twitter account. After the conference, which was very heavy on social media, I started a blog to get my feet wet. I began following as many social media experts as I could find and began digesting as much as I could. When my company decided to look into social media, I was the first to raise my hand and as I had some, albeit minimal, knowledge, I was given the responsibility.

    Unlike direct mail or web marketing, I think there are many opportunities to get knowledge/experience in social media. From Tweetups/Live Tweeting to blogging and videos there are a lot of ways to build some credibility without have actual job responsibility.

  • Barathi460

    Yes Social media experience is a must for marketing jobs. I too totally agree…

  • http://www.onlinemarketingconnect.com/blog/2010/11/the-life-and-times-of-the-social-media-strategist/ Online Marketing Connect — Blog — The Life and Times of the Social Media Strategist

    [...] Social Media Experience Is A Must Have For Marketing Jobs [...]

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    Hey! I just need to mention that i like your publishing approach which so Im reaching to follow your blog regularly from currently on Keep writing!

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/the-new-social-cmo/ The New Social CMO | @NewCommBiz

    [...] Only two years ago I wrote about the digital skills marketers must have. And yes, I was mostly talking about social media. And again I reiterated that social media *experience* is a must have. [...]

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