Wow! Things change so fast in this Internet-driven world.
And if your business is wholely or largely in the online world, how you describe what you do and have reasonable confidence that will still be an appropriate tag a couple of years from now? OK, twelve months from now?
As I realized the other day when someone looked at my business card and said “‘Blogging Evangelist’ eh? That’s good.” Well yes, if you say so, but for several months now, while still being in practice a (lower case initial) “blogging evangelist”, I’ve been describing myself more as a “social media consultant”.
Whoops! I’d actually forgotten that was what’s on my card is “Business Coach & Blogging Evangelist”. And as I hear the branding experts out there tut-tutting over my slackness in not getting new cards made, I say in my defence that I’ve been having a challenge being really definite about what the right tag is for what I do (apart from coaching, which I am quite clear about). I’m “ok” about “social media consultant”, but not over the moon about it.
So it might be just as well that I haven’t ordered new cards yet, because I really think that what I do now, or do better than “consulting”, is strategizing.
Having spent many years consulting, I know that there are a lot of things about consulting I don’t like, or see as not being fun to do, whereas I love strategizing and in certain areas of activity I reckon I’m quite good at it.
That would suggest that it is more accurate and potentially more helpful to potential clients, for me to describe myself as a “social media strategist”.
As far as the “social media” tag is concerned, I’m comfortable with it, even though some of my friends dislike, even loathe it. Jeremiah Owyang doesn’t like the term – correction, actually hates the term “social media” – but appears to be resigned to using it for want of a better one. Chris Heuer likes it enough to have named his company Social Media Club.
It doesn’t trouble me that the experts disagree on the terminology. With due respect to their knowledge and expertise, they are not, as far as I can see, my market.
But will companies pay for social media strategy?
On the basis of anecdotal evidence from colleagues and some business I have attracted, as well as enquiries I’ve had, companies will pay for social media strategists.
In fact, some companies are actually hiring people to fill the role on a full time basis.
Such as the Motive Quest company in Evanston IL, “a company focused on understanding the impact of social media on business marketing decisions” and currently advertising on Social Media Jobs for a Lead Strategist.
Jim Durbin, a headhunter specializing in the social media space, has a great interview with Jason Falls, who recently went through a process of hiring a social media expert and goes into great detail about how he did that, what responses he got, what made some candidates stand out from others (and why some hopefuls just didn’t “get it”). He also provides invaluable commentary on appropriate salary rates for positions of this kind. The post is a must-read for anyone hiring for social media expertise and for anyone looking for a role of this kind in a company.
So yes, Social Media Strategy is a Real Job.
Which means that there is probably someone out there who loves social media and online community building, but is currently “between roles” and would like to be able not to have their parents say any more “When are you going to get a Real Job?”. If that’s you, or someone you know, then bookmark sites like Social Media Jobs and check out Jim’s post – there’s a checklist embedded in it of what to do and what not to do when seeking a job as a social media strategist.