If somebody tells you they’re a social media professional, you may well ask them what their specialitist band of social media is. And if you pay for social media in any shape or form – from an employee, consultant or agency – you need to make sure you’re getting the specialist skills you actually need. And don’t believe anyone who tells you they’re across it all: BS!
I’ve listed below the different specialisations you’ll commonly find amongst ‘social media’ professionals. Some folk may be competent at a number of these, but everyone will have varying degrees of strength in each.
- Clarifies organisational online objectives, identifies and canvasses opportunities.
- Aligns social media objectives with available resources, budget, timeframes and measurables.
- Speaks and presents in business terms – not technical or social media jargon.
- Delivers actionable plans, reports or recommendations.
- Brings insight learnt from personal exposure to past campaign work.
- Understands the importance of mapping out a strategy prior to execution.
- Proficient at adjusting social media campaign tactics on the fly.
The Content Publisher/ Curator
- Inclusive of all forms of multimedia – text, video, images and audio.
- Respects the norms of third party content use, reuse, and repurposing, i.e. Creative Commons principles.
- Adept at cross-promoting and syndicating content across various social media touchpoints; makes full use of RSS (Really Simple Syndication).
- Leverages sharing & recommendation social media functionality to get their content exposed to a cross-section of aligned communities.
The Community Manager
- Knows how to build rapport and trust within a community.
- Speaks with a distinct, confident and consistent online ‘voice’.
- Expects and wants to add more value to the online community pot than they will ever draw from it.
- Knows how to effectively utilise ‘older'(!) social media platforms such as YouTube, Flickr, blogging, podcasting, Slideshare or Wikipedia.
The Cutting Edger
- Early adopter and experimenter with emerging social media platforms, e.g. Foursquare, Quora, Instagram (or anything new FB rolls out on a frequent basis).
- Always looks for the business case – doesn’t buy into the buzz.
The Platform Specialist, typically in one of the following:
- Facebook generally, or FB sub-specialties such as campaign execution, business pages, commerce, or external FB functionality.
- Business blogging
- Locational social media
The Industry Specialist
- Not a social media person per se, but adapts quickly to the new channel opportunities.
- Knows one industry sector very well, or is possibly a subject matter specialist.
- Capable of taking on specialist outsourced social media work, e.g. business blogging, or other social media related publishing.
The Educator/ Trainer
- Informs, guides, empowers – doesn’t sell.
- Teaches people the hands-on, how-to aspects of social media.
- Provides ongoing technological or market updates with the hype-filter on.
The Corporate Presenter/ Trainer
- Paints the big picture; puts options on the table with no specific agenda to push.
- Can address the pressing business questions of why, rather than just the what or how.
- Often assists in bringing social media into an organisation via senior executive or Board level.
- Skins blogs.
- Customises Facebook business pages.
- Integrates social media functionality across platforms, e.g. universal login’s, sharing and recommendation buttons, commerce.
- Focuses on social media generated ‘conversions’ through the organisational website.
- Utilises and cross-references onboard analytics from other social media platforms.
- Presents insights, not data.