Business-to-consumer communication has been revolutionized with the advent of social media in the last decade. With nearly 80 percent of corporations now incorporating social media into their marketing and communication mix, the role of a social strategist is becoming more and more standard as a needed and respected part of the team. Mashable recently published an awesome infographic about what it takes to be a social strategist. Even if you have no desire to make social media your 9-to-5, what are some things you can learn from the social media managers and other social media professionals surveyed?
The characteristics identified as making these strategists successful at their jobs were, in order:
- “I’m multi-disciplinary and can wear many hats.” (58%)
- “I’m willing to take risks.” (46%)
- “I can rally different stakeholders across the organization.” (45%)
- “I can effectively lead a multi-faceted, cross-departmental effort.” (38%)
- “I have experience in social media.” (37%)
- “I have a long-term customer-centric vision for the program.” (24%)
- “I can communicate the ROI to executive leadership.” (16%)
- “I have been working at my company many years.” (13%)
What stands out in these numbers to me is that the key to success for these strategists has less to do with ROI or long-term plans and more to do with the ability to innovate – whether that be juggling disparate responsibilities and trying new things without the fear of failure.
I’m convinced that the connection between the two isn’t coincidental, either. Those who are able to take on a myriad of responsibilities – from creating content to coming up with strategies, analyzing metrics and adapting accordingly, spearheading campaigns, and evangelizing social media to stakeholders – are likely to manage participation in a myriad of media as well. They know how to work with varied audiences through varied channels, connecting consumers with companies adeptly, and they also know how to translate the benefits of social media into terms executives can appreciate and get behind, regardless of the executives’ familiarity with social media themselves.
Proactive social media professionals are those who are able to change and evolve along with the new shifts that come in technology. They are the ones who remain on the bleeding edge of new technologies, adopting them early and then advocating experimentation with them. These forward thinkers use the new media intuitively and find ways to extract the maximum ROI from the tools (remembering that ROI in social media is less about sales conversions and more about building relationships and brand loyalty).
Likewise, to get the most out of social media, businesses need to be willing to try new things – and to try lots of different things as well. The benefit of social media is that most of the tools are free. Not having to invest much overhead to dabble in different platforms leaves businesses wide open to experiment with new initiatives and see what resonates with their customers. Be willing to adapt to and adopt new technologies and integrate them into different parts of the business cycle – from marketing and sales to customer service – and you’ll be sure to find what works best for your particular business niche.