Every Millennial with a communications, PR or Marketing background knows the article “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media“. If you don’t, head over to read it (I’ll wait).
Now that we’re on the same page, literally, let’s discuss. There is some merit to this incredibly generalized and offensive article. I apologize that this is the least brief post I’ve ever written but it’s essential to get some background here. I am 23, and employers should not only let me run their social media, but help them incorporate it into a bigger, better digital strategy.
When I first started working in the internet marketing world, there were no established precedents for this allusive concept of “Social Media Marketing”. The position I was attempting to fulfill didn’t yet exist. One of my first projects was documenting ideas to combine traditional forms of marketing with digital forms of marketing. Integrated Marketing Communications was not yet a fully understood concept by all industries. I went searching (to no avail) for print advertisements in publications and magazines that incorporated the Twitter or Facebook logo, hoping to back up my claims that this was indeed a revolution of communication and not a trend. I needed to convince a different generation in a heavily regulated industry that there was an essential need to tear down the walls and break out of the fortress-like marketing methods that had always been the norm. Essential not only for survival of the company, but to guide and manage the conversations affecting the image of their brand.
I was 20 years old at the time (I know. Good luck, right?)
To do this, I began with the most simple of social platforms, Facebook. It was the easiest to measure and showed immediate results. Once I demonstrated success on this platform, I integrated the strategy into our traditional forms of advertising and began to extend the social campaign to the Twitter-verse, I quickly became known within the company as the “Social Media Expert”. This cringe-worthy title stuck, and over the next few months I was introduced as such to new clients, colleagues and peers. I was mortified.
Instead of informing the business world of my ability to strategize and communicate, I was receiving praise and acknowledgement for one area that I considered an innate and life skill. I grew up using social media, navigating this world is as comfortable to me as making a Peanut Butter sandwich. I have never once been called an expert at spreading peanut butter on bread.
Sidenote to employers (lessons from 2009): If anyone claims to be a social media expert, RUN.
So I hereby petition (before it becomes cool) to have “social media” dropped from every marketing job title. I realize I may be ahead of my time, but I digress. I henceforth become a Social Media Community Specialist in writing only.
When a company says they’re looking for a Social Media [Administrator, Analyst, Associate, Specialist, Strategist, Manager, etc] they’re looking for so much more. Enter: Community Specialists, Managers, and any form of digital or internet marketing specialists. There is a big place for us, but our responsibility to the internet and our communities involves so much more than just social media.
So what is our mantra? Well, Here’s mine:
What makes me a Digital Marketer is my ability to integrate an open and inviting strategy through multiple platforms, while engaging with consumers in the one-to-one environment that social media provides.
So please past, present and future employers – remove me from your Social Media box.