Monday, December 12, 2011

It takes more than five minutes to master social media

Infographics, by design, are supposed to make complicated matters appear simple. Sometimes, however, they oversimplify the topic.

One such over-simplifying graphic is at Mashable’s 5-Minute Guide to Getting a Job in Social Media. The infographic, originally published on Sept. 2, 2011, offers many good tips, but they might be either a little too vague or too generic to help those interested in getting paid for their social media use.

For example, while the first two tips (“establish an online presence” and “be proficient in all social channels”) might seem relevant to those interested in social media, the remaining topics (“be creative and relevant,” “be a professional,” “know the industry/company,” “network,” “know the lingo,” etc.) are good advice no matter the profession.

And how much demand is there for the profession? As a late-September article in the Los Angeles Times put it, “No one knows exactly how many social media jobs exist, but a quick scan of online recruitment sites shows a bounty of businesses looking to hire.”

So, in essence, no one can predict how long this social media hiring spree will last or how widespread it really is. Moreover, the tips given by Mashable are either common sense or rather vague.

The accuracy of the salary charts listed in the infographic is also up for debate. A salary of $80,000 to $100,000 annually for a social media manager sounds good, but as the number of avid social media users grow, corporations will no doubt realize that they can hire some fresh-out-of-college kid to Tweet and post to Facebook, and pay accordingly. Moreover, until the analytics come in as to how successful social media is in acquiring and nurturing customers, salaries might come down unless an increase in sales due to social media is affirmed.

One tip that I personally might find hard following is the advice to “be proficient on all channels.” I am an avid Twitter user, and have made a number of LinkedIn connections. But I was an early avoider of Facebook, initially thinking it too much like MySpace. When I finally had to open an account for a SFSU journalism class, it was under a pseudonym. I have made only four friends there (and befriended one only because she wanted it for her birthday present and another — a teenage cousin — only after she practically cried when I initially ignored her friend request). So I am obviously a latecomer to Mark Zuckerberg’s world. Maybe it’s time for me to upgrade. I’ve personally always felt superior in having an underutilized Facebook account.

Sadly, my life is boring enough that I don’t have any pictures of me getting drunk at parties, so “being professional” is not a problem of mine.

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