Sunday, November 21, 2010

Social Media Strategist or Help Desk?


Jeremiah Owyang published an insightful report on the career path of a social media strategist. He found that after some early success, the social media strategist faces an onslaught of problems that can cause the person to descend into a reactive help-desk list of tasks. He advocates that effective strategists develop a proactive program that gets ahead of the demands and allows them to operate from a strategic planning position.

Owyang identifies several key problems that map closely to the problems I've faced as a marketing director and community manager implementing social media programs. The issues he identifies are the following:
  • Resistance from internal culture
  • Measuring ROI
  • Lack of resources
  • Ever changing technology space
  • Resentment and envy of the role
  • A looming increase in business demands
Of the social media strategists he interviewed 41 percent report to the marketing department. Most of these programs lacked a formalized program with long-term direction. Only 23 percent have the required maturity to overcome these problems.

He recommends these 10 qualities when looking to hire a social media strategist:
  • Hire a program manager rather than a social media "hot shot"
  • Seek candidates with a track record of early technology adoption
  • Scrutinize how they have used social media
  • Seek backgrounds that demonstrate ability to manage dotted-line managers
  • Look for corporate entrepreneur
  • Ensure cultural fit, they will tackle change management
  • Find a natural born connector
  • Celebrate risks, clear obstacles
  • Enable them to connect to peers and grow careers
  • Protect investment by providing new challenges, compensate well
The full report from Jeremiah Owyang at Altimeter Group is found below.