The Future Career of the Corporate Social Strategist

Over the past few years, I’ve tracked the emergence, rise, and growth of this new role within corporations. I see some interesting career opportunities for this powerful role within a corporation. First of all, about this role, while we’ve published a detailed research report on their demographics, psychographics, challenges and aspirations, this role is a major influencer within the corporation, and has a small but growing budget, typically stemming under the CMO or head of corporate communications functions.

Without a doubt, this role is in high demand:  few are qualified, those that are are easily found by recruiters and I’ve heard of some positions with a total comp beyond 200k+ in regulated financial services.  I’ve also been tracking how some folks are switching jobs to respond to the demand, although I’ve cautioned a few to put in a few years before doing this, as it could set a bad record on one’s resume.   Despite the intense demand for this role right now, it’s always important to look towards the future on what’s on the horizon for this talented bunch:

Three Future Career Opportunities for the Corporate Social Strategist:

  • Rise into the Head of Customer Experience. That’s right, we’re going to return to customer experience and looking at the entire customer journey (what we call at Altimeter the Dynamic Customer Journey). This role is one of the few in the organization at the business level (not infrastructure or operations) that can span multiple business units and see the entire customer journey from awareness, consideration, purchase, support, and beyond. The opportunity? The Corporate Social Strategist is one of the few that could re-create or lead the customer experience group –or even become a Chief Customer Officer.
  • Foster or Lead a New Role in Content Strategy: Working closely with my colleague Rebecca Lieb, she’s illuminated the path on how a new editorial role is emerging in corporations which we’re calling the “Content Strategist” which is part editor-in-chief, orchestra conductor, and herder of pregnant cats (buy the book Content Marketing to get a headstart in your career). With so many business units adopting social, we’ve found the average enterprise corporation has a whopping 178 social media accounts, the number of opportunities –and risks that come with it– are requiring a company to need a new role to tell a consistent story across all channels, all voices, and all tools, in fact Rebecca tells me “It’s critical to note that while this role certainly encompasses social, its purview goes way beyond it: web sites, white papers, events – content is much broader than just social”
  • Move into Program Coordination –Or Dissolve The Role Competely: Much like the ‘web master’ role if the late 90s has now become a business function or dedicated social or digital strategist, this role knows that if they can get orginization on board to conduct social in a safe and systamatic way, they’re role becomes more of a coordinator. We’ve discussed at length when this role could potentially go away. The opportunity? Help the company norm to social, and eventually move on to the next technology and help the company re-invent and change, just as they likely helped with the adoption of web, and before that digital communications.

Like all change agents in corporations, sometimes called ‘intra-preneurs’ for their willingness to stick their neck out to advance the company, these folks will certainly find new opportunities in business and lead this wave and the next. Don’t expect this group of calculated risk takers to sit still.

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