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.
In a stunning early finding of interviews with nearly a dozen social media agencies and software providers, I’m seeing a new trend: Social media agency of record (SMaoR) are now moving into advertising buying. I’ve just spent a week interviewing a number of social agencies here in Manhattan as well as taken briefings from around the globe (see below for source info)
Why this dramatic change from social media purists who once declared war on advertising?
The new advertising features from both Facebook and Twitter (Such as sponsored tweets and trends) encourage earned content to become advertising units and give an opportunity for social marketers to get into the advertising game. This also means the opportunity for ads to perform at a higher level because they’ve been ‘approved’ by the crowd is a unique opportunity afforded to the social media agencies vs the ‘carpet bomb’ approach of yesteryear. This results in three distinct impacts to the industry:
- Advertising is Limited to Social Networks: The advertising units that these agencies are purchasing are often limited to Facebook or Twitter –not broader banner and skyscraper ads across media and Google serp. In fact, in most cases they’re analyzing which earned content performs the best, then using the features like Twitter’s sponsored tweets to amplify this earned content to reach new audiences and drive attention or call to action.
- Social Media Agencies Don’t Have Solid Case Studies, Yet. Most of these pure play social media firms lack an advertising background and are staffed for engagement. They also tend to have a longer term approach for community building –not six week ad block flights. As a result, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be able to outperform traditional digital advertisers although most say they’re working on case studies to show higher engagement, and conversion.
- Expect a Battle Between Digital Agencies and Social Media Agencies. Now, there’s going to be a fight over advertising budget as social media agencies battle for small shares of advertising dollars. We’re also seeing digital agencies develop social competencies and battling the social pure plays. In the end, I believe we’ll get rid of the term ‘social’ or ‘digital’ as a prefix for any agency as they’ll all have the same competencies, esp after a mass M&A that biz dev execs are already starting to sniff.
Sources: As an Industry Analyst, I’m fortunate to speak to many in the industry for research purposes, In the past few weeks I’ve spoken to Adobe, Attention, Banyan Branch, Big Fuel, Buddy Media, Converseon, Deep Focus, Edelman, Google+, IBM (Social Products), LiveWorld, SocialFlow, VaynerMedia, We Are Social, and many others. Our analyst focused on agencies is Rebecca Lieb (Blog, Twitter), although we’re both talking to many-in-the-industry for our upcoming joint report on Paid Owned and Earned integration.
Update: Fast Company’s Francine Hardaway has answered this post discussing how Agencies are Going the Way of the Dodo.
Both the submissions on this job announcement board, as well as available social media positions at corporations continue to pour in. In this continued digest of job changes, I like to salute those that continue to join the industry in roles focused on social media, see the archives, which I’ve been tracking since Q4, 2007.
People on the Move in the Social Business Industry:
- Tyler Altrup joins EMC Corporation as Senior Social Media Engagement Manager Manages all efforts in social measurement, monetization, and gamification.
- Techcrunch hires or promotes Peter Ha, Frederic Lardinois And New Co-Editor Alexia Tsotsis
- Adam Swart joins iQU as Director of Social Media Responsible for Social strategy and marketing
- Tony Obregon joins Avanade Inc as Global Social Media Manager Develop corporate social media strategy and partner in tactical execution with PR, online/digital, marketing, recruiting and internal communications teams.
- Chris Heffer joins SAP as Social CRM sales Positioning the SAP social CRM offering accross the UKI
- Ken Comee joins Powerreviews as CEO Responsible for vision, strategy, and operations at PowerReviews.
- Marcy Cohen joins MasterCard Worldwide as VP Social Media and Media Relations Focused on advancing MasterCard’s social strategy as well as corporate storytelling via mainstream media. I’ve worked with Marcy, she’s fantastic, congrats to the MasterCard team.
- Alex Beal joins Accenture Interactive as Marketing Director Driving Digital and Analytics marketing strategy, great to hear, I’ve respected Andy’s work for years.
- Sandy Adam joins ANSYS Inc. as Manager of Social Media Marketing Defining the Global Social Strategy and educating the employees in all things social, from content creation to execution. http://www.linkedin.com/in/sandyadam
- Delphine Remy-Boutang joins www.thesocialbureau.com as founder & CEO Social Business Consultant, Delphine is charming and has been a wonderful practice leader for years, we’ve shared the stage in London.
- Chris Hoskin joins Artesian Solutions as Chief Marketing Officer Responsible for redeveloping Artesian’s brand strategy and aligning marketing with the company’s business strategy
Submit a new hire:
Seeking a job?
- See the Web Strategy Job Board, which includes paid submissions from the top brands in the world.
- Social Media Jobs Facebook Group
- Social Media Jobs by Chris Heuer
- Social Media jobs, filtered by SimplyHired
- Social Media Job Network by James Durbin
- 25 places to find social media jobs by Deb Ng
Please congratulate the new hires by leaving a comment below.