The Evolution of Work

The focus of this column is on the changes which we are experiencing either in existing jobs, normally caused by advances in technology or technology inspired re-organisation. As interesting as brand new, out-of-the-box jobs may be, perhaps more interesting are changes to existing job categories. The field of corporate and personal communication is no exception as todays Evolved Job shows.

The “Social Media Communicator”

Social media communicators are in demand. The world of the Internet is upon us and with it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google etc. More and more companies rely on using social media to increase brand awareness, exposure to their products/services and to build trust in their company or corporation.  Many young adults at school and college and university students are what you might consider “experts” in social media. Wikipedia carries a list of the most obvious of these sites at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites.

Individuals use these sites to express their opinions, promote their skills/knowledge, find careers and simply engage in conversations that capture their interest.  For someone attracted to the world of Public Relations and Marketing, with a desire to make Communications a career, becoming a Social Media Communicator is a solid place to lay a foundation for a sustainable future career. The great thing naturally is that the basic skills are generally acquired long before you leave school.

What are some of the skills, education/experience requirements or areas of competency necessary to be successful in this career field?

Depending upon the industry, most individuals seeking employment in this field should possess strong writing, verbal and interpersonal social skills.  If you are someone who is graceful and calm even under pressure and who is creative, flexible and even humorous at times, even better.  You should also be highly familiar with social networking tools and be able to work without supervision, but also be comfortable in a team environment.

In many cases it is required that the applicant has experience in social media communications, a Degree in marketing, journalism, communications or a related field. Registration with the Public Relations Institute of South Africa (PRISA) is essential. It implies that you are Professional and Accountable.

Interestingly, when you choose the course of your Degree remember that additional subjects in Law, Psychology and even Statistics will certainly make you more attractive and employable. 

Typical tasks and responsibilities

Being employed in the Corporate Sector will require you to develop and execute social media campaigns, monitor social media promotions and the results, and identify opportunities to engage regarding issues that are significant or relevant to the company.

As a social media communicator, you may find that you are responsible for maintaining databases, researching strategies effective for targeting a new audience or untapped market, and drafting outreach material.  Responding to relevant conversations taking place in social media is also often required.

Areas of interest and studies helpful to the social media communicator’s career

Experience in writing copy, editing and creative writing are highly beneficial to individuals interested in this career field.  Good communications skills and the ability to engage your audience are essential.

To qualify, some companies require that you have extensive knowledge in Excel, Microsoft Word and other software.  Any courses that are beneficial in developing strong writing and oral communication skills or that require critical thinking are desirous.  Experience with and understanding of content management systems (CMS) is also a plus.

What industries will a social media communicator be able to find work in? 

Nearly every industry, for a number of reasons.  Today, social media is one of the most effective ways to get a message out, to build awareness of a new business, to announce new products/services, to build relationships with like-minded individuals or businesses, and to engage potential customers.  Therefore, communicating through social media is a great advantage for nearly any industry you could imagine.

To put it simply, social media helps launch new businesses and keep existing companies in the spotlight, helping businesses communicate to their target audience around the world building leads and revenues, thus helping all industries reach a new level of success.

In the position of a social media communicator, can you trust that there will be a demand for your knowledge/expertise in future years?

Absolutely.  Social media is one of the most effective ways for companies in every industry to get their message out, increase exposure and communicate with both potential and existing customers as well as potential business partners.

Because social media is constantly changing, the employment market is better suited to those who already possess substantial knowledge and understanding of how it works and who have prior experience, although those new to the job market may be sufficiently qualified as well.