Social media is the new public relations of the marketing industry. Newbies think it's the "exciting" marketing discipline. It is a great field, but it's more than tweeting around the clock.
Saying you want to work in social media, so you can play on Facebook all day is like saying you want to work in PR because you like people. Good for you, but that's just not what we do.
These are the requisite traits for success in social media. It's not as easy as it looks. You must be:
Social media is the fastest-changing industry ever. You have to religiously monitor the environment and adapt quickly to change.
You have to be committed to reading constantly about social media and measurement, and searching aggressively for the latest trends and best practices.
There is little to no off time in social media. It happens 24x7, so you have to be ready to respond at any time. If someone posts something negative on your Twitter stream and you don't respond for 24 hours, good luck finding another job in social media.
Social media enthusiasts are quick and clever. You need to be, too, or you will come off looking like your grandma or, worse, like a corporate mouthpiece.
Social media doesn't exist in a universe by itself. It's part of a larger, strategic marketing mix. You must see and understand the overall goals, strategies, and objectives before you can implement social media tactics.
6. Meticulously organized
You have to write, post, monitor, respond and measure for countless social media channels. You have to be organized, but not such a perfectionist that you can't move quickly, and it's so important to have great monitoring systems in place.
Some of the most successful social media folks are funny, lighthearted and don't takes themselves too seriously. Hello, "NOT COOL, COOKIE!"
Yep, that's right. We don't just sit around and tweet all day. We have to measure our results just like anyone else. Having science and math skills is a big plus.
Though it's important to be an expert in this category, it's not good to be too focused on one skill. To truly be a valuable contributor, you need to understand the big picture of marketing.
Yeah, that's right, I said it: You need to be social to work in social media. Get out from behind the computer and have a few face-to-face conversations. Enjoy the life that you're posting about.
Do you have another trait that you'd add to this list?
Carrie Peterson in the social media director at Internet Marketing Inc. in San Diego.