How Exactly Do You Go Social?

Even if social media is NOT actually a new thing with a new set of job requirements, and turns out to be just a different way of communicating, companies are handling “going social” in different ways.

“Hiring to meet social-media needs creates huge headaches for most companies for the simple reason that they have to write job descriptions for positions that don’t exist,” writes Matthew Yeomans at The Big Money. In advertising, “Treating social media as a specialist product certainly makes it easier for agencies to sell to their clients but it also puts off the inevitable decision both agencies and their marketing clients must make: the need to reinvent their natural broadcast skill-sets to meet the challenge of two-way social communication.” The question then becomes: do you teach old dogs new tricks, or do you hire somebody who knows Facebook but doesn’t have the institutional or technical knowledge of your other employees?

It’s a question Yeomans doesn’t answer, maybe because there isn’t an answer yet. He does note that Best Buy didn’t hire any social media experts—they just got their existing staff on Twitter. The staff answer customer service questions over Twitter during what would otherwise be downtime, and the most frequent contributors get their names listed in a newsletter (and maybe some bonuses down the road). And because it’s on Twitter, a broadcasting medium, these guys and gals become part of the face of the company. Customer service isn’t in their job description but they’re doing customer service. Marketing isn’t what they’re trained for but in a way, they’re doing marketing. But that’s opening a whole other can of worms.

In the age of Facebook, will we need marketers?