by Marisa Strupp
May 15th, 2012
Social media—to many it only means updating Facebook statuses and tweeting about what they ate for lunch. To social media consultants and digital media specialists working in social media, however, it means exploring and excavating the online world. Social media is not only a tool, but also a new media marketing strategy that helps an untold number of businesses connect with their target audiences.
There are a lot of misconceptions about working in social media marketing, and today I hope to clarify them for you. Through my own experience as a social media intern, as well as the insight from a social media strategist (BLASTmedia Senior Account Executive, Emily Trimble), I’ve compiled some of the most common misconceptions about working in social media for businesses.
When you tell someone you work in social media, there are several common responses you get. Here are a few of the misguided ones, and how we, as social media professionals, can handle them:
“I’m a Social Media Intern!”
Common Response: You’re a social media intern? So you get to update your own Facebook status all day. Easy!
Marisa (that’s me): Being a social media intern at BLASTmedia means stepping up to the plate and doing essential work for real clients. Through my internship this past spring, I was able to link up with my teammates in the office on their client work using Google+, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest. I’ve rarely been able to keep up with my own personal social media accounts while in the office. My social media work at BLAST has opened my eyes to the fact that when you work at a social media agency, your clients’ presences are more important than your own.
Common Response: Other than you getting coffee for your supervisors, do you actually do anything useful?
Marisa: As much as my supervisors would probably like for me to bring them coffee everyday, they find better ways to utilize my time. When I first started my internship at BLAST, I was thrown into the pit of fire to see how my skills matched and what else I needed to learn. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was a term unfamiliar to me until my internship at BLAST. Incorporating heavy SEO terms on the social media channels helped to bring in new, qualified visitors to our clients’ blogs and social profiles, as well as raise awareness for my clients. This once foreign concept is now a way of life.
“I work as a social media strategist at a PR and social media agency.”
Common Response: So, you just play on Facebook all day? I have a Facebook account; I could totally do your job.
Emily: This one always frustrates me the most. I’m not sure who could actually convince someone to pay them for playing on Facebook all day… Typically I answer these people by just letting them know that yes, Facebook and Twitter are part of what we do at BLAST. However, it’s more about creating content and representing a brand. Through our social media campaigns, we manage our clients’ online presence. That can be through writing blogs, monitoring forums, creating YouTube videos, and, yes, interacting with customers on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Common Response: Oh, you work in social media? You’re one of those people spamming me all day.
Emily: This is a big negative. All of the outreach that we make, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,or in email newsletters, is targeted outreach. We work with our clients to determine who their target audience is and then go out and find where those people are spending time online. Plus, at BLASTmedia, we’re really focused on content marketing—that is, we don’t just put out content that promotes the client. We work to create content that is relevant to their audience(s), without being wholly self-promotional. Our clients want to be seen as thought leaders, not spambots.
Being part of the team in social media means helping the client connect with their audiences. Even though there are common misconceptions about social media, there are always answers to each fallacy.
Do you have a question about what we do as social media professionals? We’re happy to answer it—leave a comment below!