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Social is becoming increasingly important in business, both in terms of external platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and in terms of social capabilities being integrated into traditional productivity applications. But can you bet your career on social? Will "social" be in your next job title, whether your role is in the marketing or IT department?
There are many new positions popping up in response to the rise in the use of social products and practices, but "social" is more likely to turn up in your job description than your job title.
"I would say that it is already common to see social media skills as requirements of seemingly unrelated jobs," said Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs.com. "For example, a law school career counselor job for Golden Gate University currently lists 'the knowledge and use of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media resources' as a qualification requirement, right next to 'the knowledge of the San Francisco Bay Area legal community and national legal job market.' This highlights
how social media can go hand-in-hand with almost any industry."
[ Make yourself more marketable to potential employers. See Social Do's And Don'ts For Job Hunters. ]
But while social is being integrated into the day-to-day responsibilities of a growing number of roles, the number of positions that focus on social is also growing.
"Social media is absolutely a growing career field," said Sutton Fell. "As social media interactions continue to overlap -- and outright steal -- marketing and advertising budgets from traditional mediums, experts are becoming more in demand to help navigate the marketing, analytics, advertising, programming, customer experience and project management areas of social media."
Sutton Fell provided a list of just a few of the social media-specific jobs listed at FlexJobs, which is focused on telecommuting and freelance positions: social media support specialist, social media community manager, social media writer, social media UI designer and social media Internet assessor.
One company that has such dedicated personnel is TeliApp, a mobile application development firm. TeliApp CEO Joshua Weiss expects to see the number of social-dedicated positions increase in the near future -- especially in the area of marketing.
"I strongly believe that positions like social media analyst, social media guru, social ninja and the like will become more prevalent over the next two years, to the point where it will become an expected job position for those companies that require marketing through social media," said Weiss.
Weiss said this is due in part to the ever-shifting nature of social and the struggle companies have to keep up with what's trending.
"It's difficult for company execs and administration to stay on top of the latest evolutions within this quickly changing marketplace, and companies need to start relying on dedicated staff in order to get this job done," he said. "My company has a dedicated person who does this, and she works with a handful of undergraduate interns to make sure that she's always kept abreast of the latest trends."
Others, however, believe that "social" will soon cease to exist as a qualifier -- both for technology and jobs -- as it becomes more widely used, expected and understood.
Nathan Freitas, marketing director, engagement, at Salesforce.com, believes that social is not so much a career as an element of traditional business departments.
For example, he said, "a product marketing manager will need to know how to leverage social media for their campaigns, and a support representative should understand how social media can be used to address service issues and provide better customer support. ... In the future, I see jobs moving away from including 'social' in the title as it becomes more ingrained into our jobs."
Is "social" in your job title or job description? How much do you interact with social media and social technology for your job? Please let us know in the comments section below.
Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.