Social Strategists: Movin’ On Up
The entertainment world recently lost Sherman Hemsley, star of the long-running TV sitcom “The Jeffersons.” However, the Jeffersons’ American dream – becoming affluent and “movin’ on up” to Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side – lives on. How could this possibly relate to social media specialists in today’s B2B organizations? SiriusDecisions’ research indicates that they’re now “movin’ on up” as well.
What we’ve seen over the past five years of social evolution has been nothing short of radical. It’s the relatively quick shift from the perception of Twitter as a silly, frivolous task for interns to muck around with, to the realization that social media can and should be integral to the way we operate as marketing professionals.
What I’m beginning to see now is even more interesting – and extreme: the emergence of more and more social strategists, with a wide variety of titles, outside of marketing (and sometimes even in senior-level management). For a role that just four years ago was largely filled by transient intern populations, this is a noteworthy shift.
These strategists are often former consultants – people who understand what makes organizations work, and are adept at identifying connection points and micro-sociological trends. They understand marketing as well, but they view human dynamics and social media as a set of tools to be leveraged across the organization as a source of information, a way to communicate, and a new approach to productivity, innovation and collaboration. There’s also a recognition that communities exist, sociologically, both internally and externally, and we’re now beginning to see technologies that support the natural behavior and communication patterns of these communities. This kind of thinking by people whose role used to be held by unpaid summer interns is, well, shocking – in an exciting, exhilarating and (depending on your job title) slightly scary way.
I’m curious to see where these individuals land in five years when social media is fully operationalized throughout the organization; but for right now, it’s imperative for social strategists within marketing to proactively broaden their scope to stay on the bleeding edge of B2B’s social evolution.