A bright new job opportunity beckons: Social Networking

A bright new job opportunity beckons: Social Networking

Judith Smith, Co-Founder, Chalkboarder.com

Got college-age kids? Got worries about their future employability?

Here’s a bit of good news.

Despite the cold and clammy specter of an extended recession tamping down new hires, a surprising new hot job market is just emerging, and the field will break wide open this year.

The positions are so new that the titles, the job descriptions, and the requirements are fluid. But generally, the job is called “social networking strategist.”

What does a social networking strategist do?

In the simplest terms, a social networking strategist builds and manages Internet-based communities for businesses and organizations with the goal of increasing sales, enhancing the client’s image, and monitoring the web-based conversation about the client.

What education/experience is required?

Several different levels of skill and experience can match with appropriate jobs in social networking. At the highest skilled level is a Social Networking Manager or Director. A mid-level person could be a Team Leader or Advisor. A more accessible job for recent grads or those who don’t plan to get a degree is Social Networking Strategist.

Let’s look at some actual excerpts of help wanted ads posted this week by real employers for top-level jobs:

+Must have a 500+ Twitter follower account or are writing or have written a popular blog, and have managed a LinkedIn or Facebook Group.
+Has a bachelor’s or associates degree in music, advertising, marketing, graphics, web development, communications, English, IT, music, theater, anthropology, history or related.
+Has sales experience and understands how to drive customers through the sales funnel
+Excels at research, possesses excellent writing skills and the ability to crank editorial and technical writing output without brooding.
+Has work experience or training in advertising, PR, online marketing or similar field
+Proficient with Microsoft Office products.
+Demonstrated creativity and documented immersion in social media (really send the links)
+Experience sourcing and managing content development and publishing
+Ability to jump from the creative side of marketing to analytical side, able to demonstrate why their ideas are analytically sound
+Understands social media universe including YouTube, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Flickr, Forums, Twitter, Wikis, blogs, etc…We’re looking for a social media addict who maintains a personal mix of participatory expertise from among these channels

See more examples of ads below this article (click here).

More technical positions are opening up, as well. Take a look at this week’s article from CNN:

Enterprise architect: “This is the most exciting job in social media and requires someone with broad experience in networks, multiple platforms, development, security and political infighting,” Durbin says. “This is a very rare find. It’s for companies looking to completely revamp their content management strategy and internal networks. It could be the most important role in a company in the next five years.”

User operations analyst: For any company with an online presence, user experience is one of the most vital parts of the business. The only way to monitor that is to have someone in charge of the experience themselves. No matter if the company is blogging, has a Web site or pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, user operations analysts interact with users, answer queries, investigate problems and keep track of user habits.


Who is hiring? Some of the most solid names in business and non-profits. Sony. Verizon. Planned Parenthood. Huffington Post. SAIC. AICPA. AAA of Southern California. ChicagoSchool of Professional Psychology. These are career jobs, akin to those that provided comfortable and sustained employment in the old advertising and public relations professions in the boom years of the last century.

Here’s more good news. There are plenty of social networking jobs coming up for less experienced applicants, too. Here’s a real help-wanted ad that chalkboarder.com will publish in its phase two operation this year (chalkboarder.com manages social networking for clients as a strategic marketing service).

Wanted: Social Networking Strategist for immediate hire. The job: Work on a team of five strategists under the supervision of a mid-level team leader to manage the social networking for assigned client businesses and organizations. Specific tasks: Skittering, monitoring, reporting, seeding, communicating. Useful skills: extensive experience in Internet communications, excellent communications, keen and quick thinker, fast keyboard skills. Useful education: marketing, business management. Useful experience: customer service, waitstaff, retail sales. College degree not essential. Location: PortlandOregon. For more information, contact Chalkboarder Jobs. Chalkboarder.com is a digital community management service firm offering clients real-time content production and strategic brand management messaging into online social networks.

Hard times in the nation’s economy mean hard decisions for parents and their college-age offspring. The questions persist. Will there be a job after graduation? What degree is the most likely to bring recruiters knocking? What industries and careers are vanishing? What fresh opportunities are opening, and what must a student do to be hired?

A wise parent (or a wise student) will consider employment in social networking to be a bright option worthy of exploration.

More examples from real ads:

Example #1
Candidate possesses functional knowledge or some experience with HTML/CSS
Knowledge of search engine optimization-think including basic keyword research. We name and tag our posts based on research..
Has excellent verbal and written communication skills and an ability to work individually on a project or in a team environment
Is eager to meet and exceed objectives and take on more responsibility
Brings to the position outstanding organizational skills and the ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously while meeting deadlines
Ability to communicate results to management and in a fast paced environment Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Interact with our customers to align unselfish service of their needs, with our corporate objectives
Be the eyes and ears of our brand as if your own reputation depended on it
Build and maintain our content distribution network by way of social media channels
Minute by minute participation in conversations that surround our content and brand, answer comments, be a mediator.”
Identify threats and opportunities in user generated content surrounding our brand, report to appropriate parties.
Interact with legal, search, client and cross corporate agencies.
Create content for feeds and snippets in various social media sites.
Schedule and organize multiple departments which generate content on a daily basis
Conduct keyword research including cataloging and indexing target keyword phrases
Participate in social media, as yourself and white hat avatars, on our behalf
Optimizing tags, on our feeds, sharing sites like YouTube/Flickr and search engines through copywriting, creative & keyword optimization & buzz pocket mining.
Tag and title content, with an understanding of how the word’s chosen impact natural search traffic and rankings via recurrent optimized content
Manage and track link building campaigns, coordinated with all facets of our business.
Create and update daily, weekly and monthly reports
Analyze campaigns and translate anecdotal or qualitative data into recommendations and plans for revising the social media campaigns. traditional
Minimum Visa Status: U.S. Citizen Employment Type: Full time Education Level: 4-Year College Degree

Example #2
Social Media Specialist Purpose: Serve as internal expert on social media and its application for communications and other disciplines (conferences, media relations, marketing, etc) Reports To: Senior Manager – Communications, Advertising and Brand Management. Required Competencies: Must be able to synthesize complex data into actionable information; think strategically; provide leadership, guidance, and coaching to the AICPA Communications & Media Channels team; and also be willing to implement and manage new social media programs and interaction, hands-on. Excellent new-media writing and journalism skills with readiness to use them are a must. Qualified candidates should be able to point to his/her own body of work through his/her blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, or Facebook page. Individual must be motivated, flexible, organized, and multitask-oriented and committed to high quality work product. Also must be able to work independently and perform well under pressure to meet project deadlines and goals and resolve problems. In addition, individual must have strong interpersonal skills, able to deal effectively with diverse groups of people at all levels. Ability to work in team environment, including managing multi-faceted projects with multiple partners. Passion for and deep facility in social media is a must. Individual must be self-motivated, deadline-driven and results-oriented. Regular reports on the status and success of online communications will be required. Individual must be strategic, a problem solver and deeply curious about the possibilities opened up by social media and online communications. Dedicated to continuous learning and exploration of new social media techniques.
Strong verbal and written communication skills
Self-starter, results oriented
Ability to build strong team relationships and build consensus
Quantitative skills. Individual must understand and be comfortable with creating and tracking meaningful and relevant metrics and be able to communicate them in dashboard format.

This position would work to maximize the organization’s reputation and reach on the internet by continually monitoring the ever-changing Internet landscape and making recommendations for adjustments to stay on the leading edge. The position will be expected to guide exploration of new and alternative ways to engage in and leverage social media activities, sites, memberships, relationships, and traffic in support of institutional strategic priorities. This position combines communications expertise and sensitivity with on hands knowledge of social media and emerging Web 2.0/3.O technologies. The individual in this position will work with partners internally and externally to identify and assess new opportunities and technologies for communications viability. The position also will educate internal teams on how new/emerging technologies can be utilized to achieve objectives. Key responsibilities include monitoring relevant news, conversations, and trends in social media sites, tools, and applications; applying that knowledge to increasing the use of social media for communications; strategizing with, advising, and educating staff on incorporating relevant social media techniques into communications and other outreach activities; and measuring the impact of social media on the Institute’s overall strategic communications efforts and initiatives. Writing, directly contributing, and monitoring and measuring social media usage are the key accountabilities.

Accountabilities include:
Ensure that communications opportunities and positioning on the Web is monitored and pursued.

Continually survey the Internet landscape to stay on top of emerging trends.

Identify and communicate compelling strategic reasons for implementing new/emerging Web technologies
Identify and assess emerging online communications practices and work with IT and CPA2Biz to implement solutions to facilitate the integration of such technologies
Educate staff on new/emerging Web technologies and how they can achieve key objectives.
Continually survey the Internet landscape to stay on top of emerging trends.
Identify and assess emerging online communications practices and work with IT and CPA2Biz to implement solutions to facilitate the integration of such technologies
Protect and promote the reputation through and on social media.
Drive coordinated, systematic and energetic AICPA social media efforts.
Coordinate on a programmatic, systematic effort with membership marketing to ensure effective usage of social media and social networking opportunities.

Expected Metrics:
Timely, effective monitoring of ([corporate] commentary, traffic and usage on a broad range of social media platforms.

Demonstration of knowledge and mastery of broad range of social media platforms.

Quality of writing, metrics, tracking and outreach efforts
Ability to facilitate and influence team usage of social media
Development of systems and vehicles to educate colleagues on appropriate and effective usage of social media
Documented demonstration to innovation


Preferably a degree in English, Journalism, Communications, Public Relations or a related discipline;
4 or more years of experience in a corporate communications, agency or newsroom environment demonstrating facility with Web and new media technologies, especially social media and Web 2.0/3.0.
A skilled communicator and writer comfortable with technical and technological subject matter.
Experience and knowledge of the CPA profession and/or the financial services industry.
In-depth knowledge of Web 2.0/3.0 technologies and communications vehicles, video editing and Web editing tools.
A passion for engaging in online communications and educating others in social media usage


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