Social Media Profession Saturation?

Is the profession of social media becoming competitively saturated?

Early adoption of social media led to great communicators becoming industry leaders as social media professionals.

Communicational icons, such as Amber Naslund, Brian Solis, Paul Barron and Chris Brogan sprinted out of the gate, blazing a new industry called social media.

As the growth of social media has exploded, giving rise to official professional associations such as Social Media Club and educational programs such as “boot camps” and Portland State University’s Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate, leaders in this industry – the true professionals – have eschewed monikers such as “guru”, distancing themselves from too-narrowly focused “ninjas” and those out for a quick buck.

In a conversation last week with a significant franchisee of Papa Murphy’s Pizza brand (with tens of locations and direct corporate HQ relationship), it was shared that they are approached three or more times a week by so-called social media professionals, offering to “build them a Facebook fanpage”. The franchisee laughed in frustration, stating they had established a strong gate-keeper, because nearly all of these approaches were unable to provide the metrics ability businesses require.

On another front, the critique of traditional public relations and marketing firms was heavy over the last few years – that they didn’t “get” social media. With these traditional communication providers unable to advantage social media for their clients, the clients turned to either outsourcing or handling it themselves. As recently as December 2010, I was approached by a national public relations firm seeking a statement of Chalkboarder’s social media abilities – that they could subcontract for the benefit of their clients. Many of these communication firms have now put serious investment into gaining that social media knowledge in the last 18 months.

My question is this: as traditional public relations and marketing firms increasingly offer skilled social media services to their clients, does this reduct the opportunities for other talented communication/social media professionals? Are brands going to return to their public relations/marketing firms that they have had prior relationships with and eschew social media professionals that “got it” early on? Is the industry becoming crowded? Is there value to membership in a social media professional association like Social Media Club versus more traditional associations like the American Marketing Association or Public Relations Society of America?

An additional question would be – how can brands determine the true reach and effectiveness of social media service providers?

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO – Chalkboarder

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2 Comments to “Social Media Profession Saturation?”

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  2. Good questions, Jeff. I think it depends on the market. If PR firms now get it they will of course court old clients. And many will go back to them. But this assumes that the business has a PR firm. In the small local business market I think there’s still plenty of room for representation, collaboration or simply training. Many small businesses know they need to join the new media revolution, but have no idea how-whether technically or strategically. So I guess the question is at what level is there a glut in the market?

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