If you had to trace the trajectory of the social media strategist within the enterprise, you’d either get a spike or a sharp decrease — depending whether your company has embraced social media as a tool to improve customer relations, business processes and product innovation, or if it has reacted fearfully to its presence.
The Life & Times of the Social Strategist
In the past year, much has been reported about social strategists, their impact within the enterprise and how companies can influence their career paths. Last year at this time, Altimeter Group released its report Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist, which showed that only 23% of social strategists having a formalized program with long-term direction. Such direction was the result of companies who approached social media proactively, compared to companies who became too overwhelmed by changing needs and growing demands to stay ahead.
In May, we reported that Useful Social Media had addressed the state of corporate social media. Its report showed that companies are woefully unprepared to effectively manage and engage their social media presence. In fact, it was reported that more than 75% of organizations have fewer than three people exclusively working on their social media initiatives.
By September, thanks to an infographic put together by Voltier Creative, we learned what it takes to be a social media strategist and how are these strategists using the web. A brief glimpse shows a male-dominated environment tasked with creating ROI measurements and evangelizing new initiatives.
The Road Ahead?
What does this all mean and where do we go from here? Social media strategists are either empowered to innovate and develop social business plans or they are stifled into adding up likes, plusses and followers in a lame attempt to measure reach. Additionally, social strategists are few and far between in companies and are expected to engage customers across multiple platforms without so much as a team to help.
To be most effective, both strategists and companies need to work together, while giving enough support and resources so that social business initiatives can be deployed successfully. Strategists also need to do more outreach to improve the way they are regarded within the enterprise. Social strategists shouldn’t be banished to marketing teams, but incorporated within all operations so as to make it an integrated effort, rather than an isolated one.
As this year draws to a close, the enterprise needs to effectively outline its social road map for the year ahead. As new technologies emerge faster than ever, it isn’t enough to take a wait-and-see approach. You’re either social or you aren’t. If your current processes don’t reflect aspects of social business, no amount of social media is going to change the way people work, customers engage and companies innovate. The career path of the social strategist will continue to be limited as long as companies undermine the role of social media within the enterprise.