So, I grew up in Wyoming. This is a little known fact that only arises if people ask me specifically where I'm from. I've spent the majority of my life between Miami and NYC, and sometimes forget myself that I really am a small town girl. Why is this important? Well, because when I come across obstacles in life, or even moments when I need to make a critical decision, I immediately go back to my roots. I take a three day trip to the middle of nowhere and remember where I came from, or I spend hours on the phone to people who have known me before I knew myself. I know where my roots are, and that simple fact has helped me navigate some pretty rough waters.
The same concept applies for social media-- you need to have roots in some area of expertise before you can navigate the often-times unpredictable waters of social media. You cannot just open a business Facebook page because you have a stellar personal Facebook page, and immediately have a million fans. You have a great personal page because something is great about YOU-- whether it be your personality, your cutthroat, super secretive way of always being the first to find the best memes, songs, etc. in the world to post...There's something about you and the content you're creating that makes your personal page awesome.
You need that same something for a brand, and, unfortunately, that doesn't always just come from having a great product. It also comes from having a great background in knowing how to deal with people-- and that usually comes from some form of a communications degree.
I owe a huge chunk of my ability to navigate the muddy social media waters to my background in public relations. My roots are in writing press releases, pitching ideas, answering a million questions about a product, giving quick quotes about products and creating eye-catching graphics for effective media kits. Sound familiar? All of those skills are at the very core of how I interact online. After all, social media is a form of public relations, isn't it? In social media we are constantly relating with the public.
Without those roots, I would be at a loss when a crisis suddenly pops up on Facebook and Twitter, or when a customer gets a little too fresh with me in a message. The skills I learned throughout school for PR, are the same skills that allow me to be an effective communicator in social media, as well.
Point? Social media pros need to be in tune with their roots, and cling to them when hitting rough waters in social media. They don't have to be anchored in social media. I've met tons of marketers, research analysts and creatives that have their own type of roots that support incredible social media campaigns. They have to be in something, though, because quality social media cannot sustain with just a knowledge base of how to maneuver a social network. Effective social media campaigns are born from teams who also understand the core concepts of communication, marketing, public relations, etc. Where are your roots?
- Marji J. Sherman