• Geoff,

    Man, I gotta get to DC and see you guys soon. Charlene’s group does a great job in depicting the attributes of what’s really important (as usual). Love what they do for our space.
    This is exactly why we get hired. Analysis and Research that drive Strategies to achieve Revenue Goals for clients. The focus here is Business Impact, not from metrics (Get those at any new shiny object SaaS) but from Critical Thinking of our clients (or their clients) businesses.
    This work has been ongoing and will continue until clear path’s of success stories are told. More to come.
    Great stuff as usual.

  • does any of this data affect sales (or anything else that affects real business)?

    No matter what the job title is, I want to know if the person has ideas that make sense, or performance I can measure

  • Damn man. You reading my mind? I’ve been saying this for sooooo long now. SM specialist? Yeah, and what else? The trouble with bandwagons is that you better have another means of transportation if the wagon leaves the station without you. Foundation is the key.

  • Haven’t we ALL been saying that? Duh, I mean anyone who’s truly a marketer or coms professional? All those morons who are hanging their respective hats on their ability to “do” social media are really just specialists. And the crazy thing is, they often have no idea the damage they do by not having any experience in and/or grasp of marketing or coms at all. And yet, they forge ahead.

    The morons.

    Excellent post.


    • I am getting to the point with this where I want to write a post that’s titled, “Please Silicon Valley, No More Bullshit.” It’s incredible the spin that comes out of this place sometimes.

  • Someone blogged not long ago about Social Media Marketing really just being Marketing. I myself in tying in to your post here refuse to use the word Media. It is Social Communication Technology Platforms and they are going to be changing forever. Facebook will not be around in 5 years. Twitter might be like an evolved SMS in 5. If you can not grasp overall strategy, marketing, technologies, business etc you will not last long.

    • I agree, these are just online media. And conversations are a feature set that any site should have. It’s just not special anymore. Time to put the kazoos away!

  • Been saying this for years now Geoff – these “social media only” positions are just a means to an end ( I don’t want to be a kickass social media specialist – I want to be a kickass Communications Director or Chief of Public Affairs, and I’d be good at it not because I know social media, but because I know social media AND communications.

    • And more, too. That’s why you lead, Steve. You’re not satisfied with the status quo or building fiefdoms.

  • The marketing assumption is a bit odd to me. I have no background in marketing aside from a 6 month stint as a marketing director that proved to me I don’t much care for marketing. But I do have almost 15 years experience in corporate communications. I work with marketers in my org. But I am, at core, a journalist and a production editor, and when I explain how to use social media, I’m generally talking about our relationship with our audience and how we need to expand out of broadcast mentality into engagement.

    This also reminds me of something I’ve learned over the years that has little to do with social media but much to go with the underlying examination of specialization leading to a vocational handicap. I often tell young people to go for the broader liberal arts education and major in history or English if they want to succeed in the communications business, because on the whole, liberal arts majors are better writers (I was told this once when deciding on a major, and I’ve seen it bear out).

    • Yeah, I’d say marketing is critical to business objectives like sales, communications is key for communicating. :) They are not the same always. Kami and I fight about this a lot.

      For the record, I was Lit major, and got my second degree in Communications. Lit taught me how to write, to think, and to tell stories. All were more effective tactical skills than the communications theory I learned…

      Thanks for coming by, Helen!

      • Always a pleasure, Geoff–and if it gets me out of my usual playground and comfort zone more often, that’s probably a good thing, right? :D

  • I am a current PR and journalism student at the Cronkite School, and like all students, am encouraged to pick up internships. But so many PR internships are advertised as “social media interns.”

    I may be in the minority, but I don’t understand how putting me in a corner to tweet and Facebook gives me any real value or understanding of how a company or organization functions.

    The analogy of the military operation was such a good visual of how an organization runs. Social media isn’t everything, it has to be part of a strategy, not the only strategy.

    Thanks for posting.


    • We all get our start somewhere, so take what you can get, but know you need to expand beyond the role. In 1994, I started out as a writer for press releases and newsletters and ads. We all start somewhere. Don’t be discouraged!

  • Social media creates one of the best opportunities for a young graduate to get an entry level job. For those well educated enough to understand the context of their role, it’s all good. If anyone thinks that marketing or strategy is subordinate in any way to social media, they simply don’t know what they are talking about. Since I teach strategic communications, I add social media as an element of the tactical mix, so at least my students understand the proper role and context of SM and can take advantage of the opportunity to start their career in an exciting area of the business. It also gives them some information power with colleagues that aren’t quite up to speed on SM. We all started somewhere, and usually quite humbly.

    • I feel like this is less of an issue for newcomers to the field than so called pros who reinvent themselves with the title. I admire what folks like you do to prepare students for the real world, and yes, we all cut our teeth with some humble beginning, for me it was simply writing newsletters and press releases.

      I also think experience and position is not a justification to feel mighty. As we have seen, things change quickly in this field. That of course does not rob experience or the fundamentals of theory of their value. Rather that challenges us to apply those assets in new ways.

  • To succeed in social media or any other form of online marketing you need to understand marketing and business basics, which includes traditional marketing. To know where marketing is going you need to understand where it’s been. In order to be successful online you need to implement the formulas that worked traditionally.

  • Good news for those of us grounded in “traditional” marketing strategy scrambling to find a Twitter-fit for some client.

  • Pingback:Strategy Lessons: The Ground Book | Geoff Livingston's Blog

    […] Particularly apropos for today’s social media expert, this phrase can be applied to any discipline. Most media relations aces do not comprehend marketing. Direct marketers do not understand crowdsourcing. Advertisers rarely understand the long term relationship work that business developers and fundraising pros participate in. Like the sword fencers, specialists are just specialists. […]

  • A social media specialist is someone who fully understands Marketing, Web Design & Development, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Optimization, PPC Advertising, Analytics tracking & reporting.  Once who can use all these methods together can achieve a Social Media Strategy tailored for any business.

    Example here:  

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