Employing a Marketing Individual for Social Media – Conned?

Just two years ago, there were not anywhere near as many Social Media jobs you see now.  That’s on job portals, LinkedIn and probably other places I haven’t looked (the papers perhaps?).

Many of these jobs are titled Marketing Executive, Online Marketer, Social Media Assistant, Social Media Co-ordinator etc.  The hourly pay rate ranges from £8 per hour to £43.75 per hour.  Permanent staff salary ranges from £14,000 – £102,000 or above dependent on general experience and industry experience.

The lower paid jobs seem to be offered by businesses that wish to use Social Media but think that they do not have the budget to outsource. The types of individuals that are applying and getting these roles are those that are either graduates or interns wishing to enter the Social Media space – all be it under the banner of marketing.  Majority of these individuals have used some social networks (or maybe even just one) to stay in touch with friends and family and experienced the web effect of getting to know who knows who simply by using a social network – even if only on a personal level.

On occasion, we also see traditional marketing assistants (or “Marketing Executives”) getting into these roles because the employer may decide it is easier to assume a marketing body will get to know Social Media and get around to making that part of the job.  Good for the candidate in terms of placing Social Media on the CV and good for the company because they will soon appear to be a lot more with the times for what might appear to be minimal cost.

The roles that are offered at a higher level of pay are for those that are on a serious search for individuals who have proven expertise (based on references and previous Social Media roles).  The types of people that apply for these roles might be varied; however, those that get these jobs are indeed experienced and eager to get in deeper with Social Media.  These people have the knowledge and skills and could even run their own Social Media business, but prefer to be employed.

For the latter type of organisation and employee – this process seems to work because in fact, these types of organisations generally have teams of experts in various areas and the finances available to buy in resources and training if needed.  These organisations are usually forward thinking and like to grow the business – and therefore have less hesitation, if any, in investing in the future of the business.

As far as the company that hires the low level “Marketing Executive” is concerned, a great misunderstanding occurs.  Looking at the businesses that have specifically hired an employee for this role, it appears that they become misleadingly satisfied that their Social Media activity is taken care of and even if there is no return as yet, they are at least taking action and going in the right direction.  Unfortunately, they have just been conned!

I am not saying this because they should be getting a magical return – but more so because it is clear that whoever has told them it is “happening” is unknowingly making them look bad online with half completed profiles without any products, services or even a contact name.  It is a difficult situation in which I feel it would be rude to say that actually, it is not done, and what is done is incorrect on a basic level.  If you as a business have gone to the trouble of hiring a Marketing person who claims he or she can carry out the Social Media activity, and you have felt good about your new employee taking care of this area for the last six months – hearing that this employee doesn’t actually know what he or she is doing will sound like I am just slating the business for not using my services.   On the other hand, it would not be fair to ignore or not highlight the activity which I know for fact will not produce any returns, ever.  So, what should I do?  It is only when there is something that may damage the brand and reputation that I feel a motivated to inform them, but even then, time is limited.

What is a shame is that they end up with half completed Facebook Pages, an already tired Twitter account (if lucky), zero engagement with their market, absolutely no Voice of the Customer, but…. They do get to feel that they are somewhat with the times, even if they are not.

From what I have seen and heard, they have a “Marketing Consultant” they hired and are on top of it.  When asked about the return on investment, they have not a clue or suddenly gain the patience to accept “it takes time”.

Now let’s get one thing straight:  Of course when you recruit a “marketing” bod and ask them if they can use Social Networks for the business, they will say yes.  Because they have used Facebook with their friends for years!  This is the equivalent of Rockstar Group of mentors that suggest “Don’t do it yourself!  Get a 14-18 year old to do it”.  Like a teenager knows about business!  If he or she does, they wouldn’t be applying for this measly little job!

The social media market is one of those where little information can easily get you ahead of the rest.  There is no doubt in that.  This is of course, as in many professions, leading to cowboys.  The cowboys are not the concern here today though, the concern is of the number of businesses that are satisfied in thinking they are “on top of it” when really they are not.

To hire even the lowest paid marketing bod will cost a minimum of £14,000 per year.  Should you account for the perks (ok maybe just holiday and sick pay), then you are talking a lot more.  Yet these businesses can invest less in experts all around the country and the globe for less and get proper support with analytics that will dramatically change the business.

After all, why would anyone like me (and many others) set it up as a business if we didn’t deliver professional results?!  Additionally, these businesses may feel that they are filling the new recruits’ time with other tasks to do – just to justify the cost, yet risk their brand and reputation with a useless online profile, no return, and no analysis of the investment in marketing anyway!

It is an educational issue at the end of the day, so the only thing I can do is to publish articles showing the good and the bad online profiles, or simply tips on completing online profiles.  Given the number of items that can affect the online activity, there will be an endless amount of articles if I go down this road.  I have already trained many individuals who have become Social Media savvy and either set up their own business or are doing a great job – there just aren’t enough quality ones to go round!

How about you suggest ideas for dealing with this?  What do you think?

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