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Aliya S. King worked as a freelance writer for nearly 10 years, but six months ago, she saw an opportunity she could not pass up–a Craigslist posting that asked for a social media Web manager for Iced Media, an online marketing and research company based in New York City.
She was apprehensive at first since the job was essentially marketing. But she tapped into her experience of blogging and maintaining profiles on Facebook and Twitter to go after the position, which she was offered immediately following an interview.
For three hours a day, King manages the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr accounts for one of Iced Media’s clients, a publicly traded restaurant that has over 500 locations across the northeastern coast. She interacts with customers about their experience with the restaurant, seeks out videos posted about the restaurant, and checks and responds to new postings. Every week, she reports each site’s activity to Iced Media and offers suggestions on how the restaurant can better interact with customers.
Opportunities like King’s have certainly become in demand with companies like Ford Motor Company, Starbucks, Dell, and Home Depot, assembling social media teams. In a report conducted this year by Equation Research, a research execution and strategy firm that works with Fortune 1000 brands, advertising and public relation agencies, out of 1,469 respondents, at least 50 percent of brand companies with less than or more than 50 employees are using social media in their marketing activity.
“It’s important for companies to get involved because social networking allows us to meet the consumer in real time. It’s really about building relationships,” notes Gwen Peake, global digital communications manager at Ford Motor Company.
Since social networking is originally a personal exchange of information, King admits there is sometimes a tug-of-war over representing the company and infusing her own views. She says it’s not easy convincing people to follow a corporate entity but succeeds in doing so by remaining personable and eliminating corporate lingo.
“I have to find this really fine line that it’s not all about me–I’m working for the client but I’m me also,” King says. The opportunity has proven to work well for her, who has grown the restaurant’s Twitter following from 70 to a little more than 1,500.
A job as in social media requires more than having a Facebook or Twitter profile. There are several skills needed:
–Ability to use brand monitoring tools
–Knack for establishing and maintain relationships
–Ability to engage with and communicate on behalf of your audience
–Knowledge about the company’s culture and industry
“I think social media is a great place to search for employment,” King says. “You follow people in your industry and you will be more informed in general.”
She adds, “When I do hear about jobs, I tend to think of people I know via Twitter [and] Facebook, so it’s good to be connected.”