Despite a lackluster IPO, no one can deny that Mark Zuckerberg was onto something. The addiction to social media doesn’t appear to be a passing fad. In fact, it’s now becoming a part of just about everything we do. This includes marketing and public relations. Facebook alone accounts for about 13 percent of all time spent online in the U.S., up from just over 7 percent a few years ago. Other than the ability to find somebody, somewhere on the planet who agrees with your opinion on just about anything, social media also means new jobs for those adept at using it.
The New 411
It’s no longer about bombarding the customer with information and hoping that the message gets through. Feedback is almost instant and certainly more interactive than ever. Most major businesses now have some form of social presence. People now view a business on a more personal level. The wall between the customer and the seller is slowly coming down. This also makes it more important than ever to keep Facebook pages, blogs, and other social pages updated. If the content is not fresh, potential customers get bored and click elsewhere. Those with a knack for writing keyword-rich content have an edge here.
You Can Be the Voice
The speed at which information is shared is faster than ever. If a customer doesn’t like a product or service, a company will know about it almost immediately. Businesses can no longer afford to wait weeks or months to respond to public reaction. The more a business interacts with the public, the more likely they are to generate sales. Some companies, especially smaller ones, don’t have the time to monitor comments and feedback and may not be adept at posting to Twitter and Facebook. It stands to reason that the generation that grew up with YouTube and thinks of Madonna as “that old singer from the Super Bowl” has a better grasp on how to share information quickly.
Up Close and Personal
It’s no longer about trying to get a message out to everybody and hoping that most of them respond to it. Social media has made it easier than ever to send a specific message to a very specific target audience. On the flip side, this up close and personal relationship also makes it easier to respond to a PR crisis. Once information spreads online, it’s hard to stop it – even if it’s wrong or a half-truth. When crisis hits, it’s not enough to wait until tomorrow to see how to fix it. We’re living in a 24/7 world. A response the day after is equal to months in the social world. Someone who knows their way around this non-stop social circus is a valuable asset to any business looking to keep up.
Recent stats show that a sluggish economy is making it hard for college students to find jobs right out of college. However, college students have a major advantage over others already in the job market – a better understanding of social media. Many businesses just diving into social media are looking for people to write content, create and manage social networks and blogs, and take care of the technical skills that go into keeping all this social stuff up and running. This new media isn’t just a way to find out who Kim Kardashian is marrying this week, it’s also a promising new source of jobs for those with the skills to navigate this uncharted territory.
Felicia Trevino is a social media-savvy freelance blogger. If you are interested in finding a career in social media, then click here to learn more about degree options.