The career path of the corporate social strategist new technologies have emerged, and consumers are adopting them. Social media is no longer the latest “shiny object,” as 79% of corporations have undertaken social media efforts, according to Altimeter Group’s research.
The corporate social strategist is the business decision maker for social media programs – who provides leadership, roadmap definition, and governance; and directly influences the spending on technology vendors and service agencies.
While this position doesn’t exist officially by title in every corporation today, this role will become pervasive in the coming years, just as leaders who manage the corporate website have become essential.
In the research, they found that over 41% of Social Strategists reported to the Marketing department. Primary responsibilities included leading the social program, participating in social media, and acting as a corporate resource for business units. Yet most Social Strategists and their programs lack maturity.
This emerging role is critical to the success of social media programs, unfortunately, most Social Strategists and their programs lack maturity, with only 23% of Social Strategists having a formalized program with long-term direction, the majority are facing six major challenges:
* Resistance from internal culture,
* Measuring ROI,
* Lack of resources,
* An ever-changing technology space,
* Resentment and envy of the role, and
* A looming increase in business demands.
Depending on how these challenges were met, Altimeter Group discovered that the Social Strategist has two possible career paths:
1) Fall behind in requests from vocal customers and internal business units, thereby becoming reactive, or
2) Develop a proactive program that gets ahead of the demands, and operate from a strategic planning position.
In regarding to hiring and managing your social strategist, they recommended senior management need to aim high when hiring because this role is critical to your brand and customer relationships. Senior management must be selective in hiring this role, and then give full support as Social Strategists help evolve the corporation. Senior managers must hire and foster a Social Strategist’s career based on find a candidate who comes from a strong digital or marketing background, seek those who focus on business objectives over the latest technologies, and give them the opportunity to take on risk safely, executives must provide air cover and clear roadblocks, and then appropriately reward their Strategist with challenges and compensation – or risk losing this key person to companies who can understand and leverage their skills.
To help the hiring executive find, manage, and support this new role, Altimeter Group suggested to use the following checklist:
1. Hire a program manager rather than a social media “hot shot.”
2. Seek candidates with a track record of early technology adoption in their careers.
3. Scrutinize how they have used social media in the past.
4. Seek backgrounds that demonstrate the ability to manage dotted-line resources and agency partners.
5. Look for a corporate entrepreneur, comfortable with “calculated risks.”
6. Ensure a cultural fit, as the Social Strategist will tackle change management.
7. Find a natural born connecter – both internally and externally.
8. Celebrate those risks by enabling them to “fail forward,” while clearing their obstacles.
9. Enable them to connect to peers and invest in their knowledge and career growth.
10. Protect your investment by providing new challenges, and compensate well – they are highly coveted.