By Robin Carr, LCI
To answer the question, let’s examine the history and the data.
Merriam-Webster defines social media as “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other content (such as videos).” The 2019 Pew Research Center report on social media use in the United States showed that 72 percent of American adults use some form of social media. In 2005, the year after Facebook went live, that number was 5 percent.
Historians believe that social media began on May 24, 1844, when Samuel F.B. Morse, a painter-turned-inventor, sent a message from Washington to Baltimore. A recent article in The Washington Post, “Before Twitter and Facebook, There Was Morse Code: Remembering Social Media’s True Inventor,” details the history and relevance of Morse code, complete with early versions of today’s “OMG” and “LOL.”
Fast forward to today. From brand storytelling to new commerce opportunities, social channels offer companies an unmatched opportunity to reach and engage consumers. Social media users passed the 3.5 billion mark in July 2019, as reported by WeAreSocial.
When I was studying public relations at San Jose State University (SJSU), there was no such thing as a curriculum for social media. Over the years, major companies have debated where social media should reside. Is it marketing? Is it PR? Communications? The answer is all of the above.
Today, SJSU teaches social media in the Business, Communications and Journalism majors. It has become a mainstream skill set.
Sprout Social, the all-in-one social media management platform, suggests nine key skills to advance your career as a social media pro: 1—strong communication skills; 2—writing; 3—creativity; 4—efficiency, organizational skills; 5—marketing (digital and traditional); 6—customer care; 7—networking 8—agility (be able to quickly pivot and react to a new trend); 9—data analysis (quantitative & qualitative). These are all skills important to any marketer, truthfully, but clearly, social media has come into its own.
So…do you need a social media marketing manager? The answer should be, unequivocally, yes.