Cody Szeto is director of the IT&T, engineering, supply chain and procurement divisions at Kelly Services Hong Kong.
Get social to get hired in marketing, communications or publishing in Hong Kong
Several years ago, while working for a local publishing company, I was told by the editor that he wouldn’t want to hire someone who wasn’t on Facebook because he thought it meant they “weren’t interesting”. I dismissed this at the time, but–based on recent job interviews – it seems that being active on social media is a prerequisite to getting a job in certain fields such as publishing, marketing or communications. Unfortunately, I’ve never really been interested in social media. Is it time for me to “get social” or is it possible to be successful without succumbing to these fads?
Based on a 2015 report by the social marketing agency We Are Social, 66 per cent of Hongkongers are active social media users. WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and WeChat top the list of preferred platforms, with active account holders occupying 41 per cent, 33 per cent, 23 per cent and 23 per cent of the population respectively.
Evidently, social media is a significant part of life for half of the Hong Kong population. While you shouldn’t feel compelled to join a social media network, I concur with your observation. If you work in industries such as publishing and marketing, where your role is to communicate, you will be expected to possess a good understanding and knowledge of using social media tools in order to perform your role, and to have a promising future in your career.
In the publishing industry, social media has enabled publishers to market relevant content to numerous small communities, each organised around a relatively niche theme. It’s an excellent tool to help publishers engage readers, build brands, market their content and even distribute it.
In the marketing and communication sectors, social media is growing in spend in Hong Kong every year. According to a survey by market research company Nielsen in early 2015, 84 per cent of marketers in Hong Kong were expected to increase their digital marketing budget last year. Social media was projected to be the third largest advertising platform, after TV and print advertising, appropriating 8 per cent of advertising spend. This has overtaken magazines (7 per cent), display (7 per cent) and mobile media (6 per cent).
Given the growing trend towards social media, it’s true that an understanding and application of how to use social media to attain your KPIs has become a prerequisite for a career in the fields of marketing and communications.
If you do start using social media, remember that, when building a social media presence, quantity does not equate to quality. What counts is one’s engagement and dedication to the subject. If your company has a tight budget, focusing your social media exposure to topics that draw your customers is wise. Coupled with attractive content and prompt responses or updates, you will attract a following.
As you can see, social media platforms are not a fad, but a steadfast and new generation of communication which no one can ignore – especially those in communications.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Get social to get that job.