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The narrowing the digital-social divide

Published on Saturday, 28 Jun 2014
Photo source: ThinkStock

People sometimes confuse being active on social media like Facebook as being digitally savvy. The reality is that while social media experience helps digital marketers to be better at their job, digital marketing itself is far more complex with social media being but one component in the digital mix.

The digital media marketing mix comprises of display and video, search engine optimization, pay per click, social media, content management, website design and development, affiliate marketing, online reputation management, conversion rate optimization, email marketing, etc.

Where does social media experience fit in all of this? The makeup of a social media career spans things like user generated content, conversation, build and maintain relationships, communication, information sharing and community/consumer focused.

Social media humanizes digital marketing helping companies to be perceived not only as digital aware but socially responsible in how they reach out to their target consumers. Some of the best digital marketers also happen to be very adept at social media.

I did a random search of jobs with a “social media” mention on Classified Post and found 70 jobs. Not surprisingly most (81%) of the positions were marketing related and 56% were for mid-level positions, a further 23% were for senior positions.  What surprised me was when I searched for “social media” with all other search criteria remaining the same, I only found 23 jobs – 43% of which were marketing or advertising related. Middle management roles accounted for the same 56% range whilst there were slightly more (26%) interest to have this experience or expertise within the upper echelon on management. In both cases, entry level positions relatively few in comparison.

Why are there two-thirds more positions with social media as a requirement compare to digital marketing? It can be argued that digital marketing as a career has been on the market for some time now – albeit the complexity of the role and the accompanying pressures have jumped considerably as the technology and best practices surrounding it mature. Social media, on the other hand, is still relatively new as an element of business communication and customer engagement.

The authors of the book “Journal of Social Marketing” note that social marketing had reached a critical turning point in driving personal behaviour and social change around the world. Social marketers, surveyed as part of the book, view the immediate future as ripe with opportunities for broadening the focus and applications of social marketing and realizing the promise of a growing and dynamic social marketing movement. Social media’s influence in digital marketing will continue to evolve with emerging developments that highlight the expanded importance of digital and social media, community and audience engagement, and corporate participation.

The evolving interrelationship between social media and digital marketing practices reflects maturing standards while encouraging creativity and innovation resulting in a broadening of its applications. Better ways of evaluating and measuring the benefits of digital marketing, as well as better training and development opportunities, the opportunities are certainly promising for those that chose to build a career on digital marketing and perhaps specializing in social media marketing.

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