We’ve noticed that in the advertising and public relations industries, agencies are increasingly on the lookout for professionals experienced in social media. We can argue the merit of who has social media expertise and who doesn’t later. For now we want to know: what are agencies and their clients looking for in this burgeoning field?
Over the next few days PRNewser and AgencySpy will run interviews with major agencies seeking social media hires. These are not exhaustive interviews, just 10 quick questions aimed at peeling the lid back. Hopefully the questions we asked will help you guide your career path, if social media is part of it. Today we have an interview with Doug Akin, Chief Engagement Officer and Managing Partner at New York social marketing agency Mr Youth.
1. What are the core skills of the social media staffer?
Our agency philosophy is that social should be woven into everything we do. Thus we staff up our account teams to be well versed across the social media landscape. To this end they should have a firm understanding of the different social channels, and how best to utilize them on behalf of a brand. While itâ€™s important for an account person to use social media, itâ€™s more important for them to navigate and strategically recommend how brands use and engage consumers with social media.
2. What are the breakdowns of SM titles/roles within the agency — ie jr, associate, coordinator, senior, VP and so on.
Our account structure is set up with a VP of Account who oversees several account teams that are structured with an Account Supervisor, Senior Account Executive, Account Executive and Associate Account Executive. This relates to the agency as a whole, as each account team is skilled in the social media space, but not solely defined in their title as a social media staff member.
3. Where does the top social staffer rank in the agency heirarchy?
The agency lives and breathes social media on a daily basis, from the partners to the project managers and everyone in between, so to this point there is no hierarchy or chief social media guru titles.
4. What are clients looking for in SM and what is Mr Youth recommending they do. (I realize this is broad — so talk about the client that is looking for the most from your agency)?
Clients are looking at how to engage social media communities and how to integrate SM with their other marketing efforts. Initially brands wanted to establish a base presence, so there was a mad rush to start a facebook or a twitter community, but many of them lacked a strategic approach and a true game plan. Now that brands have amassed sizable social media communities they are seeking how to engage and empower these communities. The goal looking forward for brands is how to motivate these communities and to internally realize the value in true community involvement. If you have a community of a million fans and you cannot engage or motivate them to act on behalf of your brand, what is the community truly worth?
5. What did these candidates do to stand out? Any interesting stories of someone “breaking through the noise”?
Some of our strongest talent emerged from being brand ambassadors on college campuses representing various Fortune 500 brands. Through their experience working with brands such as Macy’s, Ford, Microsoft, Mountain Dew and others, they were able to get a first -hand account of how to promote a brand message through social media and grass roots efforts. They have joined Mr Youth post college as interns, and over the past few years theyâ€™ve climbed the ranks. We’ve also hired employees who have a true passion for the space and have impressed us with their blogs, and their daily social media appetites.
6. Do you plan to seek social media aor status?
Yes we are seeking SM AOR status and already have received this from a handful of our clients.
7. How many SM staff are you hiring in total?
We are hiring several people as part of our Account Teams at the moment, all of whom should have a strong grasp of the social media space and the value brands can lend to the space.
8. Anything else to share regarding you company’s SM initiatives?
We were named Mashable’s Open Web Awards 2009 Social Media Agency of the Year and used the power of our agencyâ€™s social media channels to spread the word and rally our loyalists.
How to Get a Job in Social Media: OgilvyPR