How to Get a Job in Social Media: Porter Novelli


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, an interview with Scott Grubin, chief talent officer at Porter Novelli.

PRNewser: What are the core skills of the social media staffer?

At Porter Novelli we look for social media staffers who possess a mix of community management skills, strong editorial judgment and a deep understanding of emerging technologies.

Potential candidates who are active bloggers, who know how to develop content and who have established audiences – and adhere to best practices related to disclosure and transparency – can offer clients the experience and savvy needed to help them build their brands in the social media space.

PRNewser: What are the breakdowns of social media titles/roles within the agency – i.e. SAE, AE, VP and so on…

Porter Novelli’s social media experts are embedded into client teams; they don’t exist as a stand-alone service. We do, however, have team members who offer particular expertise in events/sponsorships, measurement and analytics. We use traditional agency titles for all team members, spanning account coordinator to executive vice president.

PRNewser: What did these candidates do to stand out? Any interesting stories of someone “breaking through the noise?”

Stephanie Agresta, Porter Novelli’s executive vice president of digital strategy and social media, has had candidates reach out to her through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. She notes, “Standing out to me means that they have made a big effort to integrate themselves into social media circles, i.e., attend events, network with key influencers. One of our recent hires, an account coordinator, became friends on Twitter with a top influencer based in NYC and then reached me through that relationship.”

PRNewser: Where does the top social staffer rank in the agency hierarchy?

At Porter Novelli, we regard our talent based on the impact they make on our clients’ businesses, and not through practice silos or typical agency structures.

We boast a broad base of highly talented senior executives skilled in both digital and social media. They include:

– Online marketing pioneer and “Internet Geek Girl” Stephanie Agresta, who is executive vice president, digital strategy and social media

-Brad McCormick, EVP, global director of digital, oversees digital strategy and integration throughout the agency

-John Havens, senior vice president, social media. In addition to spearheading social media campaigns for clients, John has actively staked out Porter Novelli’s leadership role in the nascent field of augmented reality. He is the co-author of the book “Tactical Transparency: How Leaders Can Leverage Social Media to Maximize Value and Build Their Brand.”

-Top digital thought leader Joel R. Johnson is senior vice president, strategic planning and research at Porter Novelli and spearheads efforts to ensure the integration of strategic digital and social media programming into all planning efforts.

-Israel Mirsky is executive vice president, emerging media and technology, and is responsible for identifying, leveraging and developing new communications tools and channels in the digital space.

PRNewser: What are clients looking for in social and what is PN recommending they do?

Clients want a best practices approach to their communications needs. Therefore, we recommend a holistic approach to solving clients’ business problems that integrates traditional, digital and social into marketing communications programs.

Clients want to understand the landscape, who the influencers are, how best to participate and how to measure their commitment to this space. Clients understand that this is an emerging arena and they want a guide who will help them to maximize the opportunity now, not in two years once the real opportunity has passed.

PRNewser: Do you plan to seek social media agency of record status with clients?

What’s most important is that we deliver clients the programs they need that will help transform attitudes, beliefs and behaviors and drive their businesses. That may require a traditional communications program, a social media program or a combination of both.

That being said, we were recently named digital agency of record for Bel Brands for their Laughing Cow and Mini Baby Bel Brands on the strength of a comprehensive digital and social media program.

PRNewser: How many social media staff are you hiring in total?

We are always interested in talent and we analyze both the traditional and social media expertise of every potential candidate. We expect all employees of Porter Novelli to be fluent in digital and social media.

PRNewser: Anything else to share regarding your company’s social media initiatives?

The world of marketing communications has fundamentally changed, with consumers controlling when, where and how they engage with brands. As such Porter Novelli is as expert in digital and social media as we are in traditional media. Brand-stakeholder engagement takes place across a vast ecosystem of media, each as important and as relevant as the next when it comes to building relationships and engagement.

We have served as agency of record for the South by Southwest Interactive Conference and Festival for the past six years and are the global media partner for Blog World Expo, Twestival, the Shorty Awards and Internet Week.

In addition, at SXSW we announced an alliance with three software innovators — Crimson Hexagon, Spredfast and Traackr — to develop a comprehensive service that will allow marketers to analyze the sentiment of conversations taking place about brands, identify current and future influencers, manage outreach and assess campaign results — all from one interface that is simple-to-use and navigate.

We are offering clients a comprehensive but simple solution that can analyze, predict, engage and assess influence. Together with these three innovative partners, Porter Novelli will bring new intelligence to the conversations that influence behavior and drive desired outcomes.

Visit our advertising blog AgencySpy tomorrow for an interview with R/GA’s Richard Ting, VP, ECD, Mobile and Emerging Platforms and Ian Spalter, ECD, Mobile and Emerging Platforms.