Marketers Devote Resources to Formal Social Strategist Positions

As social media grows in importance, more corporations are creating formal positions for this function. Often called social strategists, these professionals typically work in the marketing or communications departments at larger firms. A report by Altimeter Group indicates that social strategists now have an opportunity to play a key role in shaping corporate direction and strategy. But if these employees don’t tackle the challenges currently facing them and become proactive, they face a future as social media help desk experts.

The Altimeter Group survey reveals that 41% of corporations have hired someone to fill the social strategist role. These employees face unique and stressful situations in most  organizations. Here are the key challenges to be overcome:

  • Resistance from the existing power structure
  • A need to justify expenses by measuring ROI
  • Increased demand for services while struggling with insufficient resources
  • Long-​time staffers resent or are envious regarding the excitement about and attention given to social media
  • Looming increase in workload

In most organizations,  social media strategists are working with a budget that is than $100,000.  The majority of surveyed companies say their social media programs are 2 years old or less. Often, these employments are under pressure to perform even as their peers try to cast doubt on their role in the company.

To prove their worth, social media strategists are using the following techniques to measure success:

  • Engagement data like followers/​fans 66%
  • Overall opinion of what people say 46%
  • Website traffic 40%
  • Conversion leads 45%
  • Customer satisfaction rates 34%
  • Total mentions 28%
  • Product revenue 22%

Social media as a marketing strategy is a rapidly changing function. Experts believe as this function and the supporting technology matures, more corporate functions like IT, customer support and public relations will use social media. The format may evolve beyond marketing and into a blended form of communications and customer relationship management. For now, there is little doubt that social media has the attention of the C‑Suite and these professionals have an opportunity to expand their role.

[Source: Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist. Altimeter Group​.com. 10 Nov. 2010. Web. 23 Dec. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.