Are there any social media related jobs within a traditional IT group?
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Hello Chris and thanks for your email. Yes, there are various types of social media jobs within IT. These job types loosely fall into the following categories:
- Website interaction
- Customer interaction
- Active listening
- New employee investigation
- Internal employee interaction
- Training augmentation
1. Website Interaction: User/website interaction is not always considered a form of social media, but I like to think of it as one. I think this way because aspects of many company websites are designed to be interactive with their customers. Once in place, your customers can interact with your company without human employee interaction. Examples of this automated interaction include the download of whitepapers, access to various types of information, and the purchase of online products. All of these activities bring your customers closer to your company, which, in fact, is one of the goals of corporate-based social media. From a job perspective, all of these user/website interactions need to be initially built and maintained on an ongoing basis by IT staff members.
2. Customer Interaction: Company Marketing and Public Relations departments directly interact with the public via blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other communication mediums. In addition to these communication mediums, there is also a growing number of 3rd party products that help facilitate the use of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others. From a job perspective, these departments generally need internal IT support to help set up and manage the technical aspects of these social media tools.
3. Active Listening: Active Listening is an extremely important and lesser known social media activity. Active Listening is the art and science of collecting, analyzing, and reporting all of the web-based chat and comments made about your company, its products, and its competitors.
This information is used by internal marketing, product development, customer service, sales, and strategic planning to maximize the company’s products, customer service, and general competitive edge. These activities require software monitoring tools such as Maestro and Visible Intelligence. From a job perspective, the implementation of these tools and the collection, storage, and distribution of information that is collected require IT staff members on an ongoing basis.
4, New Employee Investigation: If you didn’t know this yet, you should. Human Resources (HR) and recruiting organizations are now doing web-based and social media-based searches and analysis on people they are considering hiring. In many cases, the HR groups need internal IT support to conduct these activities.
5. Internal Employee Interaction: Companies also use social media tools like wikis and blogs internally to facilitate the communication of best practices, company success stories, project status, and other types of information. Some people also include software such as Microsoft SharePoint and Lotus Notes as tools used within this category. From a job perspective, all of these internal products and activities require some level of IT support.
6. Training Augmentation: Best practices in the training world now incorporate social media tools such as wikis, blogs, and discussion boards as a way of maximizing training effectiveness by facilitating the interaction among students and between students and their instructors. From a job perspective, the software used to facilitate this communication generally requires IT involvement.
In closing, throughout this column, I have continually mentioned the need for IT support and involvement. This support means you. I also believe that as time moves forward the demand for these types of jobs will continue to increase.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.