Monday, December 22, 2008

Social Media is a Major Player

While social media has been growing and becoming more and more relevant in the public relations and marketing worlds, it is now officially a prominent and official practice. Recently, a group of media professionals formed an agency that trains PR firms and other clients to use new/social media.

This just shows the importance of being well practiced and experienced in the realm that is social media. Who really thought it would be this important? And, while many realize the need for effective social media outreach, few really seem to have a firm grasp on how to use it. Is familiarity with using these sites enough to be considered a capable professional? No. Still, I have found many feel that because they use Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. they are "trained" in social media.

But, that simply isn't the case. You must have knowledge of how to manipulate and effectively use these mediums in a comprehensive PR or marketing plan. Just because you use a social networking site for personal reasons doesn't mean you know how to use it for professional purposes. So, while many PR firms are hiring young professionals based on the assumption that they are tech-savvy, just remember that being tech-savvy is far different than being social media-savvy.

Being social media-savvy consists of a strong strategic planning background, as well as a knowledge of computer applications. Still, this new firm, AdHocnium, allows an opportunity for agencies that are experiencing social media skills gaps to educate their employees and bring them up to par. AdHocnium will not be the last of these types of firms. As social media's influence grows, this particular industry of social media experts and their training services will grow as well.

Will this be a trend that eventually ends with bankrupt companies? Maybe. The social media bubble could burst at any time. But, I don't see that happening in the near future. For now there is a lot of money to be made and a wide variety of opportunities for PR professionals still to come. This simply solidifies social media's place as a major player in the communications industry.

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