By Sharon Wiatt Jones
Netpreneur Kevin Sproles created the online shopping cart in 1999 at the age of 16. He is founder and CEO of Volusion, an eCommerce company that helps retailers make more than $2 billion a year. Other young innovators are well known. Mark Zuckerberg began Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, and Jack Dorsey was a New York University dropout who developed the prototype for Twitter. Mark Zuckerberg wore flip-flops and Jack Dorsey a nose ring when they first became prominent entrepreneurs.
Not surprisingly, social media firms have distinctive corporate cultures. Facebook offers “baby cash” of $4,000 to new parents, 21 days of paid vacation and unlimited sick days. Twitter urges applicants to “JoinOurFlock,” and offers yoga and Pilate’s classes on-site.
TYPES OF JOBS. Digital eco-system jobs tend to be interdisciplinary. New qualifications are expected according to evolving technology and marketing techniques. Collaboration is done by teams and may include writers, developers, programmers, designers, project managers, user-interface specialists, linguists, marketers, data analysts, and strategists.
CONTENT. The first blog was created in 1994 by Swarthmore student Justin Hall. Bill Gates wrote in 1996 that “Content is king.” By 2004, a dictionary labeled “blog” as the Word of the Year. A blogger, content specialist, and online communications specialist write original, engaging content targeted to a specific audience. In addition to writing for websites or catalogs according to a style guide, a content architect organizes material (text, pictures, videos, audios, buttons, icons, logos) through information mapping. Sometimes described as a digital librarian, the content curator identifies Twitter feeds, Facebook users, and relevant blogs.
Requirements for an Ideas United intern include: “organizational and multi-tasking superpowers…Your voice is authentic and real, even in 140 characters or less…You can hop online at a moment’s notice and deal with any situation. Twitter and Facebook specialists are being recruited by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to monitor social networking websites for intelligence about potential threats. The search engine optimization (SEO) copywriter conducts keyword research to write consumer-oriented articles and press releases ranking high in search engine results. Compelling content is an important strategy to web link campaigns. A digital marketing editor develops creative emails, banner ads, and direct marketing content. Fact-checking and copy editing are also part of the job.
MARKETING. Visa’s chief marketing executive Antonio Lucio was quoted in BtoB, an online magazine for marketing strategists, on April 27, 2011, saying “I have never seen such a transformative change as the one that we are living through today.” The company’s budget for digital media has increased from about 11% to 36% in two and a half years. Social media marketing job titles include sentiment analysis specialist, market insights analyst, intelligence analyst, and email marketing analyst. A junior social networks marketer uses techniques such as recruiting online neighborhood ambassadors, engaging influential bloggers, and developing campaigns with word-of-mouth and viral marketing.
One employer requires that this entry-level hire “master online social networking, the blogosphere, search tools and general Web 2.0.” A community manager may use brand advocates (Microsoft MVPs, Intel Insiders, Walmart Moms), to evangelize a brand or product. These are highly-satisfied customers who voluntarily share positive experiences in blogs, tweets, LinkedIn group discussions, and video testimonials. ListenLogic, a social media market research and intelligence company, identifies issues, threats, and opportunities for its clients. Its social intelligence team monitors millions of online texts for consumer insights as potential product innovation ideas.