Britain. 1965. We’ve had the telephone for nearly 100 years.
The operators in first known (UK) call center proudly call themselves telephone strategists. Actually they didn’t, but bear with me for the sake of illustration.
The telephone is a tool for conversation. It’s like talking in real life, only callers don’t see each other and they maybe many miles apart. The term strategist would be a stretch.
When I think of a modern call center, I think of a support line. These centers are staffed by customer service specialists or support specialists. Often they are tiered by experience. Callers are first routed to lower level specialists; if these first line responders cannot triage, diagnose or remediate a problem, they escalate the problem to the next level.
These people are focused on a well-defined function in business: service. The tools might change — CRM, instant message, Web chat or Twitter — but the core discipline remains.
This is what hangs me up about titles like “social media strategist.” I think it’s narrow minded. I think those that pin their personal mantra on social are selling themselves short. Further, and I see this more and more, there are young folks, that all they’ve ever done is post to Twitter and Facebook and call themselves social media strategists. Social media is not strategy! It’s a tactic!
Companies don’t need a social media strategy. They need a business strategy. They need a marketing strategy. Social media is one tool among many, with apologies to the handyman, with only a hammer in his belt, because every problem begins to look like a nail. (BTW, read this awesome article that elevates SEO to a branding level, which in part, was the catalyst for this post.
We need to approach social media with a 30,000 foot view — an awareness of what the rest of marketing is doing. Integrated marketing begins with an awareness, without it, social media is yet another silo.
Don’t pin your career to simply social media. Withing two years, I predict, people will be dumping that term from their social profiles. Imagine what that might mean in 5, or 10 or 100 years from now.
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