The Data Driven Social Media Pro


Remember in my last post – Being a Social Media Pro: More Than Knowing Your Wall from Your Timeline, we talked about the effectiveness of a well-planned social media campaign? Now you’ll read about how it is actually done.

When organizations started transitioning to a state where social media presence became a necessity, they looked for people who understood social media platforms and content better than the average neighbourhood marketer.  The first generation of social media pros were hence, simply people who could tell a timeline from a wall and thought of content rather than fever, when they heard the word ‘viral’.

And while the need for knowing the features, tips and tricks for an ever expanding portfolio of social media platforms has not diminished, the corporate world has realized that it takes more than merely the ability to use a tool, to make a good social media professional.

At a broad level, a social media professional that adds real value to an organization, combines three skills that make her/his social media activities mean more than just posts and likes and shares. These three skills that form the pillars to a successful social media professional may be listed as:

  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Analysis

A good social media professional then, needs to be very much a complete business manager whose special skill just happens to be an awe-inspiring knowledge of social platforms and the drive to stay updated and keep learning new tricks of the social trade.

What is interesting here is to note the career paths that are being taken by people whose first job was to send those tweets or publish those Facebook posts that were being sent to them by marketing.

In most cases we are seeing their roles expand to cover a wider spectrum of managing the organization’s entire digital presence or even move into other marketing positions where their insights about consumer behaviour acquired through intense personal interactions provides them with an edge over their peers.

Skill enhancement for social media professionals thus is often focused in digital marketing specialisations like mastering SEO or content marketing – and this knowledge in addition to social media expertise can now be found in a number of decision makers across the world.

A Road Less Taken

A less chosen path seems to be of people who are really looking to combine the science and the art of social media by supplementing their social media marketing skills with data science skills.

While analytics is already playing a key role in social media, the typical social media marketer’s ability to analyse data is very often limited to being able to read the reports being generated by tools that have been purchased to track social media.

But as the #HappyToHelp example shows us, the data scientist is now involved in planning the campaign and figuring out small details that will have an impact on success (like the list of keywords to be monitored). 

The deeper integration of data science skills in the social media process suggests that strategists and marketers, who opt to do things a little bit differently and get out of their comfort zones by adding data science skills to their social media marketing skills, may just prove to be the stars of corporations tomorrow.

In the early years of their careers, people with this dual specialization will be assets because of their ability to be single point resources for managing entire campaigns – from pushing out content, to tracking a campaign with the metrics that need to be tracked (and not those that are forced upon by the tools in use), while also having the ability to change messaging or approach instantly based on what the data is telling them.

As they grow within the organization, these professionals will become some of the best informed individuals, with their social media roots helping them know consumers at a personal and anecdotal level on the one hand while their analytical skills will help them stay abreast of trends and patterns at a larger level. Of course, the understanding of each domain will feed into how they make decisions in the other domain.

As great information leads to great decision making and as great decision makers rise to the top of the corporate ladder, it is not difficult to see that individuals with what may at the moment seem a strange combination of specializations, may one day end up as business leaders.

As product innovators – these double caped superstars will be able to create algorithmic solutions for problems they identify themselves and it will not be a surprise to see them as founders of many unicorns in the coming years.

Intrigued? Want to be a social media marketing superstar? Our Social Media Marketing & Analytics shows you how you can leverage the power of social media and become the whiz kid of your company. The best time to learn is  now!