So I’ve been doing a whole lot of interviewing for a Social Media Manager position here at SocialMediaMarketing.com. With so much content online about interviewing best practices, I thought that everyone would be an expert in interviewing, especially if you hang out in the blogosphere. There are so many career blogs out there with solid advice that it blows my mind when I see someone walk into an interview completely unprepared and clueless about who I am and what the company does.
Aside: Note, I guess I am partly at fault here and need to screen out interviewees much more thoroughly, but that’s another post
This post is not about how to interview. If you’re looking for interview advice, I suggest checking out these interviewing publications. This post is about the huge disconnect I see between a person who participates in and loves social media and one who can perform well in the corporate environment.
Social media vs corporate
I have worked in the corporate world, started my own startup, and established an online presence through social media. I’ve seen all three worlds and truly understand the underlying workings of each one. From my experience, I believe that being excellent at social media does not translate to being excellent in the corporate world. Here are my reasons:
Note: Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments section
Social Media does not prepare you to work in teams
Social media does teach you how to make friends online, build relationships, share your thoughts, share ideas, and meet amazing people. However, when it comes time to building and leading a team to accomplish a project, social media does not contribute to this skill-set. In the blogosphere, I have learned how to build a quality site and drive traffic to it; but to be perfectly honest, I have never really gotten the chance to work with someone in the blogosphere to accomplish a certain deadline or to team up on a project.
Note: This is actually changing soon but the people I’m teaming up with actually have corporate experience as well
Even on this blog we’re not necessarily working in teams. Dan has done a great job at assembling a team of independent bloggers and letting us loose to write content on our own. He built a great system (which I accredit to his corporate experience), but we’re not necessarily working as a team here.
Social media does not prepare you to deal with clients
Clients are a tough cookie to handle: selling, closing, writing proposals, writing agreements, and pricing out the project. Are these things that you have learned from social media? Sure you can read a post about “how to sell,” but ultimately, you’re not learning how to sell a service to a large company.
A great rebuttal here is that you learn how to sell yourself in social media. While I fully agree with this statement, I feel that selling in the corporate world (at least in my experience) is completely different from selling yourself to a group of peers in the blogosphere. Closing a client like Activision is on a whole other level when compared to commenting on a peer’s blog to build a relationship with him.
Furthermore, project management is completely different from community management. While community management involves Tweeting with your followers, responding to comments, and writing engaging content (all a solo process btw), project management involves developing a strategy for the client, assigning tasks to your team, making sure that goals are met, and actively communicating with the client to make sure they are happy.
Social media does not prepare you to do things you hate to do
Lets be honest here. The blogosphere is all about doing stuff you LOVE. Heck, now is the time to “Crush it” to cash in on your passions. I am again 100% for this and feel this is the idea goal in life; however, this definitely does not prepare you for the corporate route.
I remember back in my old consulting job, I was getting paid $55K a year to build binders and quality check excel sheet print outs. I didn’t last very long at the job, but I did learn a very valuable lesson – someone has got to do it.
A corporate firm is like a machine, and like any well-oiled machine, every single elements plays its part. Some people will be selling, others will be project managing, and still others will be doing the grunt work that we all love to do 😛 If you’re actively engaged in social media, then you’re constantly doing what you love to do and will mostly likely not last too long doing grunt work at a corporate firm or in a team setting.
Social media does not prepare you to build systems
Oh boy, this one is the mother-load here. Without systems, you have a disorganized, frantic company that cannot scale. Without systems, you will utterly hate your job because you will be doing all the tasks yourself.
When you’re running a blog, it’s simple to handle everything without systems because you’re capable of managing everything yourself. Writing content, responding to comments, and building relationships is a one-man show, and it should be.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m a blogger and I love the independence of social media. However, when it comes to the corporate world, I feel that there are skill-sets involved with it that most bloggers take for granted. If you are able to lead teams, close clients, do things you hate, build systems, and you are a lover of social media, hit me up at Jun [at] SocialMediaMarketing.com and we can chat about the Social Media Manager position.
Jun Loayza is the President of SocialMediaMarketing.com and the Co-Founder of Viralogy.com. Reach out to him to chat about startups, fitness, relationships, or pretty much anything else that floats your boat. Blog and Twitter