Social media managers are in high demand.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there’s projected growth nationwide in the fields of social media management.
Yes. Youngstown has social media jobs, too.
In our region (Youngstown, Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Columbus, Erie, Pittsburgh), the projected growth for social media managers for the next 10 years is up 17 percent.
That’s good news for those studying in fields such as communication, journalism, public relations and marketing.
If you’re studying social media management, there will be jobs when you graduate. You just need to have the right tools to manage social media accounts.
More on those tools in a minute.
Even with this demand, you’d be surprised how many people shy away from social media as a career opportunity, fearful that it’s a passing fad or that these jobs will dry up as companies make cuts in the wake of bad press, lawsuits and government regulation.
With all the hits Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms have absorbed, they still dominate many marketing discussions around the world.
In the realm of social media, Facebook is still king with its 2-billion-plus users. Twitter, Instagram and YouTube still have millions of MAUs (that’s social media lingo for “monthly active users”).
To reach those MAUs, you need to have the right tools or, at least, know where to access them. Once you access the tools, learning how to use them takes a little time and patience.
When we use the term “social media manager,” we’re referring to someone with the skills to effectively and efficiently manage a social media account.
Whether we’re members of a social media team in a large company or we’re managing social media for individual clients, we use these tools to build accounts and to collaborate with other social media managers all over the world.
Landing lucrative social media manager gigs requires knowledge of the field, and knowing how to use management tools.
“The best social media management tools meet a variety of needs, from marketing to customer service to social selling,” social media expert Christina Newberry recently posted to the Hootsuite blog.
“They allow different teams within an organization to use social media. They encourage collaboration and make social media efforts more effective and efficient.”
Newberry suggests managers know how to utilize message scheduling tools. This includes knowing when to schedule to reach the highest number of users.
We’re constantly refining what we believe students need to know to enter the workforce.
We focus on social media listening, when (and when not to) respond to customers, and how to interact appropriately.
We teach content curation, how to evaluate message effectiveness and how to build a library of content – all tools Newberry recommends.
Social media management jobs are out there. Having the right tools will make those jobs easier to land.
When I visited my grandma in the last few years of her life, we spent our time in front of a small TV watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. She loved those shows, shouting out answers, cursing as contestants who spewed “stupid” answers, gushing over funny quips from “Alex” (Trebek) and “Pat” (Sajak).
She referred to them by first names only: Alex and Pat. To her they were good friends.
Even as a teenager, I worried about all the TV she watched. Being strapped to an oxygen tank in a one-bedroom garage apartment didn’t allow for much mobility, so leisurely activities were limited. There wasn’t much to do but eat and watch TV when I visited.
It made her happy. Sure, she was happy I was there, but TV made her happy even when I wasn’t.
TV was a functional surrogate. She laughed at Alex, her brain fully-engaged, rifling off answers (in the form of questions, of course) on Jeopardy. I later realized that grandma’s legendary crossword skills were particularly useful during Wheel of Fortune.
This was the mid-80s. Grandma had one TV in the living room. There were no other screens. No iPads. No smartphones.
Now we live in a world dominated by screens. My mom, like my grandma (her mother), is now homebound with limited mobility. I doubt my mom would be happy with just one screen. She likes TV, but she loves her iPhone. It’s always in her hand or charging nearby.
That’s not a bad thing.
Gretchen Livingston of the Pew Research Center reported last week that Americans over the age of 60 are spending more time on screens than a decade ago.
“Screen time has increased for those in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, and the rise is apparent across genders and education levels,” Livingston said.
Of course, the increase in screen time is linked to a willingness among older Americans to actually adopt new technologies. But technology adoption didn’t happen overnight for older Americans. In the mid-2000s, more families started purchasing computers and other screens for older family member as a means for staying better connected.
“In 2000, 14% of those ages 65 and older were internet users; now 73% are,” Livingston said. “And while smartphone ownership was uncommon at all ages around the turn of the 21st century, now about half of people 65 and older are smartphone owners.”
My mom is a wonderful grandma to our kids. But participating in all grandkid-related activities can’t happen anymore. So for her, screen time is a must. She’s a wiz with that iPhone. She loves to text our kids, sharing funny videos and memes.
TV made my grandma happy, but screen time makes my mom happy because she feels more connected to the world beyond the TV in her living room.
One of my favorite movies is James L. Brooks’ “Broadcast News.” It’s a treasure trove of wonderful quotes.
Some of best dialogue comes from a scene involving Jane Craig, the producer, and Paul Moore, the news director.
Moore says, “It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you’re the smartest person in the room.”
Craig confidently replies, “No. It’s awful.”
I was reminded of this quote as we wrapped our final social media essentials brown-bag session last week.
As I walked away from the room, I was surprised by the amount of “stuff” I don’t really know about social media.
There. I said it. There’s a lot I don’t know about social media. That’s probably a lot for our (wonderful, amazing) editors at The Vindicator to take in.
I can hear it now: Wait, we’ve been letting this guy write a social media column for five years?
Of course, there’s no reason for me to be even the slightest bit concerned by this revelation. Here’s why.
If I’m the smartest person in the room, then I’m in the wrong room.
Now, I realize that’s a quote that’s been attributed to everyone from Confucius to Steve Jobs. It really doesn’t matter who said it, or how or why they said it, so much as why it’s important when we’re learning or at least open to learning.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat – all platforms we covered in our first series – there’s just too much for us to know to think we’ll have more answers than anyone else in the room.
A good case study for this is Snapchat – the topic of our final session.
It was also the least attended of all sessions. I found this last part surprising: the least attended.
Snapchat is the one social media platform about which I hear the most hesitation.
Granted, most of those who attended our last session were not in Snapchat’s “heavy user” demographic of 13- to 18-year-olds. Most admitted they’ve never even used Snapchat.
They were there because they wanted to learn more.
Snapchat instructors, Ryan McNicholas and Matt O’Dell, skillfully guided us through the basics of Snapchat, how it works, what to expect from it in terms of a marketing advantage. But they fully admitted at the beginning, “We don’t have all the answers.”
A room full of 18-year-olds would have had just as tough of a time defining all the advantages and strategies for marketing on the social messaging platform.
Most of us who attended these sessions left with answers to help us feel a little smarter and a little more confident when using social media. We also left with a lot of questions.
Of course, the smartest people who were in the room with us are those out looking for those answers today.
A small creek runs along the border of our property. Most days, when the water is low and the sun is out, you’ll find our kids traipsing through the water, building dams, catching critters and skipping stones.
We’re fortunate to have a big backyard, and our kids know it.
Yes, it’s true. My tech-loving, game-obsessed, YouTube-crazed kids actually like to go outside and play once in a while. This is not to say they’re always eager to go out. It sometimes requires a little coaxing.
“If you go outside, I’ll bring popsicles,” my wife will offer as an enticing reward. We know the currency, and our kids will devour an entire box of frozen pops in one afternoon.
Recently, however, I’ve been luring them outside with tech. “Hey, you guys wanna walk around the yard to see if we can catch some Pokemon,” I ask, in reference to the PokemonGo game app.
They’re often up and looking for an iPad or asking their mom to borrow her smartphone before I can even finish the sentence (yes, I secretly downloaded PokemonGo to my wife’s phone to build my little PokemonGo army).
Lately, however, I’ve been turning to other apps to encourage outdoor fun. Some apps we’ve enjoyed for years, and others we’re just testing for the first time this summer. Below are two of my favorite (well, the second is more of a collection of apps):
Geocaching (Groundspeak Inc.). Geocaching is a free app (with a premium version) that turns all outdoor play into an expedition. Think of it as a massive, worldwide adventure, with small-to-large treasures for you and your team to find.
Some treasures are difficult to find. Some are easy, which is good news for the young “cachers” who just want the thrill of uncovering their first treasure). Some treasures are in local, easily accessible places such as parking lots and parks. Others are in more remote destinations, placed miles deep in the woods and only accessible by hiking trails or abandoned rail lines.
You’ll need to give permission to the app to use the location-based feature of your mobile device. This gives the app your precise location and makes the game much easier to play.
Stargazing. I’m a space geek. My kids insist I’m on a mission to get one of them to land a NASA job. Maybe I am, but for now, we simply enjoying stargazing apps to explore the sky together.
Sky Map is our favorite. It’s free and easy to use. They get a kick out of finding planets and identifying constellations.
Tech experts at Common Sense Media recommend The Night Sky, Redshift Astronomy, Star Chart, Star Walk and Starmap HD among the best apps for observing the night sky with your future astronauts.
I’d love to hear about apps you use for exploring the outdoors. Post a message or email me with your favorites.
There are a myriad of problems with trying to be an 18-year-old influencer. Here are three of the biggest.
Problem one: being 18 years old.
As a case study, I offer Ariana Renee. Ariana, better known as @Arii on Instragram, is an 18-year-old influencer. @Arii raised a few eyebrows last week for her out-of-touch post “about” her followers.
Yes, “about” her followers. We’ll get back to that in a second.
She’s amassed 2.6 million followers on Instagram, and 7 million on the video platform TikTok (formerly known as musical.ly).
@Arii appears to be an influencer, but appearances are a tricky business on social media.
When the young influencer couldn’t sell a few shirts to launch her own clothing line, you can imagine everyone’s surprise, @Arii included.
How is it that an influencer with that much clout couldn’t sell a few shirts?
She failed. Most influencers would pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move on to the next project. Most smart influencers (like good business owners) would try to learn something about why a product launch didn’t work.
Not @Arii. Rather than try to learn what went wrong, she went to Instagram to complain about followers who didn’t buy her shirts.
Problem number two: @Arii was complaining about her millions of followers to her millions of followers (yes, this wreaks of entitlement; remember, she’s 18).
Replies to her post erupted. The social media mob mobilized, but not in the way she’d hoped. Although @Arii’s rant was quickly deleted, it was too late. The story of her seemingly detached complaint blew up on social and traditional media, with followers and critics blasting the teen.
Aside from the obvious problem of blaming followers for not buying “merch” (i.e., what the cool kids call “merchandise”), it would appear she might be more of an aggregator than an influencer. That is, she’s amassed a fan base, but she hasn’t really figured out how to activate them beyond clicking a heart icon.
Problem number three: she thinks her followers are her customers.
In the online world, customers will follow, but they want to be part of something bigger, part of a community. For @Arii and other influencers, it should never be about how many followers they have. It’s more about how loyal they are and how connected they feel to the community.
Good influencers are ambassadors of the online communities.
Truth be told, I didn’t know @Arii before this. I even asked my kids and they only kind of knew her. Yes, I watched her videos. She’s talented, but she has a lot to learn about business, communication and the world of social media.
She also has a lot to learn about failure.
It’s OK to fail, especially at her age.
It’s also time for @Arii to dust herself off, own it and apologize as a first step to reconnecting with her community.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is special assistant to the provost and professor of communication in the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes on a variety of topics including communication technologies, relationships, and sports (with an emphasis on fandom). His work has appeared in Mahoning Matters as well as The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers.