What are the most important skills for graduating college students if they want to have a future in social marketing?
I'm asking three questions of some of leaders in the field of social media marketing and this is what I learned. This is the fifth in the series (see the links below for earlier posts in the series).
Today: Aaron Strout, Group director at WCG (a strategic communications counseling firm) a member of the advisory board at Vintank (a company that offers software to connect wine industry with its customers in social spheres) and co-author of Location Based Marketing For Dummies:
Clearly connecting business objectives to actions in social, is what separates a successful social marketer, says Aaron Strout.
"While social media can be fun and a great way to connect, companies aren't paying you to mess around," he says.
"However, if you're engaging and connecting with people on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook leads to good things for your business, it is a worthwhile activity."
Therefore, what separates a successful social marketer from the others is "being able to clearly connect business objectives (sales, awareness, loyalty, foot traffic) to actions."
Strout says success for a college grad will depend on strong communication skills.
"Making sure you are clear and concise and don't come across as too serious is also helpful," he says.
"One rule of thumb I always use any time I update on the social web is a.) would my boss be comfortable with what I'm writing and b.) would my wife be comfortable with my update (for younger folks, you can always sub in parents for spouse).
"The key is, it's OK to push the envelope a little," Strout says. "But you should always be aware of the potential outcomes/consequences."
And just how important is social marketing as part of the marketing mix?
"Increasingly more important," Strout says. "Many companies now realize that having a balanced mix of offline, digital and social marketing are critical to a company's success."
"One of the forces driving the need for more social marketing is that budgets are tighter and resources are more scarce," he says "So doing 'more' with 'less' is the new reality."
So, what do you think? How important will social marketing be in the future and what MUST students know?