A controversial article titled “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25” was recently shared with me, and I was compelled to write a response to it. The article suggests that because my generation grew up with social media, it automatically makes us more qualified to be social media managers. Now, before I begin, I would like to point out that I am an entrepreneur in my 20’s, I have made a living (and still do) using the Internet as an affiliate marketer, and I have been behind the social media strategies of brands that range from YouTube stars like David Choi to large-scale companies like Billboard. With that being said, I believe my thoughts are pretty credible in responding to the article, so without further ado, here are my thoughts:
What bothered me most about this post was that it seemed like the writer of the article reduced successful social media marketing to just simply being able to use Twitter and Facebook well. The fact that she said our generation knows how to use the tool best because it comes naturally to us since “we spent our adolescence growing up with social media” proves her lack of understanding of social media in business. While being authentic and efficient in using the tool is an important factor to optimal social media marketing, it’s in NO WAY the end-goal to any business. Just because you know how to use a hammer doesn’t mean you know how to build a house. I have said this before and will say it again: The purpose of social media for ANY business/brand is, and will always be, to find ways to drive targeted traffic to a specific source with the intention of building brand equity or monetary value.
But don’t consider this post as purely a knock on Cathryn Sloane, the writer of the article. One thing I did agree with in the post was that it really doesn’t make sense to me when companies require 5-10 years of experience for a Social Media Manager. I believe that the industry has not been around long enough for anyone to really qualify as an “expert” in the field. I saw comments from Gen Xers and notable people like Christina Warren from Mashable telling her she wasn’t a capable social media marketer purely because of her Twitter follower count. How is having a large Twitter follower count even relevant in all this? Anyone can pay some guy in India 50 bucks and have 10,000 followers tomorrow. EVEN IF those followers are organically gained, can you honestly guarantee you can do the same for any company AND drive revenue at the same time?
At the end of the day, the important point I want to get across is that I am constantly seeing this battle on “who is better at social media” between Gen X and Y’s, and it needs to stop. A wise (and sadly deceased) Internet marketer once told me that it takes three things for an online business to succeed: Traffic, Content, and Conversion. I feel that as long as we can sit back and learn from each other, we’ll set up great marketing campaigns that encompass all three things.