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Would you hire a social media strategist?

April 14, 2008

Kevin Lim asks an excellent question on his blog, one which I agree has been looming over strategic discussions from corporations to politics since all the talk about Web 2.0 began. Its about how to (or whether to) captialize on the emergence of social media culture, the one driven by blogs, forums and various social networks.

Basically Kevin asks would you hire a social media strategist and if you do, how do you spot one and how will you measure him or her? He alludes to the signs of a potential bubble, like one that burst during the dot com era.

So if you were managing a company would you hire a social media strategist?

Yes I would if the benefits of online crowdsourcing outweigh its cost. In this I take the pragmatic road. Just because its “bubblish” doesn’t mean there’s no money to be made. In fact I think everything is a bubble – either overvalued or will some day peak and decline in value so I don’t see bubbles as necessarily bad. The real issue is how to monetize transient bubbles and make a profitable exit. If there’s one lesson to learn from the dot com bust, its the heightened respect for exit plans. I need the social media strategist to tell me when the tide is receding or if new currents are spotted.

Qualifications? A campaign strategist with demonstrable experience in social media. I treat all commercial ventures (including product marketing) as a collection of campaigns with measurable output. As for traditional media, I’ll outsource.

On returns I’ll take the simple path: campaign revenue per headcount.

That’s my take. So how about you, would you hire one?

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