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January 3, 2013

Social Media Now a Part of Many Jobs

Social media is simply part of the job for many working Americans.

In fact 65 percent of respondents to a survey by Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions indicated social media has been added to their duties.

Twenty-seven percent of workers handle social media exclusively for their employers and, of that 27 percent, roughly 83 percent comprise a team of three people or fewer. Forty-two percent indicated only one person works exclusively on social media and nine percent said their employer had a team of more than six people for that task.

Only three percent of employers outsource social media efforts and five percent use both a team and an outside agency.

These numbers are unlikely to change much — 68 percent of respondents didn’t increase their social media department in 2012 and 78 percent will not do so this year.

Although some employers (25 percent) make use of interns to aid with social media, most shy away from using inexperienced workers for the task. Of those who do use interns, 78 percent have them help out with Facebook and 69 percent with Twitter. Only 29 percent have interns help with YouTube, 28 percent with blog posts, 22 percent with Pinterest and 19 percent with LinkedIn and creating online articles.

The survey also found a number of different departments are responsible for social media. Seventy percent say marketing is involved, 69 percent public relations and 49 percent corporate communications.

When it comes to qualifications for hiring for social media responsibilities, 45 percent want a candidate with a degree and experience, although 25 percent said experience is most important. Eighteen percent said writing skills were most important. Few said a degree alone was enough. Forty-seven percent wanted an employee with one to three years of experience, 44 percent required three to five years and nine percent wanted more than five years of experience.

Seventy-seven percent would choose a candidate with a degree in communications and 76 percent would choose someone trained in public relations. Twenty percent said English majors would be the best candidates, compared with 42 percent for journalism.

When it comes to measuring social media, 86 percent of those polled said they measure social media interaction and engagement, including followers, fans and “likes.” Seventy-four percent track Web traffic and 58 percent measure brand reputation. Forty-one percent relied on customer satisfaction, 40 percent on new leads and 31 percent on sales.

The majority (86 percent) of those polled keep track of what’s being said about their organization and 77 percent monitor industry news, trends and events. Fifty-seven percent keep an eye on their competitors.

Nearly 59 percent indicated using free tools for measurement, while 35 percent use both free and paid. Only six percent relied solely on paid. HootSuite was the most popular paid tool at 31 percent, followed by Radian6 at 25 percent. Forty-percent answered “none,” “don’t know,” or “N/A” when asked to identify their tracking tools.

Other findings in the report were:

  • 69 percent are dissatisfied or only “somewhat satisfied” with how they measure social media while 31 percent are satisfied or very satisfied.
  • Many say they lack the time to track data or aren’t even sure what to measure.
  • 28 percent enjoyed budget increase, excluding salaries and benefits, in 2012.
  • 69 percent say budgets stayed the same and 62 percent expect budgets to remain the same this year.
  • 13 percent say their social media efforts are advanced while about 50 percent only “keep our heads above water, but not by much.”
  • 23 percent of respondents described themselves as “newbies.”