December 20, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Professional

This original article was written for Social Samosa here

You wake up, get ready and head off to what seems to be a really hectic day. You have designs to line up, content to create, ‘strategies’ to make, Powerpoint templates to select, presentations to make, conversations on Twitter, LinkedIn and forums to participate in, ‘contests’ to run, ‘trending activities’ to conduct, posts to schedule, communities to build, and most importantly, client calls/meetings to attend to.

Yes, sometimes that becomes one of the most important task on your checklist. We’ve seen far too many cliched infographics depicting the day in a life of a Social Media professional, memes depicting ‘What I do at work,’ ‘jokes’ made around advertising and social media profiles, the ‘eat, breathe, live social media’, type T-Shirts, and to top it all, we have to hear the gurus of advertising and the know-it-alls tell us how Social Media is just another fad.
But I guess all of that is history now, with the lines between social, digital, mainline etc being blurred. “Integrated Marketing/Advertising” has a nice ring to it and is here to stay. What’s more important today is that belief; Belief in what you’re doing, which makes a huge difference to your job and a lot more to what your brand is saying.

Being a Social Media Professional

Truth be told, being a social media professional isn’t easy, wouldn’t you say? That’s partially correct, but a lot would really depend on how you perceive it and how you build on that perception to drive what you really want to do at the end of the day.
Build real value for your client, and I don’t mean that in terms of ‘ROI’ or what kind of numbers you build for your client, how you impacted their overall marketing tactics or for that matter, what you really did to build brand awareness for your client.
Adding real value starts in understanding, and begins with you achieving a clairvoyance of sorts about what exactly it is that your brand needs. Not what you think will generate an ROI of sorts, or what you think will create ‘buzz’ on Social Media and ‘Digital platforms’ as many would like to say. But what is it that your ‘brand really needs.’ Figuring this out goes a long way in the future along with helping you meet the desired goals you set for yourself. Not as a Marketer, Advertiser, Brand Manager, but simply as an artist.

Creating Value

Visualise yourself as an artist who is out to create great art in every single things he does, like I listed above. When you’re thinking about all of those things and ask yourself what it is that you’re doing that creates value, you are doing a commendable job.
You know it’s really good to sometimes stop and think about what we’ve done and in retrospect you’ll plot a really amazing line of what’s worked for you and what hasn’t. But don’t just analyze the statistics, or the numbers, or for that matter the affinity you created amongst a community on the social web, but also the kind of art you created day in and day out. What matters is how you focus on it with this perspective in mind.
Well, you may say that’s a far fetched way of looking at things, but truth be told, after working for over four years in this field, there is a difference in the way I perceive things today. No, I’m not talking about just ‘thinking out of the box’ or ‘there is no box’ approaches towards the creative or not so creative work that we do.
I’m talking about the way we look at every single thing when we work on those amazing campaigns we build or choose not to, the way we really drive engagement for our brands or maybe not. Every success, every failure have a lesson in them. The right way, or let me call it a better way of looking at it is to just step outside, give yourself a bird’s eye view and see where you’re heading.
A lot of times, we end up doing things we may not be really confident about. We end up pushing that limit between a force fit creative or something that really won’t work for a brand. I don’t know about you, but I always cringe at the very idea of a ‘trending activity’ because that will add nothing but a few hours or days of brand awareness!

Needs of a Brand

Well that is really great, excellent if you may ask, in the current scheme of things. But what next? How many times do we actually capitalize on these activities and campaigns to try and decipher something impactful for the brand? That should matter more to you than anything else at the outset. Not those appreciation mails coming in from your client or commendations from your peers. But what next?
Well, there are always those times when you need to deliver a pitch presentation on a given day that would have probably been better off if it was a day earlier. Ideas are never scarce, and mostly not completely bad and unusable, but what sometimes affects us is how many of them are really going to add value to our brand.
Yet, we go ahead and tell ourselves that we’ll improvise later, we’ll try and console ourselves that this is one instance and it would probably not impact the brand as much. I’m sure all of us have been there at some point in time. If not, then truly awesome! You’ve already crossed that threshold and seen the different side of the horizon!
I guess creating a sense of awareness for yourself and your brand helps a lot. Realizing what you’re doing is impacting your brand in a certain manner helps seeking the right answers to the right questions that you would go ahead and ask yourself rather than just doing what you think might ‘work’ for the brand for the time being. So don’t lose this battle, because eventually you might end up doing it so often that you’d have been defeated long before you even knew there was a war coming.
Yes, there are a lot of us who have challenges, and we face them with the hope of learning something new, creating something great, build something fantastic for your brand. Something that it needs, if not every single day, probably once in a while–to know that there is someone like you out there, who connects with what it’s trying to say.
Yes, we do say the wrong things sometimes and make mistakes every once in a while. Sometimes, our mistakes are noticed by the entire world, and sometimes too insignificant to be spotted by anyone.. But in your heart, if you are self aware about the things your brand needs and what you can give to them, you’ve gone a long way ahead.

Social Media and Marketing

I’ve been trying to figure out what this beast called social media is for quite a while and I must say, I have really enjoyed dissecting the minuscule observations, learnings, insights, and trends that, often I’ve forgotten to think of how it really mattered to the brand and how and when we should start learning from our mistakes and probably from others as well. And hey, that’s quite a thing.
Marketing as such, has evolved a lot, and so has advertising, say from the ‘Mad Men’ era, especially with it being part of many cycles of evolution. Yes, there’s a lot to learn and we’ll see a lot of changes happening, being part of it at this stage and we’ll probably see a lot of changes in the way consumers consume content, products, services and for that matter your interaction with them as well.
Cultures shifting, patterns changing, trends being disrupted and for that matter, the medium of interaction divulging into each other and crossing lines that were originally set with a niche in mind. That will stop existing and we’ll have a unified way of looking at how we simply communicate with our consumers.


When that day comes, I’d like to ask you all to remind yourself where you started and traverse into your own journey to realize how much you’ve achieved. The things you thought were amazing, will now be of amusement to you, to the point that it stops being funny. You’ll achieve a sense of perspective in that you’ll get an understanding of how things were different and how they’ve changed. In fact, I’d say, don’t wait for that day to come. Be a futurist, today! Tell yourself to stop doing the things that really don’t make a difference to your brand but indulge yourself in asking yourself a simple question.
“What is it that my brand really needs?” “And where do I go from here?”
Just these simple questions haunting you when you wake up, get ready, and head off to what is seemingly a really hectic day with designs to be lined up…. (Fade out)

Just ask yourself…. “What is it that my brand really needs?”
Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 15 years. He has worked with and built India's largest digital agencies from the ground up and been part of their acquistion journey. Social Wavelegnth (now Mirum, part of the WPP group) and Kinnect, now part of the Interpublic Group (IPG). He's also been a public speaker, keynote speaker at various large panels/events of the likes of BBC Knowledge Summit, Blockchain Summit Bangalore. And has been a guest lecturer at IIM, Symbiosis, Indian Institute of Digital Education.
He has been blogging since 2005. And also been author at various publications, that include Startup India by ZDNet, Social Samosa, Lighthouse Insights.  His passion for Writing, Advertising, Creativity, Digital, Blockchain and Future Tech is what drives him each day.

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