There is a general misperception about who may beconsidered to be best qualified to work in the fields of Social Media and Social Media Marketing. Many businesspeople seem to feel that only the twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings have the necessaryunderstanding and experience to be successful in these fields. Not so.
One expert I follow stated that he believes that some of this perception is based on a desire for "cheap labor that comes from hiring young people just starting off in these fields." I would have to agree. In seeking out newopportunities for myself, I have definitely encountered this type of thinking. The problem with this thinking is that it betrays the depth and substance of the discipline.
I compare this type of errant thinking to a line uttered by Leonard Nimoy as Spock in the movie, "Star Trek - TheWrath of Khan." In that movie, actor Ricardo Montalban, as Khan takes over a starship and challenges theEnterprise captained by William Shatner in his trademark role as James T. Kirk. Khan is a genetically engineered human with extraordinary gifts that include amazing strength of body and mind.
For awhile, Khan outduels the crew of the Enterprise in battle. In determining just how to defeat him, Spock tells Kirk that while Khan seems superior in many ways, "he is highly intelligent but is also inexperienced." The same thought can be applied in the hiring of interns and entry- level candidates for positions in Social Media. There is more to the business side of Social Media than creatingfriendly chatter with young friends on the major platformslike Facebook and Twitter. What most young people lack in Social Media Marketing is brand insights and knowledge based on years of marketing experience. The question is; can they harness new media technology to deliver the revenue producing results that all employers require?
Are there not mature people that are innovative,passionate and adaptive to change? Of course many are.Age should not be a serious criterion for success in these new fields. Not at all.
Certainly, the young have grown up being tech savvy from a formative age when this sort of knowledge seems to come faster and - like a sponge - they soak up all thingscomputer. The problem is that without years of experience learning about what customers want and how they want it, they are not yet able to engage in the deep thinkingthat more experienced professionals have developed over the length of a longer career. When asked for conversions (sales), most inexperienced marketers will simply deliver more likes, friends and followers. They usually cant close the deal, because in their Social media world, they have never been expected to persuade anyone to do anything for financial gain.
There is also the concept of damage avoidance that inexperienced Social Media Marketing professionals may fail to understand. During their young lives they haverepresented only themselves online. In business, they maybe representing million dollar organizations with hundreds of employees. It is bad enough when a twenty-year old exercises poor judgment and posts something potentially offensive to others. Can a business afford the negativepublicity it may receive as a result of such a major gaffe as posting or tweeting profane content? No, it cannot.
We all realize these are tough times with higherunemployment and reduced revenue at many businesses. Most are looking to reduce payrolls and cut corners, wherever possible. Wages are among the first areas thatCEOs go looking for savings and hiring on the cheap is very often a preferred strategy to save money. For those of us who truly believe a companys success is based on the quality of its workforce, this sort of thinking is very reactionary, short-sighted and ineffective.
Today, there are far too many companies announcing profits based on cost cutting measures rather than as a result of innovation in design, production, sales andservice. Attempting to save money by risking results and reputation can easily backfire when it comes to placing inexperienced people on your front lines.