Working on Twitter all day. Getting paid to blog. Being a brand advocate, creating cool promotions, engaging with your customers all over the web. Getting a few moments in the weird limelight that is the microburst of internet fame. Speaking at conferences, hobnobbing at events.
But here’s what you don’t always think about before you lust after that gig.
You’re now a representative of that brand, publicly. The lines start to blur between what’s personal and what’s professional, and all the disclaimers in the world won’t always mean that you can or should post whatever’s on your mind. The personal and professional profiles you keep might be and feel physically separate, but Google doesn’t know the difference, and sometimes, neither do your customers.
You need to make conscious choices online about how you interact, what you post, and how you marry your individuality and personality with your professional reputation and obligations. They’re inextricably tied and related to one another, and if that’s your career choice, you’re likely going to have to make some sacrifices on the personal front in order to maintain a professional persona that’s appropriate for your work. It’s just part of the gig.
Your ego and hunger for the spotlight will hit reality speedbumps when they have to give way in the face of projects, professional objectives, company systems (or policies, even) or collaborative, team efforts. If you think it’s about being a social media rockstar, think again. The real work – the stuff that’s driving your business – has very little to do with the fleeting, superficial world that is internet fame or schmoozing at the parties.
You’re going to have to let go of the idea that your Twitter following is what makes you, and get comfortable with the idea that your business acumen and success are what you’ll be measured against. Social media is just the vehicle. What you’re accountable for is the success of the business and your performance on the projects that matter. Not all of it will be sexy. The CEO can’t and won’t cash a check against how many “likes” you have on your latest blog post. And while your Facebook fans might be important to you, they’re not the ones that pay your salary or determine your long-term value to the business.
My job is as a business woman, not a social media guru. Community is my focus, and customer loyalty and business growth are my goals. Social media is just one way that I get there. I build strategy full of measurable objectives that takes more than a few fluffy words on a piece of paper. I execute projects, work long hours (the internet doesn’t sleep very well), get my hands dirty, find things that aren’t working and fix them. Driving business through awareness, business and relationship development, and loyalty is what I’m held accountable for, and metrics prove whether or not I’ve performed.
Don’t misunderstand: I love my job. I love what I do. But it’s not cake. It’s challenging. It’s real work, not just sitting on the internet all day. It’s every bit of a professional commitment as many of the jobs I’ve held in the past, probably even more so.
So, are you sure that social media job is what you think it is? Are you still hoping it’s just fun on Twitter and Facebook all day? Or are you ready to step up to it as a professional?
image credit: kennymatic