According to a recent study by LinkedIn, “digital marketing jobs” were among the top 15 most in-demand jobs in the U.S. in 2021.
Anecdotally, I can confirm that. As someone who looks at Indeed, LinkedIn and other online job portals every week for my Friday e-newsletter, I am seeing FAR more digital marketing and comms jobs than just about anything else in the creative industry.
But, we also know the labels “digital marketing” and “social media marketing'” are pretty broad. Ask 10 people what they think a “digital marketer” does and you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Almost the same thing for “social media marketer.”
And, the tasks being asked of digital and social media marketers continues to expand.
Creating effective and engaging TikTok or Reels content, for example.
Figuring out how to develop an effective social audio strategy is another.
Or, what about figuring out if your company needs to be doing anything with emerging technologies and areas like NFTs and Augmented Reality?
Yep, digital and social media marketing in 2021 is a lot more than “Facebook marketing” or creating landing pages. It’s a full-time job, and then some. And, then some more!
Given that backdrop, 2021 feels like a tipping point. It feels like we’re at a spot where digital and social marketing has matured to a point–and now job titles and descriptions (and expectations) need to mature and change, too.
For example, if you were to hire a social media coordinator, you most likely are hoping that person can handle social media content development and paid social media, among other tasks.
However, those two skill sets are really different. Sure, there are people who can do both, but usually not well. Because managing paid social media in 2021 is a full-time job. You have to keep up with all the changes platforms make on a monthly basis. You need to keep up with third-party tools. And, you need to do the actual work! On the other hand, social content development requires equally as much focus. You need to be a good writer. You need a photographer’s eye. You need to know how to produce a video. And now you need to know how to manage audio, too. Again, full-time job–not a part-time one.
And that’s just one example.
In the not-so-distant future, I could see even small social media teams having the following roles, based on the specific skill sets necessary to run a social media and digital marketing team:
- Social media director
- Content marketing manager
- Influencer marketing manager
- Video/audio production specialist
- Community management specialist (community management, posting, pinch hitter in other areas)
- Paid media specialist
- Social media analyst (lead on all things metrics)
I realize this is probably a ways off for most brands. But, the fact is: in 2021, as social and digital continue to mature, and glean more budget, you need to staff appropriately! And, that means changing job titles and responsibilities instead of just lobbing more work on your social media manager’s plate.
The other angle here–social media managers are burnt out. After the year we’ve had, social folks have had it. It’s why you’re going to see a LOT of turnover in our industry this year. But that’s another reason you should probably re-look at your social media and digital job titles and structure. If you continue to pile on your social and digital teams, they will leave. Fact. Get ahead of it now and start planning for the future.
I know, I know, it’s mid-April and COVID cases and deaths are rising again. But vaccinations are ramping up, too. Hope is on the horizon. It feels like we’re almost there. And, as I think about what’s next, in-person industry events immediately pop to mind.
The big question is: When will that be? When will we return to an indoor setting with 100-500 people without feeling nervous?
I asked that exact question on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago, and here was the response:
What’s more, in the comments, a number of folks said they wouldn’t go back to an indoor event until at least 2022.
So, what’s going on here? Why would people say fall at earliest when President Biden said we could enjoy a maskless 4th of July? Why are people so reticent?
I think a few things are at play.
First, people have legit concerns about the vaccine and COVID.
Will the vaccine hold up (early signs are very good, but we don’t know 100% yet)?
Will variants pierce immunity (again, from what I’ve read, this is somewhat doubtful, but we don’t know for sure yet)?
And, will we reach herd immunity (this is the million dollar question right now)?
And, the real clincher that isn’t being discussed as much: Most of us have been staying away from people (some in our homes) for more than a year now. I think a lot of people are just extremely nervous about going back to larger groups of people. And, who could blame them?!?!
So, clearly we probably aren’t going back to any indoor industry events until the fall. And, I would say we aren’t going back to any larger indoor events until Spring 2022.
Just my two cents. Reading the tea leaves and talking to a lot of people about this recently.
On the other hand, outdoor events may be a different deal. I could see outdoor industry networking events happening this summer.
I could see golf events for professional organizations.
Get-togethers are breweries outdoors.
Maybe even a Twins game?
That may be our bridge to indoor events this fall or winter.
For now, we just need to get as many people vaccinated as possible so we can actually gather indoors again eventually.
So, go get your shot when your number is called, folks. We’ll all be back together soon–whenever that is.
Kristina Wright is one of those people everyone seemingly is drawn to. Just a quick glimpse at her LinkedIn posts and you’ll see what I mean. I felt the same way–even though, to my knowledge (COVID brain is hurting my memory these days!), we’ve never met in-person. But, I can just kinda tell. Kristina is the type of person I would like. Inspirational. Positive. Can-do attitude. Hard worker.
And, since she recently started a new job with Thrivent after years in the credit union world, I thought it was the perfect time to feature her as part of this “Rock Star” series. So, let’s hear what’s up with Kristina’s new gig and learn a bit more about what makes her tick.
After almost 20 years in the credit union world, you’re transitioning to a different part of the financial world. How will you take what you learned working for credit unions and apply it at Thrivent?
It’s definitely a different part of the financial world than I’ve been in for most of my career, but there are some similarities. At Thrivent, we’re focused on helping people achieve financial clarity, enabling lives of meaning and gratitude. We do that by offering a holistic approach to finances. Having been in the credit union industry, there’s the added benefit of understanding some of the acronyms!
Outside of that, though, the foundational principles of communication are the same, regardless of your industry. Ensure you know your audience, communicate with clarity, and measure your success. The skills are definitely transferrable.
You also had a short stint in the solo world, working as an executive-level comms consultant. What did you learn during that stint about the solo life? Would you ever go back?
I enjoyed my time consulting, as it was a much-needed change of pace and a way for me to firmly reestablish myself in the communications space having been in senior leadership for over a decade. It was a great confirmation of the work that I truly love, and it really fit well with my desire to have a foot in both the worlds of strategy and execution. However, being embedded within an organization has a lot of benefits, especially from the communications standpoint. It gives you the opportunity to understand, shape and influence strategy over the long term. Would I ever go back? Maybe. But right now I feel very fortunate to be where I am at this time and place in my life.
Last year, you joined the IABC MN board–congrats! But, you joined at an interesting time as I’m guessing most of that time has been virtual. What’s that been like? And, has the time and effort you put into your board work been worth it? Why or why not?
Fortunately for me I had been a member of an IABC small group for a little while—pre-pandemic!—before joining the board, which gave me an opportunity to establish a portion of that network while still in person. But it’s definitely been an interesting year in which all of us have learned so much. I’ve been impressed by the way IABC pivoted to virtual format to continue to provide value to its members. Webinars, virtual happy hours, connection groups and the annual conference are all going strong. We even launched a young professionals group virtually in December! While there are many benefits to in-person events, I also value the efficiencies you gain through the virtual format. In either case, my IABC experience has been a great one. It’s a wonderful opportunity for communications professionals to build their network, be in community with others, and sharpen their skills.
Over the last year, you’ve been pretty active on LinkedIn. I’m guessing that’s been purposeful. And, I’m also guessing it may have played a role in landing your role at Thrivent. The question is: Do you plan on continuing to stay active on LinkedIn now that you found that new job?
I do plan on remaining active on LinkedIn, if for no other reason than to share an occasional inspiring post, showcase the great work of my employer, or to help others. Over the past few years, I have rediscovered the power (and benefits) of a strong professional network. I truly enjoy being a connector and a resource. In my book, that’s what networking is all about.
Looking at some your posts–you seem to be a fairly spiritual person. And, now you work for an organization rooted in Christian faith. What’s that been like so far? And, how do you see your personal faith intertwining with business in the future at Thrivent?
My faith is very important to me; it’s at the core of who I am and supersedes all my other identities (wife, mother, friend, employee, etc.). That was one of the most exciting aspects for me when joining #TeamThrivent. I love being able to work for an organization that is committed to helping people make financial decisions that are guided by faith and true to their values.
You earned two certifications in 2020–Strategic Communications Management Professional and Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. Why did you pursue those two and how are they already paying off?
Pursuing the SCMP designation was a good challenge for me. Being newer to IABC, and having been out of college for a while, I really enjoyed the opportunity to dig into a communications text book (nerd alert!!). It was gratifying for me to see written in the materials so many of the things I had learned from experience in 20 years of communications work. As for Prosci, I became interested in this certification because several people in my professional network had recommended it to me. So often, change and communications go hand in hand. The completion of this certification provided fundamentals in change management, a shared change framework, and it formalized my experience and knowledge.
In your “I got a new job” post on LinkedIn back in Dec., you talked about how you shifted your focus off work and onto your family–where it belongs. Can you talk a bit more about that? Why did your focus shift away from family? And, how did you bring it back? What was the impact on your family?
If you’re not careful, it’s easy to lose yourself in a job. As many people have experienced, the demands of work and a desire to perform at a high level often lead to overextending yourself. And sometimes—even though you recognize the problem—it’s hard to make meaningful changes or set different boundaries that have lasting impact. A transition in my career provided me with the opportunity to focus on my family—at a time that was even more important than I initially realized. While 2020 was a year of upheaval for many, it allowed us to find freedom and peace. Especially over the summer months, I could work remotely, and we were untethered by sports and other regular commitments. My kids are 12, 10 and 8—we experienced togetherness as a family that is unlike anything we will ever have again. I am so grateful for that shift in perspective, thanks to the gift of time.
A free donut a day with your vaccine card. That’s what Krispy Kreme offered up last week in the first (big) attempt at #vaxmarketing we’ve seen so far.
To no one’s surprise, the internet lashed back. Specifically around the issue that donuts are potentially worse than the vaccine! I mean, I’ll give you a minute. Sift through the comments on their Insta post (by the way, I love the first comment: “I’m here for the comments”).
Heck, medical professionals were even calling out Krispy Kreme and “fat shaming” people in the comments. But, I digress.
There seems to be a clear line in the sand on this Krispy Kreme promotion–those who think donuts are poison and they will kill you slowly. And, those who say “it’s just a donut.”
And you know what, in looking through the comments, the folks in the latter group may just be the (slightly) larger majority!
Many of the comments on Krispy Kreme’s original tweet that allude to the “it’s just a donut” theme had hundreds, or even thousands, of likes. However, if you look at Krispy Kreme’s Facebook post it seems like opposite sentiment is winning.
Point is: Krispy Kreme stepped right in the middle of a monstrous cultural and political war. One that’s been going on for some time now, obviously.
And, if you look through the FAQs, as this Slate article points out, they did make a special exemption for the anti-vaxxer crowd.
But the bigger issue here seems to be one that many brands are realizing lately–you’ve got a real angry, frustrated and polarized community of customers and fans out there. And, much like the political divide, they have wildly different (and passionate) opinions on a variety of topics–including vaccinations and donuts.
So, did Krispy Kreme see this firestorm coming? Maybe–maybe not. Hard to tell. But, if you work in social media marketing for Krispy Kreme, you probably saw it coming. And, other brands would be wise to be prepared for this, too. And, not just when you talk about vaccinations. There seems to be a laundry list of topics that can now set off people at a moment’s notice on social media.
Where do we go from here? For starters, I’m hopeful those angry attitudes will soften just a bit as the pandemic (hopefully) wanes soon. That will help. In the meantime, if I were managing social media for a brand right now, I’d be prepared for the worst–every day. Have your crisis plans ready. Double-check every post–run it by 2-3 other people if you have to. It’s a strange time right now–and the internet is just waiting to pounce on your brand.
Make sure you’re prepared.
For years, what’s been one of the key social media “best practices” that’s been beaten into our heads? SNACKABLE CONTENT!
It’s all about snackable content, right?
Your videos need to be 10 seconds or fewer.
Your blog posts should be 500-700 words. No more.
Your social posts should be short so people can “snack” on them. OK, that sounds stupid, but I’m trying to make a point here!
Snackable content has been the trend for as long as I can remember. However, new data, and anecdotal “evidence”, is coming to light that may prove otherwise.
And, brands would be wise to take notice.
SEMrush found that content with more than 7,000 words received an average of 302 unique page views, which was six times more than those with 300-600 words (59 unique page views).
What’s more, posts with a word count of 300-600 received the fewest number of shares on average (20), while articles with more than 7,000 words received the most (30).
So, is long-form content back en vogue?
Recent anecdotal evidence suggests “yes”, too. Especially with long-form video.
You probably saw the recent drone video featuring Bryant Lake Bowl in South Minneapolis that raced around the internet (pun intended). What you may not have noticed is the length of said video: 1 minute and 27 seconds.
Sure doesn’t seem like “snackable” video content to me. And, if you look at social media (and the comments in the YouTube video), you’ll see proof many people watched the whole video–not just the first 10 seconds.
What about Mountain Dew’s recent Bob Ross video? They used deepfake video tech to recreate the late Bob Ross and developed a 41-minute recreation of his “Joy of Painting” show. Again, anecdotally, judging by the social cues (likes, comments), you can tell people watched more than just 10-20 seconds of this video.
So again, does this mean long-form content is back?
For text content (blog posts), I would argue good, well-researched long-form content never went out of style in the first place.
On the video side, you’re seeing the same thing play out recently. If the content is wildly entertaining (see BLB drone video) or very useful (Johnson & Johnson’s Race to the Vaccine video series comes to mind), I think longer content is not only acceptable, it may be preferred for many customers and fans–especially considering how much time we’re all spending online these days.
Bottom line: I think the key takeaway here is really this–don’t over-rely on “snackable” content just because it’s been the trend the last 5-8 years. There is a spot for long-form content, and increasingly it is becoming an important one.