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And in corporate cultures where information released to the public is heavily monitored and directed, King and the organization haven’t always agreed on how to respond to certain messages. “The client is really reticent,” King explains. “When I first started they wanted me to send one tweet a day and they did not want me to respond to a follower right away. They also [become alarmed] over negative comments so we are still trying to figure out when to delete or leave them.” According to Peake, for companies to successfully adapt to a culture that requires them to loosen the reins they “need to ensure that their social media team is equipped to handle crisis situations, so one must be knowledgeable of the business culture and infrastructure,” she says.
An opportunity such as King’s takes more than being a frequent user of social media tools. Jeremiah Owyang, a partner and customer strategist for Altimeter Group, says on his blog (www.web-strategist.com/blog) that to establish yourself as a qualified candidate you must be able to fulfill and articulate the business objectives of the company—without mentioning social media. You will need to serve as an advocate for customers and a spokesperson for the company to communicate one side’s point of view to the other. Essentially, you should be able to learn new technologies and apply them to benefit the company’s needs.
This article originally appeared in the December 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.