CONTENT.INTERVIEW1: Are you ready to enter the Social Media Industry?
March 7, 2013 in Content Interview
An interview with Chris Zilles giving career advice to the new entrants!
A brief phone call interview with Chris Zilles, Social Media HQ fame this week gave me a thorough peek into the social media industry especially from a new entrant’s lens. For those of you, if the name doesn’t ring a bell, Chris Zilles is a successful social media professional who co-founded the company Social Media HQ.
The takeaways from this interview left me motivated and I wish to share those insights with you all as well. I started with a very generic question about the career advice he would give to a fresher entering the social media industry. “Keep learning” and never think you know everything was the biggest takeaway for me. As a new entrant you need to have an open mind and have the capacity to consume different points of view from various professionals in the field. Another key takeaway which was striking was that you should never address yourself as a social media “expert” because the industry has so many different tools and varied information that it is difficult to justify being an “expert”. As an entrant you should be continuously learning and reading social media blogs constantly.
An ideal candidate (if Chris would be hiring an entrant) would be someone who has a strong foundation of concepts, who is willing to learn and being taught concepts of social media marketing, someone who has been an active blogger, engaged through various social media channels, has strong writing skills and willing to learn new skills along the way. Moving toward technical skills, Chris emphasized on analytics and content marketing strategy. He mentioned about being able to perform online audit that involves analysis of customer data, in terms of what worked, what didn’t, and who the competitors are etc. You really need to have a hold on Google analytics which is the foundation of the technical aspect of the social media strategies.
Chris also had some great insights for entrants switching careers from another industry: “Take baby steps” is what he stressed on. You need to slowly get involved in the system and then go all out. We are not going to know everything from the beginning and thus need to have an open mind. The transition phase should go through a learning process that encompasses relationship building in a digital world. “It takes time” was the key here and you have to be able to adapt to the changes the industry goes through. Finally some of the challenges that an entrant should be prepared for: “expect the unexpected”, you have to be able to think outside the box and the biggest challenge faced is with communication. You need to be able to communicate with your audience and clients, at the same time maintaining transparency. Another challenge is to be able to adapt to the changing environment and culture of your client. Moreover you need to be able to understand their vision and be creative in aligning themes to that vision.
It was indeed a pleasure to talk to Chris and I really appreciate him for taking the time to talk to me about such important takeaways. I hope this post is as helpful for others as it has been for me.