There’s a good lesson for companies of all sizes in the New York Times’ decision to cut its “Social Media Editor” position: They don’t need one any more. Neither do you.
It’s not brain surgery to use social media like Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube. In fact, nearly anybody, of any age, can do it with no training at all and do it surprisingly well. For those who are starting up cold, it doesn’t hurt to pay someone to provide a couple of hours of training, but beyond that, save your money.
I suspect that the days of the “social media gurus” who point to their huge throngs of tens of thousands of Twitter followers are about over, for several reasons:
- Increasingly, people realize that random followers have little or no value. The practice of swapping “follows” has resulted in thousands of social media pros basically just following each other. Most of those “followers” offer little value to the average business, and they aren’t there to read your messages anyway. You can live without them.
- Even people who aren’t social media junkies are figuring out that the greater reach on Twitter is through established hash tags or simply well chosen search terms.
Facebook may offer a little more opportunity for social media service providers because the process of setting up corporate Facebook pages, but I don’t see much need for ongoing use of consultants or full-time staff.
All of this, of course, raises the question of whether to allow or encourage employees to use social media during office hours. That’s a topic for another day.