Does social media content have to be ad related?

16 Sep

So we’ve agreed that ad professionals need to be digital savvy and engaged in social media networks if they want to grow in the business. My question now is, does the content we share in these networks have to be related to advertising? How many blog posts do we need about models of consumer engagement? How many tweets linking to an article by Seth Godin? What about a blog on first-time fatherhood, second-wave ska, or third-rate zombie movies? We do have interests outside advertising, don’t we? And as long as we’re showing that we can use social media networks effectively, does it really matter what the content itself is (from the perspective of a potential employer evaluating social media competencies)?

Who would you choose between two otherwise equal candidates for a job position, if one blogs and tweets about advertising, the other about her experiences training for an Ironman?

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6 Responses to “Does social media content have to be ad related?”

  1. dougbrowncreative September 16, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    All things being equal, I want the one who’s passionate about advertising.

  2. Jody Beck September 16, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    Agreed. It’s good to know that real people have real interests. Isn’t that a given? I would say it all goes back to balance. Too much speak about what you and your dog did on the weekend, and I’m gone. The flip side, however, is social media (not unlike other interpersonal relations) is helpful when forming opinions about individuals and brands. People still generally want to know and like the people they do business with; it’s fairly easy to get to know the personalities of active social media participants. Twitter, for example, is a good filter for gravitating to members of the “real world” community you relate to and to create face to face introductions.

    In the end, however, I think it is impossible to judge a job candidate merely by their social media posts. How many interviews become scripted, perfected even, in order to “get the job”? How many stories do you hear about candidates that “seemed like the right fit” and then turned out to be someone other than how they portrayed themselves to be? My point is, the same is true with social media. You have the ability to construct a persona within the social media arena that isn’t necessarily the total picture.

  3. Jody Beck September 16, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    An appropriate link for this topic:
    http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/agency/e3i776b1668d474ee36958f8d7624d46c4c

  4. sgoth September 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Maybe the best place for our non-ad passions and hobbies is Facebook, keeping Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging focused on all things advertising. Each network seems to be natually best suited for either personal or professional use, though I’ve seen quite a few Twitter accounts that are an unappealing mix of both.

    Thanks for your comments.

  5. Eden September 17, 2010 at 2:43 am #

    Thanks for this, very useful. As a business student, it’s been drilled into my head that social media can make or break you, especially in a field like advertising. I was left wondering when and where to show personality and hoping that it wouldn’t seem fake if all I ever talked about was career. Going to update Twitter now…

  6. Shane September 20, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Thanks for your comment Eden. I think when it comes to a recent grad trying to get into advertising, demonstrating your passion for the business in your SM networks is definitely the way to go (as Doug mentioned). Lots of grads say they would “love” to work in advertising, but to set yourself above this group, you really need to show it. Once you’ve done a few years in the trenches, you have a bit more liberty to talk about non-advertising pursuits in SM.

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