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Why the social media industry needs to specialize: no one can do it all!

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Many things have been said about the question of social media managers. So far, however, this discussion has always been reduced to one fact: the question of his training. What about specialization?

social media manager

Here writes for you:


Katharina A. Heder Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®Katharina Heder is Digital Media Manager and Consultant.


Egg laying wool milk was yesterday

The type and quality of training has been discussed so far, as has the question of the professionalism of some providers. At its core, many social media managers have a relatively broad portfolio. However, this is now about the tasks and activities as part of a possible specialization.

A specialization in the narrower sense could or could not take place so far, since the main requirement was to provide the customer with comprehensive advice. However, the complexity of the platforms and the different orientations show in many case studies that pure knowledge and daily use are not sufficient for professional implementation in projects.

Good advice can be expensive in crises

Just recently, the example of a raffle showed that good advice can often be very expensive if social networking guidelines are ignored.

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In the present example, Romy Mlinzk did a very good work-up on the problem, including the perspective of the training company, as part of a blog post. In essence, it can be seen that it does not necessarily depend on the quality of the training whether someone does a good or bad job in his job. The consequence of such examples can only be that you specialize.

Facebook 1, rest not available?

However, this does not mean to ignore the other platforms, but to engage more intensively in the networks, which are particularly important and in combination give a good overall picture, and to advise customers mainly in this segment.

It is questionable, however, whether it is, for example, wise to focus only in image and video networks.

Credible and reliable

For the customer - and this is no less important - this approach has the advantage that he can rely on the provider, since he can assume the competence in all areas and this includes an increase in the credibility of the entire industry.

This opens up new perspectives for the many social media managers, since the specialization may have a different effect and thus create new business potentials.

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The quality of work is increasing

However, the quality of work performance continues to increase, as concentrating on certain tasks allows the more effective use of existing resources: For example, those who previously had to look after Facebook, Twitter and Google + had less time to take care of developments on Twitter.

Not to mention using things like Vine. If Google is gone now, because there is not the core competence, then this opens up further possibilities in the intensity of the care of the other channels.

Workload increases daily with the change of user needs

Many Company have not yet understood that social media has no business hours. In this respect - depending on the channel to be supervised - it often happens that inquiries or interactions take place outside working hours.

Gerade bei dringenden Anliegen zB nach 18 Uhr, schickt es sich nicht unbedingt erst am kommenden Morgen ab 10 Uhr zu antworten. Insofern schafft eine Spezialisierung auch Ressourcen, um derlei Probleme angehen zu können.

Disadvantage: Companies can hardly keep pace with professionalization

The real drawback lies with companies whose financial resources are barely sufficient to employ a social media manager. Because these can hardly keep up with the ongoing professionalization.

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So it will - in much the same way as in classic advertising - come to a change of course: who does not have the means to keep pace, he has to live with the fact that he buys a latent risk.

The surplus value is lost

In addition, the actual added value - the value added chain of the company - is lost in the care of (too) many channels: The dialogue with the customer, the inclusion in developments and actions to increase reach and communication are often artificially pushed through competitions.

However, the customer does not always take part who already uses the product for several years, but many people feel compelled to participate by the pure profit.

Resources must be manageable

In order for the quality of customer dialogue and interaction with the company to increase again, it is important that resources remain manageable. Essentially, the job of the social media manager is as a mediator between companies and customers.

However, the many requirements that the platform has plagued him in the past have taken the time to deal intensively with the contributions and make full use of the value added.

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Too many cooks spoil the pulp - we all know that

If one summarizes all these arguments, then one thing becomes clear: The professionalization of the Social Media Manager does not depend on his education, but rather on the question of dealing with the learned.

An economist is more likely to focus on marketing, for example, than in his profession as an economist. Social media managers must finally take this step.

Many are simply overwhelmed

If the discussions about quality of education are raised to this level, then it is easy to see that many are simply overwhelmed by keeping themselves up to date, creating mistakes that harm all sides.

This step needs courage because it goes hand in hand with a clear confession, which is not self-evident: not to want to be able to do anything to the confession, but to be especially strong in the areas that lie with you. This is not for everyone, but do we all want to wait until many mistakes have happened and the industry has its reputation gone?

Hardly likely.

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  1. Edna McCullar

    It is a pity that there are so many anonymous discussions on blogs these days - it would make more sense to discuss with real names.

  2. Everything Social Media Academy or how to keep track of things: Differentiating social media training | PROFESSIONAL PICTURES

    […] “Keiner kann alles” habe ich ausführlich erklärt, Warum die Social-Media-Branche sich spezialisieren muss – nämlich weil es, wie in jedem anderen Bereich auch, für unterschiedliche Themenfelder Experten […]

  3. Lars Hahn

    Good article. I also believe that no one can be prepared for all aspects of social media management. This is not only a question of knowledge, but also a question of inclination. The communicator is not always the best strategist and the monitoring specialist may have no interests in posting and writing blog articles.
    However, I still see the need for SMEs to be well-established with a broad but rather flattering knowledge. For in fact, these are usually rather with a responsible social media handle.

    • Simone Janson

      I am not questioning that a broad set-up would be better for SMEs. However, as we always notice in the consultation, this is mainly a financial / resource problem. What solution do you propose specifically?

      • SocialMedia.ID

        Dear Fr. Janson,

        If there was a solution, then I would immediately have them protected by copyright ;-) There are different ways that lead to the goal. At the moment, this discussion must first be initiated in order to obtain a common intersection of interests and possibilities on the basis of which the development of solutions seems possible at all.

        If I consider all of these things for myself alone, then I must say honestly: YES, a waiver of Facebook does not mean that I can no longer advise, but only that I advise customers more transparently and also do not shrink from risks and dangers.

        At the heart of my article and my criticism is currently the observation that too many people flow into the profession, which are differently trained, but at the same time however in no network really have the necessary depth, there from the beginning to give customers comprehensive advice.

        Yes, a lot of things can only be learned with the practice, but which newcomer deals with the big 4 networks (Facebook, Twitter, XING and G +) in the depths, that he is really able to be responsible for a complete marketing?

        Therefore, my appeal now is to leave the discussion on training qualities and to hire the companies for experts, because this will also new entrants forced to specialization, which is expected to be a cleanup of the market and at the same time a higher value of the work.


      • Lars Hahn

        Broadly educated social media managers who, in addition to their training, should always have a professional experience in marketing and / or corporate strategy, can do the operational handling for SMEs in my opinion. It would be good if such SMEs were competent social media consultants who are always up-to-date, especially in the legal context. We ourselves do so, and I know a lot of companies, which also handle it so. Competence inside plus support from the outside.
        In that case, further training of an already competent employee as a social media manager may be useful for an SME, eg with an IHK degree.

        • SocialMedia.ID

          Good evening to the second,

          it is not just the question of what people learn in the training, but also about what else they know, for example, current changes. Do you know how to educate and educate oneself?

          Your idea is right, but this raises the question for me again, if the support should not be specialized nevertheless.


    • SocialMedia.ID

      Dear Mr. Hahn,

      nice that you have got used to my long comments meanwhile ;-) In principle, you bring more arguments that support my theses. Today, G + also raised the issue of how to do it and what small businesses can afford.

      From my point of view, however, one has to ask the question: How many warnings and what amount of warning fees can a small company handle? How do you rate the value of a blocked or deleted fanpage on Facebook for abuse? How do you figure the work behind this to a) rebuild or b) in cooperation with Facebook again release?

      In my opinion, it pays off in the case in question to think about whether to go down other marketing measures or just to take care of less demanding platforms. Of course, not all are on Tumblr, just to give an example, but there are some exciting projects there (eg Vodafail). There, the maintenance intensity is lower, the chance to make mistakes manageable and the investment can also be throttled.

      Eine Spezialisierung kann ja auch sein, Unternehmen dabei zu helfen bewussten Verzicht zu üben – und das kann man zB indem man sich auf die reine Strategie spezialisiert usw.

      In that sense: YES it is necessary and YES we all have to do something now, before the industry is banished, but for this we would have to be open to everyone for this discussion and already it fails with many.

  4. Michael Grippekoven

    Guten Abend! KEin Problem – ich habe mich über die detaillierte Antwort sehr gefreut! Übrigens: Ich bin ein So-Me-Manager im Anfangsstadium – habe erst im April meine IHK-Lizenz erworben.
    Also meine B2B-Spezialisierung ist noch zu weit getroffen – danke für den Hinweis! Ich habe auch genau diese Angst, daß ich nun alle Kanäle gleichzeitig en Detail erlernen und beherrschen soll – geht ja kaum.
    Und wenn ich ganz viel “Pech” habe, akquiriere ich auch noch einen Kunden, der dann von mir erwartet, daß ich in sämtlichen Plattformen alle Tiefen beherrsche und täglich bedienen kann. Das kann ja dann nur schief gehen.. :o/
    Wish good holiday evening!
    Greetings from Ddrf.
    Michael Grippekoven

    • SocialMedia.ID

      Hello Mister. Grippekoven,

      ja ich verstehe Ihre Situation durchaus, denn so erging es mir auch. Tatsächlich glaube ich aber, dass viele Kunden – je nach Klientel – diese Erwartung haben, weil sie gar nicht wissen, was Social Media heisst und was sie eigentlich wollen und/oder brauchen.

      Facebook is often a synonym for social media and this needs to be questioned, for example. Why would you like to become a member of Facebook or what goals would you like to achieve? This results in further points which can and should be viewed critically. In any case, you really understand the customer and his needs. You can then approach and develop solutions.

      In fact, the platform does not come first anyway and if I can explain to my clients what they are looking for and why they can opt for or against a possibility, I help you a lot more than selling my 08 / 15 concept B2B ,

      Social media is primarily communication and which has two sides: operators and users. There is no hierarchy, but the conversation takes place on the same level. Whoever has understood this and can realize it will understand why there is no way to pass the specialization.


      • Simone Janson

        Great discussion. Then Frau Heder hit another nerve!

      • Michael Grippekoven

        HAllo Mrs Heder,
        I like to join him. My fear is also the following:
        Einige KMU werden in der Geschäftsführung lediglich entscheiden: “Wir müssen jetzt auch ins Facebook oder so – ohne gehts bald nicht mehr”. Dann wird das jüngste Mitglied der GL als Verantwortlicher ausgesucht und vom Marketingetat u.U. ein Teil “abgeknapst”. Bei größeren Unternehmen wird im Anschluß ein SoMe-Manager eingestellt, bei kleineren nach einer Agentur Ausschau gehalten.
        Alles ohne sich gefragt zu haben, was man denn konkret für Ziele verfolgt – ich stimmt Ihnen zu.
        Michael Grippekoven

        • SocialMedia.ID

          Good evening Hr. Grippekoven,

          unfortunately again in the evening after a long day only found time to answer you: I am all the more pleased about the resulting discussion. Thank you first for your contributions.

          In fact, it is from my point of view part of our task to clarify the goal first. However, many companies have specialized only on the implementation, we post for them or we set up a specialized company. But you have not really achieved much in the end.

          Here I see currently also the lever or the need with companies: Meanwhile, almost all have arrived in the social web, but the few really deserve money or gain customers or have added value thereby. You are in the process of being there.

          Meine Aufgabe – und ich denke so definieren wir uns alle wohl – sehe ich dann doch eher in der Klärung von Ansprüchen und Möglichkeiten, sodass dem Unternehmer als Chef klar wird, dass es nicht wieder so ein verschwommenes Marketingding, das eh keiner versteht, wird, sondern ein nachvollziehbares, transparentes Konzept zur Kommunikation erschaffen wird.

          Unfortunately, that is not self-evident.


  5. SocialMedia.ID

    Good evening Hr. Grippekoven,

    I am sorry that I will contact you now, but I was traveling today.

    On your question: In principle, I am currently bothered by the discussion about forms of training. I have already blogged here a dozen times and wrote contributions to unt. Aspects in my own blog. In fact, it's no longer about the question of what is being learned, but rather about the fact that the requirements in the individual networks increase daily and become unmanageable for a single person.

    So geht es doch schon lange nicht mehr um die reine Befüllung der Kanäle, sondern viel eher um den sinnvollen Einsatz im Rahmen eines strategischen Marketings bzw. einer strategischen Kommunikation innerhalb eines Unternehmens. Damit hat sich faktisch auch die Anspruchshaltung der Teilnehmer in Weiterbildung verändert – und dieser sollte man Rechnung tragen.

    Deshalb empfinde ich es als sinnvollen nächsten Schritt, wenn man sich “Lücken” zugesteht und sich anstelle dessen durch Spezialisierung optimal aufstellt. Niemand muss ein Allrounder sein und vor allem sollte niemand der Branche schaden, indem er Kunden durch Unwissenheit schädigt.

    If you take this risk, you should consider whether he drowned driving or one-way streets also gladly times against the direction of travel used. If you do not take this risk personally, you should ask why it exposes customers to this risk.

    Die Spezialisierung zB auf B2B halte ich immer noch zu groß, da ja die Anforderungen durch die Gesamtheit der Portale dadurch nicht notwendigerweise eingegrenzt werden – und genau darauf zielt ja meine Kritik ab.

    Is it clearer for you?


  6. Michael Grippekoven

    EBen, ich hatte das so verstanden, daß man sich zB. als Social Media Agentur nur auf B2B, FastMovingConsumerGoods oder sonstige B2C spezialisieren kann. Auf der anderen Seite dürfen sich SoMeManager im Unternehmen selber auf die 2 – 3 zielgruppenrelevanten Kanäle konzentrieren. DIE gilt es natürlich herauszufinden..

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Mr. Grippenkoven,
      I think both companies and agencies should specialize in the channels on which your target groups or those of the customer are located. This is with the finding of the channels relevant to the target group, I am quite right to you, obviously the biggest problem, I experience again and again when I lectures or counseling.

  7. Michael Grippekoven

    GEnau – die Einsicht ist da. Fehlt nur noch das Aufteilen der Aufgaben auf mehrere Köpfe. Kein Problem für die großen AGs. Aber bei den KMUs haben wir ein Dilemma…

    • Simone Janson

      This is, of course, a question of money. On the other hand, the SMEs are also often specialized in certain areas, perhaps one should also select the social media marketing measures by target group.

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