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What if I were to say that since I played video games all throughout my childhood, it makes me qualified to design big blockbuster video games for companies such as EA or Activision Blizzard? You would think I’m crazy right? No education in graphic design, coding, C++, computer engineering, or the likes, and I am qualified to design video games? “Hahahahahaha,” that’s what I would say!

Unfortunately, Cathryn Sloane (@cathrynsloane25) made this statement a couple days ago about Social Media Managers, which I think tarnished the reputation of many younger Millenials trying to make it ‘big’ in the social media/ digital marketing industry from a young age. I am one of these people. Growing up using technology, and being in high school when Facebook came out does not make me qualified to manage a brand’s reputation online. It’s an absurd statement to say that it does!

I have worked hard over the past years to understand marketing and consumer buying behaviours. I was fortunate enough last summer to have an internship at a Management Consulting Agency, and they ALLOWED me to manage their social media presence, under close guidance from a social media consultant. I learned a lot about social marketing that summer, and have been educating myself about social media marketing ever since. Here are some of the reasons why, as a 21 year old Millenial, I MIGHT be qualified to manage your brand’s reputation:

  • I have a business degree from a prestigious undergraduate university, where I focused on marketing. From this degree, I learned critical thinking skills by analyzing countless case studies. I also understand marketing planning, integrated marketing communications planning, and marketing strategy.
  • I have a minor in psychology, where I learned the basics of human interaction, emotions, personality, and the likes. I took courses such as cognitive processes, social psychology, and consumer behaviour, which gave me a better understanding of how and why humans are social.
  • I received training from Dave Gallant (@davergallant), a social strategist at NuFocus Strategic Group, where I learned all of the basics about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, Visibli, Paper.li, etc. He taught me all the tips, tricks, and best practices, along with the proper business etiquette on how to use all of these social networks. This education from Dave was the most valuable learning experience I could have ever had to propel my career in Digital Marketing.
  • From Dave’s education, I transferred all of the skills I learned to my personal brand. I started blogging, have several social media profiles, and branded myself as a young digital marketing professional. I started building this reputation in September 2011, and I’m still working at it, and won’t ever stop.
  • I spend 6-10 hours a day on social media ‘practicing’ engagement with my followers. I spend countless of hours a week educating myself on different social media management tools, analytics tools, best practices in the digital marketing industry, etc. I read blogs, news articles, and watch videos about digital marketing all the time.
  • I make an effort to introduce myself to digital marketing professionals, and keep a working relationship with these individuals. I do this because I know that their knowledge is impeccable, and that building a relationship with key industry leaders is a valuable asset! I’ve had online and offline conversations with Robert Caruso (@fondalo), Chris Dessi (@cdessi), Ron Tite (@rontite) and Dave Gallant (@davergallant). I’ve had online conversations with Neal Schaffer (@nealschaffer), Eric T. Tung (@EricTTung), Jim Dougherty (@leaderswest) and Ray Hiltz (@newraycom). I know most of the community managers at Radian6 (@radian6, @jasonboies, @dayngr, @zodot, @MacleanHeather, @jenn_seeley, @MikeGRad6, @bartrand, @amandanelson, @shannopop, @davidbthomas, @julie_meredith).

These are just a few of the things that I do on a daily basis that might make me qualified to be a social media manager, not because I had a Facebook profile since I was 16. Never would I say that I am more qualified than a 28, 30, 40 or even 50+ year old with 5 – 10+ years in the digital marketing industry.

Unfortunately, Cathryn made that claim. She hit the publish button before thinking about the consequences of her post, which is a rookie mistake that anyone that is not qualified to be a social media manager would make. She did not just affect her reputation with that post, but the reputation of all younger millenials trying to make it as a social media manager. The industry leaders aren’t just criticizing her, but are generalizing the arguments to all people that are under 25 years old, which unfortunately affects some of us that work hard on a daily basis to create a good reputation for ourselves…

What do you think about Cathryn’s post? What do you think about mine? Would you consider me qualified to manage a company’s brand reputation online, even though I’m not 25? Please leave your comments bellow!