@glengorham @matthewoneill Matthew – I appreciate what you’re saying. I have teenage sons who grew up with a computer mouse in their hand and social media is second nature to them. So I agree that being familiar with social media is a prerequisite.
There’s also a big difference between being familiar with the tools and using them, day in and day out. I often see so-called social media experts touting their services, and when I check out their website, blog, Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn accounts, there’s little-to-no activity. How can someone be an “expert” at teaching others to use the tools effectively if they aren’t consistently using them themselves?
Also, keep in mind that many company CEOs and HR directors who hire social media managers are Gen Xers, or even more likely, Baby Boomers. These savvy businesspeople know that social media marketing is considered an essential part of a company’s marketing plan. But, because they didn’t grow up using these tools, they find it very challenging to master them at this point in their lives and careers. So they hire someone (or a team of someones) to do it for them.
What I’ve discovered — and this is just me — is that my Baby Boomer clients prefer NOT to work with what they consider know-it-all 20-somethings. Even though the 20-somethings probably don’t intend to come across this way, the clients I work with feel “talked down to” by the younger generation.
As a result, “older” clients often choose to work with an “old person” like me (I’m on the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation) who has years of business experience, an understanding of the Gen X and Baby Boomer market, and a very real, deep understanding of what it means to grow up without the benefit of social tools, but to have tackled social media and (mostly) conquered it.
I believe there’s room for both “youngters” and “oldsters” in social media marketing. Ideally, a team comprised of 20-, 30-, 40-, 50- and 60-somethings working together on a social campaign could bring a phenomenal combination of fresh ideas, business experience, and technical know-how to the table.