Why I don’t want ‘Social Media’ in my title, and neither should you


That’s it. I’m done with ‘Social Media’. Not with social media as a part of my job, not in the sense that I’ve lost all passion for my industry. No. I don’t want it in my title any more.

Let’s just say, I’ve had an epiphany. When it comes down to it, I am not a “Social Media Specialist” – that title assumes that I am a one trick pony that is on a bandwagon currently so full that it’s wheels are falling off. Did you know that by adding ‘Social Media’ to your title it almost instantly devalues you in terms of salary? I don’t want to be devalued, no sir-e-bob. It’s such a fluffy term that almost anywhere you look ‘Social Media Specialist’ job descriptions are entirely different. Some people want you to do Link-Building, others want you to do SEO/SEM, some want you to gain them millions of new Facebook fans & Twitter followers at the snap of a finger. Then, there is social video, blogging, and the list never ends.

I’m going to be honest with myself. I’m not an expert, I didn’t go to school for Social Media. I went to school for Marketing. This is where my knowledge is. Sure, I have spent the last year and a half dedicatedΒ to social media… But that does not mean I’m a Social Media Specialist. I mean, for real – Google “Social Media Expert” and see the hatred that lies beneath the term.

In truth, I am a Relationship Marketing Specialist.Β I have always loved people, but ever since my stint in selling cars – I have a bitterness towards sales. Relationship marketing is different from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long term value of a customer relationship – and extends the lines of communication beyond intrusive advertising and sales/promo messages. This is what social media empowers me to do.

In a professional forum, I want to be able to create relationships with people on behalf of a brand (NOT behind one). I’m not talking about using a CRM platform – I’m talking about having a conversation, creating a deeper connection with people – what they’re interested in, who they are. I want to create a mutual satisfaction with customers beyond the point of purchase and social media is the easiest way to find these people.

Social media, is in fact, my tool.





  1. Eric Wittlake · August 17, 2011

    Wait, doesn’t that make it ROR? πŸ™‚

    Relationship marketing expert? I like using that title for social media, and more broadly, for the kind of marketing I’m an advocate of. Marketing that respects the audience’s time and attention and strives to earn it, rather than buying it through interruption marketing.

    Thanks for sharing, good to hear the perspective from someone that has been living with the title.

  2. Andrew Butts (@pbutts77) · August 18, 2011

    Great post! I believe your point regarding the varying job description extends beyond just social media but to marketing and maybe more specifically web marketing in general. As a SEM I find things request everything from website development and hard coding, through to graphics, analytics and of course social media. Again don’t want to be limited to one trick but rather resourceful with many tools. Cheers!

  3. Joey Gault · August 21, 2011

    Wow! I do believe you took the words right out of my mouth (or from the keyboard, atleast). I share you’re sentiments, and possibly some frustration with the title of social media expert.

    I claim the title of ‘Social Markter’ and try to educate my network that Social Media is a grouping of tools used to invoke social marketing strategies. I’ll let you know how I feel about my efforts in a couple of months; it may prove to be more frustrating that I anticipate.

    Relationship marketing is a passion of mine, so I’m interested in your trials on getting it to stick and making sure it receives the desired response.


    • Marissa Gagnier · August 22, 2011

      Thanks Joey! I’ll make sure to document my adventures. πŸ™‚

  4. dougridley · August 22, 2011

    I’ve been thinking about the idea of “titles” for a while now. Never could come up with something that would make sense to me, but more importantly to clients. Your title, relationship marketing specialist, really covers it nicely.

    • Marissa Gagnier · August 22, 2011

      It is really hard to encompass a role in one or two words, but I think narrowing down your passion and the grit of your day to day will really help define a better ‘title’. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Dave Hale · August 22, 2011

    I am fairly certain I brought this up months ago, which prompted you to create this post in the first place –> https://marissagagnier.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/on-being-a-social-media-guru/

    I’m glad you’ve seen the light. I run an agency that helps brands and organizations solve practical business problems through social activities. This includes media, but also research, monetization, marketing, operations, CRM, and human resources. The reason “social media specialists” are paid less is because you’re proudly advertising that you know some stuff about one set of channels. It’s like saying “I’m a PPC specialist” when applying for a job with a media company.

    Great post, Marissa πŸ™‚


  6. I definitely understand your point, Marissa.

    I am the “social media specialist” at my job but of course my duties involve MORE than just using social media.

    Urgh! I think I need to change my title now! What about digital marketing specialist, eh? πŸ™‚

  7. Although I must add that by putting social media in your title, it immediately lets people know that SM is your specialty.

    • Marissa Gagnier · September 9, 2011

      Hey Jasmine,

      Totally agree w/ you there! I think we may need an entire sentence instead of two words for our job titles!! πŸ™‚


  8. BSitko (@BSitko) · September 8, 2011

    I prefer to just tell people what I know. Anything other than Social Media in your title to me drops you into that overused pompous crap like Guru, Nut, Specialist, Expert, Giant, Maniac…ugh.

    What am I a child rearing specialist? No. Just a Dad. Am I a Technology genius? No..just enjoy talking about it. Lots of people love to use titles. I don’t..just talking points.

    • Marissa Gagnier · September 9, 2011

      Agree with you completely!! It can be really frustrating when people try to put titles on you because sometimes it implies limitation of abilities.Thanks for the comment!


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