We don’t have a crystal ball (though we secretly pine for one) but we do see key trends emerging in the interactive needs of our clients. Here’s our forecast of five interactive roles that will be in high demand in the coming year.
1. Content development for social media - The recent changes to the Google algorithm are one strong indication that social media content is growing in importance. The more that brands get people engaged on Facebook and Twitter and get them to “like” their content, the better their search ranking will be. That’s why more marketing directors are looking for freelance writers who are not only adept at writing marketing copy, but skilled at initiating conversations via social media.
Special skills: If you're a strong writer AND the kind of person who getting the conversation going at a cocktail party, you may well be a great content developer for social media. And a quick wit doesn’t hurt either (depending on the brand, of course.)
2. Social media monitors/listeners - Many companies are building entire teams focused specifically on listening to what people are saying about their brands online. Like Taylor Guitars, they’re looking for opportunities to engage their brand in conversations that are already going on around them. Companies like Dell, for example, have built social media command centers to follow brand sentiment. Social media icon @Sree Sreenivasan even recommends that companies bring in a Listener in Chief.
Special skills: In addition to strong analytical skills, social media listeners must know how to immerse themselves in the culture of social media, capitalizing on new opportunities, thanking zealous supporters, and fixing customer service problems before they spiral out of control.
3. Mobile application designers - The proliferation of tablet devices opens up new opportunities for brands to engage users. With consumers spending far more time using tablets than smart phones, PCs, and other platforms, there will be increased focus on the design capabilities of these versatile devices. According to Forrester’s Mobile App Design Best Practices, “users ultimately judge a mobile device’s desirability based on the desirability of the mobile app experiences it provides.” Because of this, hiring managers will look for freelance interactive designers with the imagination to provide a delightful user experience for each mobile platform, from smart phones to tablets.
Special skills: It’s not just about designing a beautiful interface. The best brands want interactive designers who can create positive emotional connections between users and their product or service.
4. Designers with specialized skills and styles - It’s common for advertisers to pick illustrators and photographers based on their distinctive style. Now we’re seeing style become part of the hiring process for interactive designers. Increasingly, clients are looking not just for exceptional designers, but designers who’ve created distinctive styles or who have experience in a particular area, such as designing for e-commerce sites.
Special skills: Creating appealing e-commerce and social media design experiences are highly desirable.
5. Analytics managers - Marketing and social media platforms are spewing out huge volumes of analytic data, including click-through rates, tracking URLs, and more. Marketers are struggling to turn this raw data into useful information to continually optimize their sites. This is spurring an increased demand for analytics managers who can direct the development of customer web experience assessment tools that are focused on customer behavior patterns. Based on this data, they’ll develop strategies to enhance the visit experience in line with business goals.
Special skills: Analytics managers must have a keen understanding of social media trends, web analytics packages, and the latest social media data tracking.
Want to learn more about emerging interactive roles? Contact an agent.
Technical skills are important to have, but it's the soft skills that can set you apart from the pack.