Help Wanted: VP for Social Media

In March 2009, National Geographic posted the following job opening for a Vice President, Social Media—a new position at the Society.
In July 2009, National Geographic hired Robert Michael Murray to lead its social media efforts.

Job Title:  Vice President, Social Media
Job ID:      3769
Location:     NG Digital Media
Job Type:  Regular/Full-time/Exempt

Summary of Position
Reporting to the President of NG Digital Media, the Vice President Social Media (“VPSM”) will focus on creating NGS strategies for the Social Media space and will demonstrate extensive knowledge of the dynamics behind communities, forums, blogging, micro-blogging, ratings/polls/comments, user generated/edited/distributed content trends (Social Media) as well as each of their respective technology platforms.

VPSM will align, on behalf of various NGS business units (e.g. films, television, magazines, missions, maps, games, mobile), the business and operational needs of the Social Media programs in order to assist them in outbound brand marketing to meet their business needs & goals. This is an opportunity to help to continue expand a global iconic brand’s presence and reach into new areas of the digital landscape.

The key success metric for this position will be advancing the NGS brand & content forward into the Social Media space, by establishing NG presence on (i) NG operated websites and digital businesses, (ii) established and emerging third party Social Media sites and platforms, and (iii) via cross-pollination within the Social Graph. I.e. understanding online consumers’ need to migrate & circulate among the social graph, engaging with the NG brand and content in a variety of different Social Media sites and platforms, and not just on

The VPSM will use non-conventional tactics that includes leveraging existing assets, “right-sizing” content, and engaging fans in communities and architecting social programs that will create followers, fans, friends and builds relationships. The VPSM will identify and track key insights from data such as buzz metrics and use this as the starting point for all social strategies.

The VPSM must have hands on experience in strategy/operations/tactics/trends in blogging, community, forums, and UGC — combining this with a passion for the NG Mission. The ideal candidate has already launched social initiatives either themselves or on behalf of an organization or client. The VPSM must also be comfortable leading and managing a matrixed team of passionate individuals with deep knowledge of community dynamics/social media, and networks both in and outside of NGS.

1. Develop preliminary research re NGS current online presence including an analysis of the competitive set, industry bench marks, innovation in this space, etc.
2. Audit of current social media initiatives and defining possible opportunities
3. Develop a comprehensive NGS-wide social media strategy that establishes both objective/measurable and subjective near and long-term goals and is reasonably consistent with NGS-brand standards
4. Create and launch programs with leading social sites to increase NGS brand awareness and affinity
5. Develop and evangelize evolving best practices for social media
6. Re-invent the notion of membership to NGS through social media channels
7. Increased measurable NG brand and content reach for strategic initiatives through credible, transparent, authentic voice and tactics
8. Extend advertisers to social platforms and develop associated advertising/sponsorship revenue models
9. In coordination with VP Marketing, find incremental revenue opportunities, e.g., micro-transactions, e-commerce
10. Create feedback loop to crowdsource concepts for NGS content and product areas


– Lead the development of social media strategies and tactics for both NGDM as well as cross-Society partners, coordinate with key internal stakeholders, and directing the execution of all social media initiatives. Develop strategy for the launch and growth of our customer communities.

– Perform high-level industry-specific research de-constructing relevant case studies and uncovering insights. Monitor internal and external Web sites and facilitate discussions. Engage with the community through a series of online and offline events. Draft briefs based off of findings from business intelligence and industry observations.

– Partner with NGDM VP Marketing to implement social media strategies in coordination and conjunction with existing endeavors in the space. Partner closely with NGDM content/editorial team to coordinate, direct and lead the daily production of social content.

– Work with internal teams and external vendors on appropriate, scalable, low-cost solutions for social media infrastructure. Evangelize and train internal NGS teams on the value of the online community, including research, client group marketing teams, and IT. Lead, manage and mentor the social media team of seeders/conversationalists. Inspire internal content creators to think about social media as a platform to create a dialogue with engaged consumers.

– Identify and develop relationships with key existing and emerging platforms, vendors, associations, events, and sites.
Supervision Exercised
Minimum Education & Experience
– Bachelor’s degree and experience in managing similar online business communities; experience in marketing preferred, MBA strongly preferred.

– 7+ years Internet/digital media experience — subject matter expert in online communications and social media tools including forums, blogs, podcasts, wikis and social networks

Knowledge & Skill Requirements
– Strong sense of urgency and ability to respond quickly and timely
– Savvy online communication skills presenting a welcoming and professional voice yet, able to manage online detractors in a discreet and tactful way
– Ability to multitask in several communities
– Proficiency in basic systems administration such as permissions, content publishing, and other ¿back-end¿ tools
– Good social and interpersonal skills that translate well into an online persona

Equal Opportunity Employer

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