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Social Media Strategist Job Listing Misses the (Ara) Mark

I just saw this job posting:

Director, Social Media Strategy

Hiring Company Industry: Food & Beverage
Number of Employees: 10,000+ Employees
Total Compensation: $120K – $145K
Reports to: VP, Consumer Strategies
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Job Description

ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. The company is recognized as the industry leader in FORTUNE magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies,” and as one of America’s Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbesmagazines. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 255,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries.

ARAMARK is seeking a Director, Social Media Strategy to develop, manage and implement ARAMARK’s social media infrastructure. This role is responsible for collaborating with ARAMARK’s businesses  to develop strategies that enable meaningful engagement with its consumers and clients to drive demand and foster strong and positive connectivity.  The Director will also collaborate and work closely with Corporate Communications to support  ARAMARK’s broader employee and external communication initiatives. This position will serve as the central hub for guiding, solving and observing the social media presences of ARAMARK as well as its lines of business. Additionally, the position is responsible for the tracking and reporting of all social media to executives and must be skilled  in assessing and presenting the business implications, meaning and value of social media activities on ARAMARK and its businesses, employees, clients and customers. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Develop and implement the overarching social strategic framework, including the listening strategy, playbook, governance, policy and measurement criteria.
  • Coordinate responses to appropriate conversations.
  • Manage the  multiple profiles for ARAMARK in corresponding channels.
  • Provide leadership and guidance in the creation of social media strategies for the corporate ARAMARK brand and individual line of business brands.
  • Partner  with Corporate Communications to adapt the corporate branding strategy and mission to enliven in social media.
  • Work with business units to develop original and curated content to be used across all social channels and as an integrated part of their entire marketing mix.
  • Ensure the integrity of the ARAMARK brand across all ARAMARK social presences for the different lines of business.
  • Analyze activity and reporting status, trends and business value and identify areas that require follow-up actions in the form of more research and/or understanding, business strategy modifications, or remediation plans.
  • Partner with relevant functional areas and businesses to drive alignment in complementary activities.
  • Grow the social media program based on opportunities.
  • Provide or coordinate training and awareness within the organization where necessary.
  • Manage vendor and service provider relationships.


  • Bachelors degree in marketing, communication, PR, technology, or significant work experience.
  • Minimum of 10 years business experience in marketing or communication on client or agency side; minimum of 5 years in the digital and/or social space.
  • Proven experience in independently developing, implementing and measuring sustainable social media strategies for a corporation or brand.
  • Superior hands on knowledge of technologies, partners and conferences.
  • Well networked in the social space- ability to keep up on trends and new innovation.
  • Minimum 2 years of developing, implementing and measuring social media strategies for clients, a corporation or brands.
  • Strong written, verbal and technical communication skills with thorough attention to detail.
  • Existing knowledge of social networking and monitoring tools for utilization of metrics and benchmarks to measure effectiveness.

Other skill sets and experiences required include:

  • Must demonstrate the ability to impact and influence at the most senior levels of the organization and across the enterprise.
  • Must also possess strong collaboration skills coupled with experience strategically navigating a large organization, including partnering with other departments and stakeholders to understand need and generate appropriate, innovative solutions.
  • Ability and desire to lead high-performing matrix project teams.
  • Ability to partner with the corporate IT department to develop technology solutions that advanced the social media capability.

For more information or to apply, visit www.aramark.com/careers (Job Number 65760).




I could go on forever about the eleventybillion things wrong with this job posting, but I’ll contain myself to only a few words, in hopes that Aramark comes to its senses in this hiring process. Aramark is a Philly company and I want them to succeed solely for that reason. I have no affiliation with Aramark or any of its related companies.

Aramark should tread very, very carefully in this realm of social media. The company should have a clear sense of its goals. Social media can be damaging. This posting doesn’t at all pinpoint what Aramark should expect this Director to accomplish. It seems like one of the social media kumbaya kool-aid drinkers wrote this job posting, as if they were sitting around drinking coffee, saying “Hey, you know what we need? A CONVERSTATION WITH OUR CUSTOMERS! We need to ENGAGE! Yes! Let’s engage!”

Uh, no. Let’s not engage. Let’s listen, sure. Let’s not build our own channels on which to listen. Let’s not have this pie-in-the-sky idea that we are going to build a social network around Aramark. Let’s not intrude on our customer’s private conversations just because we want to “engage” them. Aramark is a food service provider. The psychological elements around food and eating are a delicate bunch. You cannot hire a social media strategist that doesn’t understand this. Aramark’s social media strategy should be extremely custom-made, and IMHO fly as low on the radar as possible. They need to build a personality profile around the strategy, like an old grandmother with comfort foods or a sleek, fine dining gourmet vegetarian chef. Perhaps they need multiple personality profiles for the many, many businesses they have.

But this job posting is only going to attract the PR hacks, the cheerleaders, the cultists who think the word “democratization” holds meaning. It’s very worrisome to me.

I’ll stop now.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

-Christine Cavalier

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gloria Bell 14 September 2011, 10:09 am

    Christine,  You said it perfectly when you said  “But this job posting is only going to attract the PR hacks, the cheerleaders, the cultists who think the word “democratization” holds meaning. It’s very worrisome to me.”   God help us if corporations do not let go of these antiquated ways of thinking. 

    • PurpleCar 14 September 2011, 11:02 am

      You know what else they missed? “Establishing a relationship with the legal department.” As a systems admin, I had to consult with lawyers frequently. This social media strategist needs a whole team of social media lawyers that are primed to look at lessons learned and can predict the likelihood of legal disasters resulting from any social media post.
      If I went into this job, the first person I’d take out for a beer would be the head lawyer.
      -Christine Cavalier

  • Mari Adkins 14 September 2011, 10:47 am

    oh heck. even i know better than that!

    • PurpleCar 14 September 2011, 11:05 am


      it’s so ridiculous that I think perhaps they were just posting this as some sort of joke, or PR stunt, or some legalese somehow. I mean, they can’t be serious, right?

  • MM M 14 September 2011, 12:13 pm

    Well Christine,
    I have to admit I am not at all excited about going to Philly, I hung out there during collete at the University of Delaware, but your write up on this job definitely aids my application; and if I succeed, I may definitely seek you out for collaboration and direction.

    The post is an open field for the person to map, construct. I am also a great candidate in that regard cause I am neither any that you listed (“PR hacks, the cheerleaders, the cultists who think the word “democratization” holds meaning.”) . I am a Researcher, Strategist, Project Manager, Foodie, Chef and Recipe Book  riter, published writer, Poet and I spend sixteen hours on Social Media. Did i mention I am an entrepreneur.

    So if you have inroads with AraMark, do tell them to hire me, so we can put your worries and concerns to rest.;)

    Maven MDHuggins, PhD

  • MM M 14 September 2011, 12:14 pm

    and there i just got disqualified for not spell checking my note. oh well!

  • Ezra S F 18 September 2011, 9:41 pm

    I am not a social media strategist. However, a news search about Aramark shows a story about a university president changing his mind about taking their money to help renovate his residence in conjunction with their winning the bid to do food services. Sounds like a nightmare place to work.

    • PurpleCar 19 September 2011, 7:51 am


      Philadelphia is a nightmare place to work for this reason. Kickbacks and bribes, along with tyrannical unions rule the roost here.
      But your comment is exactly what Aramark should be listening for and should have a strategy for managing their response. (The company should be listening/following this post but definitely should not comment here. What I mean is just to collect this data and see if this issue in particular raises to a certain level of concern).
      Yeah, it will be a hard job, no doubt. Especially with the expectations set so far away from good practices in social media.
      -Christine Cavalier

  • Anittah Patrick 29 September 2011, 2:47 pm

    Christine, my sense is that someone at this level and comp should be exactly the person who helps Aramark to understand the minefields of this landscape. My guess is that this role would report into someone whose expertise is not in social media and that Aramark is looking to find someone who will help sherpa them through the possible storm.

    That said, I don’t know anyone who works there so I cannot speak to whether or not this is true. I can only speak in my capacity as someone who has written many marketing job descriptions before (as the hiring manager, not as a recruiter and/or someone in the HR department) and as someone who has worked in online marketing for very large multinationals before.

    I mean, at this comp, my expectation is that candidates can read through the lines and intelligently navigate the corporate landscape. That’s kind of what you’re paid to do at that level — it’s 45% actual marketing and 55% tertiary activities that help enable great marketing. No?

    Or, hey, maybe I am being wildly optimistic!!!  Wouldn’t be the first time =)

    • PurpleCar 30 September 2011, 7:48 am


      Thanks for writing in with a human resource perspective.

      I suppose this could be construed as HR secret code, but the duties listed and the omitting of other more relevant duties seem to be soooo unrealistic that I worry for Aramark. It’s written to attract the base-level social media maker, not the exec who has had related positions and has worked at related levels. But you’re the expert! Let’s go with your optimism and hope that Aramark knows what they are doing. Maybe they have a person in mind and they just don’t want to take the risk of listing a qualification that candidate doesn’t have…(that still doesn’t address the tone problems; let’s also hope that Aramark knows, as you said, that they aren’t looking for some Kool-Aid-drunk cheerleader.)
      Hope springs eternal in the social media world.

      -Christine Cavalier