I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Hire a Social Media Manager for your business, and do it now. You can give them any title you like - Online Media Officer, Community Manager, Director of New Media, whatever suits you - just make sure you aren't assigning the duty to someone else in the company who already has a full plate. No one ever learned any history in high school when their teacher was really the gym coach filling in the teaching spot.
Just as you would properly vet a candidate for any other position, you should do the same for your social media manager. The problem is that you probably aren't going to find many people with a long history of managing social media on their resume, so what do you look for in this position? I'm so glad you asked.
1. Real Knowledge of the Field
Just because someone has a Facebook and Twitter account doesn't mean they know how to manage social campaigns. They need to know the basics of the business end of social - how to set up pages, how to analyze and track engagement using good social media management software, setting up and maintaining blogs, experience in email marketing, and what kinds of posts will actually attract people.
2. Great Communication Skills
This person is going to be the face of your business online. They need to be able to deal with the widest variety of personalities, speak and write conversationally, have thick skin, and be problem solvers. I can't stress (again) how important it is to have someone dedicated to this position without other responsibilities in the organization. You wouldn't want your ad agency handling your bookkeeping, and this is no different. The person you put online to represent you can almost single-handedly increase your business if they are the right person, or they can destroy your image if they aren't. Make sure they have excellent spelling and grammar skills as well, please.
3. Loyal and Trustworthy
I shouldn't have to keep saying this, but it's that important. This will be one of the most important roles in your company going forward, so don't downplay it. You need someone who you can trust with high-level information about the business, who can make important decisions regarding their area, and who has the best interests of the company at heart. Hiring Johnny from the neighborhood because he has a lot of Facebook friends is a bad idea. Very bad.
This person is not going to just be posting funny cat pictures when they find them. They will need to maintain a scheduled blog, post to the different social sites daily and at certain times, run daily, weekly, or monthly email campaigns and newsletters, and do regular research to stay on top of the latest changes, trends, and sites in social. It's a full-time proposition. In addition to all of this, they will need to respond to any and all comments, questions, and mentions toward or about your company. Which leads to the next attribute...
Managing social media isn't a 9-5 position. It's more like a doctor's or real estate agent's schedule, which is to say that they need to be available almost anytime they are needed. You don't have to go to extremes - they shouldn't have to reply to a 3am tweet right away - but there should be a reasonable time frame within which all interactions are replied to. For instance, during the workday replies are made within two hours, outside of workday hours they are made within 12 hours. This would cover nighttime activity being responded to the next morning and would require checking weekend activity at least four times. For someone to be committed to this kind of schedule, they need #6.
The best salespeople are those who love to sell. The best HR people love to handle people issues. The best managers constantly look to get the best out of their people. The ideal social media manager will have a passion for several important things: online technology, customer relations and service, sales, and increasing the customer base. Sounds like a tall order, right? This is exactly why they need to be a key player in your organization. They will need to interact regularly with those who are the experts in these areas: HR, the sales team, management, etc. In a way, they will be a complete mirror of your entire business online. Depending on the size of your organization, you may need to consider a team.
Looking to employ a social media manager?
Our handy PDF with 25 interview questions will help you make sure that your future social media manager is the star performer your business needs. Including some or all of these questions to separate the experts from the poseurs early.
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